What’s the future of the legal industry look like? Every iteration includes some combination of a legal staffing and eDiscovery solution. More and more, organizations are finding that an end-to-end solution is critical for filling gaps in their business.
So, when Special Counsel acquired D4 at the end of 2016, the goal was to meet a specific need for clients, one that’s only anticipated to increase over time. We wanted to get to the heart of how this partnership came to be and better understand the vision of our company leaders, Laurie Chamberlin, President of Special Counsel, and John Holland, CEO of D4. Below, a Q&A that brings their insights to bear, and a glimpse into the future of the legal staffing and eDiscovery industries:
John, how did you know Special Counsel was the right fit? What made this scenario more enticing than a larger competitor acquiring D4?
D4 had worked closely with Special Counsel in the past and we had a great relationship with Chris Gallagher, Senior VP. Chris actually introduced us to the rest of the Special Counsel Leadership team, including Laurie Chamberlin and Tyra Tutor, and that’s when I realized it was the right fit.
Over the years, D4 had been approached numerous times based on our success and unique positioning in the market. A consolidation acquisition or merger didn’t really offer much excitement or future value of the organization that we had built as a team. It typically ends in a situation where it is about cost cutting and employee reduction, all toward increasing the bottom line in the new organization; the brand and identity typically go by the wayside. With Special Counsel, D4 can be D4 and become part of something really big and exciting worldwide – and that was a very attractive part of this deal.
Special Counsel had something that no other scenario offered.
At first, we actually didn’t know Special Counsel much more than any other typical partner. It was through the initial phases of discussions that we started to become really excited about the opportunity. We better understood their culture, their work ethic, and the people that make up their organization – it was very similar to us in many ways. Special Counsel had something that no other scenario offered. We would be able to leverage their staffing expertise in the legal space, build on growing the services and solutions side of the business, and offer so much more to their already very extensive client base.
Laurie, what were some of the characteristics you were searching for in an eDiscovery company? What was it that made you consider D4?
We wanted the best of the best; the best technology, the best culture, the best people. The company we were searching for had to be a natural match with the team of spirited, inspiring experts that make up Special Counsel. D4 was a pioneer of eDiscovery solutions when it was founded nearly two decades ago. John and his team saw a need for more intelligent technology in the legal space, and not only addressed that need then, but continued to advance ahead of market demands, securing a largely unparalleled position as a top eDiscovery provider. That said, D4 was a team that clearly cherished and nurtured their talent and technology. It was an easy decision to welcome them into the Special Counsel family.
How are your customers affected by the acquisition? How has the value of their relationship with D4/Special Counsel changed as a result?
JOHN: Our clients were very excited initially and I believe even more today. They realize the true strength that both organizations bring to the table and better understand now the “together is more” approach – they’re excited to explore bigger and more complex opportunities with us.
Having always stayed true to the mantra that we wanted to focus on our core strengths, we never offered document review or managed review as part of D4’s core offering. We needed to be the best at what we did and didn’t want to dilute that strength. Now, with the full solution of services, both our law firm and corporate clients see the new integrated value.
LAURIE: Through the course of this acquisition, our customers continued to see the great service they have always received from Special Counsel, but now we can be an even more comprehensive partner. With D4, we are fully equipped to fill nearly any workforce gap as it arises, be it new talent or leading technology.
How does this relationship help customers improve their eDiscovery and data management methods?
JOHN: We are quickly becoming the unique provider in our space that has the knowledge and expertise from very early on in a case, or prior to a case even being filed, to the completion and management of document review. Our customers now have access to end-to-end solutions under one roof and can benefit from improved efficiencies and cost reduction. We don’t just say we can do something, we have lived it collectively for a combined 50 years and now we bring this together for our current and future customers.
LAURIE: We can be the go-to resource for the times when our customers are strategizing and planning ahead, and also when they are surprised by bumps in the road and need a fast, reliable solution. Simply put, aligning Special Counsel with D4 is meant to make our clients lives easier.
What are the industry trends you’re seeing and how do you see this playing out 5-10 years down the road?
JOHN: The data revolution is happening and not slowing down. It is doubling in size every two years, and by 2020 the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. That is a game changer for so many reasons for us and our clients. It will mandate and dictate changes that are occurring in our space and accelerate many areas but most important the use of technology in many areas including review. Our clients rely on us to drive the vision for the future and bring the most current and cost effective workflows and solutions to the market.
LAURIE: We’re in the midst of a digital revolution. Technological advancement is not slowing down, and we’re going to see it continue to impact each and every industry in unique ways. Now more than ever, the legal industry needs to be focused on building a dynamic workforce and finding quick solutions to eDiscovery needs. Special Counsel and D4 are best positioned to do the heavy-lifting for legal organizations now and in the future.
Technology and the workforce continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and there are no signs of slowing down. Stay tuned for more insights on the future of the legal industry from Laurie and John.