Legal AI pioneer Luminance has now reached 168 clients following a tornado of activity around the planet, it’s also hired a new boss to boost its American expansion drive, and just bagged a local law firm member of KPMG as a client in Europe.
Luminance has also built out four main analysis products under a single umbrella: Diligence, Compliance, Discovery, and Property. They are also targeting both law firms and inhouse. Back in September 2016 they had started with just law firms and only a focus on due diligence.
This is not bad progression for an AI company that just three years ago few had heard of.
However, the company remains tight-lipped about actual use levels of its technology among its ever-expanding client base. So, it remains hard to know how far those client wins translate into actual revenue and real life engagement with the technology across each law firm and corporate that has a licence.
To be fair, 168 clients for a legal AI doc analysis company – even with vague use levels – still puts it into fairly special territory. Bagging clients in this particular market segment is not easy for several reasons. Two of those reasons are: many firms and legal functions still don’t appreciate the financial benefits to them in automating part of their doc analysis; and to make such tech truly worthwhile you need a steady volume of matters of a significant size.
Artificial Lawyer (AL) spoke to the company’s dynamic CEO, Emily Foges, and also Jason Brennan, the company’s new President, Americas, about the company’s trajectory.
‘Clients are coming on board all the time,’ Foges told AL, and then as if to prove it, just a few days after the interview, Luminance announced it had signed up Hungarian-based law firm KPMG Legal Tóásó.
Europe seems to have a special place in the company’s heart.
‘I think from the very beginning of Luminance’s journey we’ve had a very strong customer base particularly in mainland Europe,’ said Foges.
‘The last time I looked something like 60% of our customers were from mainland Europe, reflecting a very competitive market and a very forward thinking market from a technology point of view.’
The other 40%, the company says is split equally between APAC and the Americas, with the Middle East and Africa presumably, plus the UK, as the remainder. Which if AL’s calculator is correct means around 30 clients at most are across the Americas (at a generous guess), and that is including the world’s most important legal market – the US. But, Luminance is again strenuously vague on numbers, so it could be far less.
And, if you can’t crack the US, then your company can never really be a global legal tech superpower, given that this single nation, albeit of 50 states, represents approximately half of the world’s legal spend.
If you look at Luminance’s website, the US law firms that have allowed their logos to be used on it for marketing purposes are not huge in number. AL noted Holland & Knight, McDermott Will & Emery, Pepper Hamilton and Ice Miller, among the selected group.
And this leads us directly to the new Americas boss, Jason Brennan.
A Slice Of The American (Market) Pie
AL spoke to Brennan – who has taken over from George Tziahanas – and found him to be in a rather bullish mood about his new job.
‘I am absolutely thrilled,’ he said, ‘from a geographic scope, I will be looking at everything in the Americas, so everything from Canada to the tip of South America. We’ve got a growing client base there and I’m going to be tasked with making sure we continue to keep growing that.’
Brennan, a former lawyer, has over 20 years’ experience in the legal industry across various law firms, in-house and consulting roles, and his most recent role was International President of Epiq, the ediscovery platform.
That latter aspect is interesting, given that Luminance has now moved into the litigation arena through its ‘Discovery’ add-on – and the US is also the home of ediscovery.
Asked if Luminance has found it hard so far to make headway in the US, Brennan replied: ‘I don’t see that at all. I have no concerns. I have certainly looked at the market, looked at the players in the space. I am very excited about this position.’
‘We’ve obviously been investing quite heavily in our team in the US … [Jason] will be going and hiring a lot more people into that region because we need them. We’ve got a really nice customer base now in the US, so we need to have more people there to meet that demand,’ Foges added.
Meanwhile, according to Brennan, one of his key goals is to get customers to use Luminance products more.
‘As we see more and more clients there [in the Americas], we also want them to use the products more, and across more use cases.
‘I’ll be there across all functions, across that geography, making sure we keep growing [our] client base, but also that we are there on the ground close to our clients in a local manner so that we can help them continue to get the most out of Luminance,’ he said.
AL asked if the company would be willing to finally open up about usage levels?
Foges told this site: ‘[It] depends on the client and it depends on the [Luminance] product. It varies massively. It varies from client to client, month to month, day to day, hour to hour, [it depends] how long we have been working with them. It’s quite a complex picture.’
In short, don’t expect an answer anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Luminance and its growing team have the world to conquer in terms of signing up more clients, with growth in the key US market as a clear strategic priority. And it makes one wonder, if Luminance can get to this point in just three years, where will it be in another three?
Emily Foges, CEO, Luminance, will be speaking at the Legal Innovators conference in London, 11th October. If you’d like to hear her and many other great speakers then check out the link below.