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UnitedLex touts West Coast growth, eyes tech clients with BlackStone Discovery deal

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(Reuters) - UnitedLex has acquired Silicon Valley-based e-discovery company BlackStone Discovery, giving the alternative legal services provider a new hub on the West Coast.

The deal, announced Thursday, allows UnitedLex to better serve technology companies, a sector on which it has not traditionally focused, according to senior vice president Ryan Reeves.

BlackStone, which markets itself as a legal technology and consulting provider, offers services in forensics, e-discovery, trial support, document review and investigations and incident response, according to its website.

Reeves said UnitedLex has not typically grown through mergers or acquisitions with other companies since its founding in 2006. But BlackStone's foothold in Silicon Valley and client roster of technology and "digital-first" companies, as well as law firms, made the company attractive, Reeves said.

UnitedLex offers solutions across a variety of areas, including litigation and investigations, intellectual property, contracts, legal operations and law department consulting, according to its website. The company last month tapped former Deloitte executive chairman Michael Fucci as a strategic advisor. That hire came after it brought on five other executives with Big Four experience in February.

UnitedLex, which serves both corporate legal departments and law firms, has focused on helping law departments rethink how they work to be more digitally focused and efficient, Reeves said. The BlackStone team, having built an e-discovery provider that works with modern technology companies, "brings a different perspective" to reaching that goal, he said.

Derek Duarte, president of BlackStone, said the company "started growing at an incredibly fast pace" during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Suddenly, everyone was having Zoom and Slack challenges," he said.

While BlackStone hadn't really considered merging in the past, the new business made it start to "really need to get serious" about how to continue meeting the needs of clients, Duarte said.

Reeves said UnitedLex is excited about BlackStone's "experience with emerging data sources from a forensics perspective," given the discovery needs of large litigations and investigations.

UnitedLex in its announcement also highlighted BlackStone's forensics capabilities, saying they "inform strategies to protect business value, identify risks, and adapt quickly to navigate a range of evolving circumstances."

Dealmaking in the legal technology and legal services sectors has continued at a fast pace throughout 2021, with companies in different segments of the legal market exploring growth through mergers and acquisitions, new funding from venture capital and private equity firms and several stock market debuts.

This article was originally published on Reuters.

To read the full press release about the acqusition, click here.