Rapidly growing legal tech platform, Litera, has acquired contract drafting system, Bestpractix, as the Hg Capital-owned business continues its platformisation strategy of adding complementary companies to its offering.
The move follows acquisitions of deal automation system, Doxly, and also Workshare, last year, as well as the buy-out in March this year of Levit & James, a niche doc drafting tool. The M&A surge has followed Hg Capital’s own purchase of Litera earlier in 2019.
Tel Aviv-based Bestpractix, which started in 2017, has developed a range of connected capabilities around doc creation, but its core application is for contract drafting and negotiation, where it uses NLP-driven KM search to help lawyers find appropriate clauses for contracts as they move through the negotiation process.
These ‘precedent’, or one might say ‘market’, clauses may for example already be in documents that are part of a company’s or Legal Services Business’s (LSB’s) DMS and are served up to the lawyer as they go through the pre-signature drafting process.
Omer Hayun, co-founder and CEO, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We were looking for partners that we don’t compete with who had access to law firms.’ And Litera has a great client list among LSBs.
Hayun noted their system would complement what Litera already had in place and integrate with some other Litera products, such as Clause Companion.
In terms of how this all happened, he explained that last year when he was in the US, he had got to know Haley Altman, founder of Doxly, and now Global Director of Business Development and Strategy at Litera, and also Tunji Williams, who joined from DealWIP and is now a Director of Strategy at the company.
They met during one of Ari Kaplan’s meet-ups for legal tech enthusiasts in New York and later Hayun was introduced to Litera’s CEO, Avaneesh Marwaha. And the rest….is history.
Hayun noted that they are also bringing their NLP capability into the Litera mix and that ‘we will help to develop more new products’ following the deal.
Overall then this is Hg and Litera executing their strategy of building a platform that can compete with some of the other large-scale, multi-functional conglomerates on the market that support a number of key steps in legal workflows.
Given that Hg is an investment fund and such groups tend not to hold onto their portfolio companies for the long term, the interesting question is what does the ‘finished product’ look like for Litera? I.e. when will it have become the kind of platform that they will then feel ready to sell?
Of course, Hg bought Litera only last year, so these are early days. That also suggests however, given that they have made four purchases since then, that there is much more to come in terms of legal tech M&A.
Marwaha, CEO of Litera, concluded: ‘The acquisition of Bestpractix accelerates our plans for delivering a smarter drafting workflow, where technology is complementing the way lawyers work.
‘We’re very excited about the ways in which we see the Bestpractix technology working with existing and future products.’
Which leaves AL with one question: who will be the next company to join Litera….?