The acquisition gives UnitedLex a West Coast hub and access to BlackStone's portfolio of clients, which includes Fortune 500 technology organizations and law firms.
While acquisitions are common in legal tech, especially with e-discovery providers, it's an area that UnitedLex has not traditionally pursued.
Ryan Reeves, chief client officer for UnitedLex, told Law360 Pulse that the company needed to acquire BlackStone in order to complete the release of its new platform that spans e-discovery, review, investigations and data breach incident response.
"The BlackStone team brings experience working with emerging data sources and has a head start in solutioning the new ways of working that focus more on using structured data analytics," Reeves said. "This enables clients to execute fact-based legal strategies much sooner than mainstream workflows focused on large sets of documents and linear processes."
In addition to e-discovery, BlackStone's services also include forensics, trial support and managed review.
When looking at the e-discovery market, Reeves said that UnitedLex sees heavy interest in using artificial intelligence models and data analytics to detect and prevent legal risk.
"We are now seeing large litigious clients taking a hybrid insourced/outsourced model where there is more control, more visibility to the metrics that matter and taking the approach of needing partners, not vendors, to help them optimize their legal functions and accelerate business," Reeves said. "There seems to be a tremendous amount of market interest in newly combined technology platforms such as Reveal, who recently acquired and is combining Brainspace and NexLP with their platform."
While many providers are touting AI and automation solutions, Reeves said there is a notable distinction between approaches.
"Many of the larger providers, without exposure to digital transformation and digital-first companies, are attempting to automate processes and train AI to solve the e-discovery challenges around a 'document' construct that is based on the state of electronic data in the 2000s and 2010s," Reeves said. "A select few are focusing on the post-document future, and building solutions toward where the facts live today."
Reeves added that because of smart devices and the constant generation of data, there is also a clear focus on finding the digital truth in order to solve challenges for clients.
It's been a busy year for UnitedLex, which hired ex-Deloitte executive chairman Michael Fucci as a strategic adviser in August and enlisted five executives from the Big Four accounting firms in February.
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