Litera Buys Talent Management Biz in Latest Deal + AL Talks to Haley Altman

Litera (AKA the Legal Tech Pac-Man) has acquired Micron Systems, a talent management software provider for the legal and accounting worlds. The move comes as attrition rates continue to play on the minds of law firm managers.

The deal also follows the announcement of the purchase of BigSquare last week, proving that the Pac-Man is truly back on form after six months off to digest its many previous acquisitions.

Micron is based in New Jersey and has around 70 staff. It started back in 1992 and is ‘trusted by hundreds of law firms from the NLJ 500’, the talent management software company stated.

So, all well and good, but why this company, and how does it fit into the wider Litera strategy, and for that matter how is the integration of so many companies going? Artificial Lawyer asked Haley Altman, Global Head of Corporate Development at Litera, for her views on the bigger picture.

Why Micron, there are several talent / HR related companies in the market, why this one?

‘Micron has a full suite offering that touches the entire talent lifecycle. We thought it was important to approach talent retention from a holistic perspective. We understand the skills people have based on their work product through Clocktimizer, we can understand their strategic goals with Objective Manager and now a sense of client matter work, hours and billing information with Big Square, we wanted to bring that data together in more comprehensive solution.

Customers particularly love the Micron learning and CLE compliance module viewing it as a mission critical system that is accurate with key integrations with content providers. With career progression and lack of quality work rising to the top as reasons for attorney attrition, a focused approach to learning and skill building is important. Micron is a product-focused company that spends a lot of time focusing on customer needs and innovating their products to better serve the customers. They’ve made meaningful advancements across their product set that have made customers happy.’

How will Micron fit together with the other parts of the Litera business?

‘The Micron team continues to focus on the talent management space as we assess our overall integration strategy. As mentioned above, there are a number of key data sources in our other products that add value to talent management and retention and we look forward to determining how to bring them together while continuing on the product journey the Micron team is moving forward.’

In terms of the other companies Litera has bought, how is the overall integration going? For example, how is the management structure for all the products shaping up, and who is in charge of what?

‘We have a new Chief Product Officer, Meredith Johnson, who is carefully reviewing the portfolio and assessing all products. As she joined Litera only few months ago, that review—while underway—is not yet complete. To give you a sense how we are assessing products, here are the guiding principles: what value and impact the product delivers to customers, customer usage and sentiment, technical health, and existing and/or future interoperability with other solutions. The Micron team continues with their existing product responsibilities as we complete our evaluation.’

….and also, in terms of software integration between the many products, how does that work?

‘We focus on assessing integration options with customers to understand which data integrations will add the most value and then we prioritise them with our product team.’

Meanwhile, Sheryl Hoskins, Litera’s new CEO, added in a statement: ‘Bringing Micron Systems into the Litera portfolio is an important step in furthering our ability to address our clients’ most pressing needs. The battle to attract and retain top talent is one of the biggest challenges firms face today, and Micron Systems simplifies the spectrum of talent management tasks.’

The ever-growing company also noted that: ‘According to a recent National Association for Law Placement (NALP) Foundation Report, attrition rates rose from 16% in 2020 to 26% in 2021, with the number of associates leaving firms after one year rising from 6% to 10% during the same timeframe. The NALP Foundation estimates the average cost of losing an associate is between $200,000 to $500,000.’

All in all, it’s another move by Litera that makes a lot of sense. Although, there is one other aspect to this – at least in the short-term – and that is if we do head into a US recession and demand for associates dips then this does change the equation somewhat.

That said, law firms still want to hold onto their best talent whatever the market conditions, and over the longer term we will be back to a more buoyant market – in which case tools like Micron will be clearly very useful, especially when integrated with the rest of Litera’s ‘Operational Knowledge Management’ offering.