By contributing author Brad Blickstein, Blickstein Group, on legal service providers:
Electronic billing provider DataCert just announced its acquisition of matter management company Corprasoft. This deal should at least raise the eyebrows of many who follow law department technology—both companies are among the leaders and have been around for quite awhile.
What does it mean? Well, it furthers the consolidation of matter management and electronic billing. Lawtrac, TrialNet and CT Tymetrix have had integrated solutions for quite some time. Bridgeway and Mitratech have launched e-billing components within the past year or so.
For DataCert and Corprasoft customers, it’ll be interesting to see how well these companies integrate, as neither has ever been through a major acquisition (although DataCert did buy DigiContract in 2001) and the extent to which they feel pressure to change their upgrade path if they don’t currently use both these products.
For everyone else, it will be worth keeping an eye on the relationships between the electronic billing/matter management companies and each other, which may suffer now that they are also selling competing products. For example, how much trouble will it be in the future to integrate Bridgeway’s eCounsel matter management system with DataCert’s AIMS, as both sides would really prefer they got both ends of the deal? Same questions apply for any vendor with both products.
In general, however, this all makes sense. Electronic billing systems have provided law departments with outstanding ROI by automating processes and validating invoices, but have largely fallen down on providing the information they promise. It makes a lot of sense for electronic billing to function more as a component of matter management.