eDiscovery Daily Blog

Interview with Pete Feinberg of Consilio Regarding the Huron Legal Acquisition: eDiscovery Trends

Consolidation within the eDiscovery industry continues.  Last week, Consilio announced a “definitive agreement” to acquire the Huron Legal Practice of Huron Consulting Group – their third acquisition in the past four months.  Yesterday, I interviewed Pete Feinberg, Senior Vice President, Products & Marketing at Consilio about the Huron Legal acquisition.

Huron Legal is one of Huron Consulting Group’s four operating segments and offers a variety of services to law firms and corporate law departments including eDiscovery, document review, information governance and compliance, law department management and legal analytics.  Huron Legal has operations primarily in the U.S., including Chicago, Charlotte, Raleigh, Miramar, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Houston, as well as international locations.  Not to mention, a regular contributor to this blog… :o)

I asked Feinberg about the acquisition and why Huron Legal made sense as an acquisition target for the company.

“Huron Legal has really done a great job building a dominant position around document review and eDiscovery services, particularly in the US market, which was very attractive to us”, said Feinberg.  “Consilio has been strong in international eDiscovery and it was important for us to solidify a foothold here in the US.  Frankly, we couldn’t think of a better partner to do so than with Huron Legal, who has been providing great services to their clients for almost ten years now.”

“Beyond that, as we got to know the Huron Legal team better, we saw that there are more than a hundred consultants within the Huron Legal business unit focused in a variety of practice areas, including information governance, compliance, law department management and legal analytics.  Those practice areas are very attractive to Consilio as they are areas in which we have not been as strong historically.  But, we understand where the market is moving and, through engaging with our clients, we understand some of the added value that those consulting services and strategic relationships can afford.  Also, though both Consilio and Huron Legal serve very similar clients in terms of characteristic – large, multinational corporations within particular vertical sectors such as financial services, life sciences, pharma and technology and global presence law firms – fewer than 5% of our clients are shared between our two organizations.  So, it is a highly complementary transaction from that perspective.”

With regard to what the acquisition will mean for current clients of Huron Legal, Feinberg made it clear that there would be “first and foremost, no service interruption.  The Huron Legal management team is coming over almost in totality to Consilio and joining Consilio’s leadership team.  We don’t look at this as an acquisition, we look at this as more of a merger of two complementary businesses.  Each of our companies has certain capabilities that are stronger than the other, so the key for us is to find the strengths within each of the two businesses and leverage those into the combined entity and we expect to work with the Huron Legal management team to help build a larger, more capable entity going forward.  We also don’t want to rush this transition, we want to be very thoughtful and purposeful about it to avoid creating any kind of tension for either legacy client base, or employee base.  That said, we see considerable benefits for the clients over the mid-term and long term horizons, particularly by expanding the services for those clients who have operations around the world, particularly in continental Europe and Asia Pacific.”

Huron Legal is not Consilio’s only recent acquisition, they also acquired predictive coding provider Backstop back in September and, only days ago, acquired Proven Legal Technologies as well.  Feinberg said that a change in private equity owners was a key factor in the recent acquisitions.  “We felt that it was important to have a private equity owner that was aligned in our vision that there is going to be consolidation in the eDiscovery space.  We were very fortunate to find a partner like Shamrock Capital Advisors (who acquired controlling interest in Consilio earlier this year) who had the same strategic vision that we did.  We’ve been able to work with Shamrock to take a look at businesses that fit our business model and client base, such as Backstop, with which we’ve had great experiences.  Like Huron Legal in the US market, Proven Legal Technologies has a great bench of resources and experience in the UK market and experience in Relativity, which we had not hosted previously.  With the Huron Legal acquisition, which was somewhat coincidental in terms of timing, we were able to add a bench of even greater scale and experience with Relativity here in the US.”

Thanks, Pete, for the interview!

So, what do you think? Is consolidation within the eDiscovery industry beginning to happen more quickly? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.