Monday, June 12, 2017

Breaking News Exclusive: Fastcase Hires Seasoned Legal Publishing Exec -- Launching New Strategy-- Ready to Take on the Titans: Lexis, Westlaw and BloombergBNA


Fastcase is announcing today that a former LexisNexis executive Steve Errick will join the company’s executive team as Chief Operating Officer.  According to the press release, Errick will be “responsible for executing the company’s strategic vision, developing new editorial products, and developing the company’s organizational structure as the company expands.”

Errick’s non-compete agreement with LexisNexis expires on June 30th and Errick will join Fastcase on July 1st. Errick most recently served as Vice President and Managing Director for Research Information for LexisNexis.  In that role, Errick oversaw the Legal Research Information Product Division, with a $1 billion P&L portfolio.  He led LexisNexis’s development of workflow tools such as Lexis for Microsoft Office, E-book Digital Lending, Total Patent, and Litigation Suite which included MedMal Navigator. Errick also shepherded LexisNexis’s acquisition of Law360, Securities Mosaic, and Sheshunoff/AS Pratt Financial Services.



Errick has an impressive resume with executive positions inside other legal publishing giants. He previously served as Vice President and General Manager of Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Publishing division, as well as the Publisher of Thomson Reuters’s Foundation Press division and Director of Acquisitions of Thomson’s Clark Boardman Callaghan division.


The press release quotes Fastcase CEO Ed Walters: “We couldn’t be more excited to have Steve join the team. Fastcase is an increasingly complex company, with sophisticated legal data updating operations, multiple product lines, and more than 100 employees in three offices – and we’re growing all the time. Steve’s deep relationships in the industry and his experience in managing legal publishing companies at scale will be important as we are growing into one of America’s largest legal tech companies.”

An Expanded Legal Publishing Strategy

Fastcase also announced that it would begin editorial publishing starting in 2018 to expand its offerings beyond primary law (case law, statutes, regulations, etc.). The company will launch its own imprint of treatises, secondary sources and journals. It will also partner with bar associating in developing new state workflow products. This is a smart move given relentless demand by clients for efficiency. Will they attempt to erode the market share of high ticket workflow tools offered by Thomson Reuters (Practice Point), LexisNexis (Lexis Practice Advisor)  and BloombergBNA by offering a lower cost alternative? 


 Errick has worked in all facets of legal publishing so he is well positioned of navigate this expanded landscape. “Early in my career at West, my challenge was finding the best authors,” Errick is quoted in the press release. “Most recently at LexisNexis it was acquiring the best companies and building a product team to drive those businesses. And now, I get this wonderful opportunity to use these diverse experiences to help accelerate the pace of the most innovative company in legal tech.”


Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal elaborated on Errick’s portfolio at Fastcase which he describes as “developing the professional and management skills of the Fastcase team as it grows. Steve is a dynamic, hands-on leader who will help us build a world-class team and accelerate our growth. Everyone who has worked with Steve knows that he is very loyal to his teammates and helps them to be their best.  Great teams win, and Steve is going to help us make a great Fastcase team even better.” 


Jumping the Chasm From Start Up to Scale Up

This Fastcase announcement comes just days after LexisNexis announced the acquisition of one of their key competitors Ravel Law. In a phone conversation Walters described how he and Rosenthal were determined to be one of the few legal tech startups to “jump the chasm” .i.e. becoming a global enterprise player rather than an acquisition target. Fastcase hopes to follow the lead of companies like Google and Salesforce whose founders maintained independence long enough to become industry leaders.

While it may seem unlikely to some that Fastcase could ever displace the larger  legal research systems, there are some factors which play in their favor. Unlike Lexis and Westlaw which are  subsidiaries of huge global public companies, Fastcase  is a private company which can call its own shots and perhaps move more quickly to adopt transformative emerging technologies. BloomergBNA which is also a private company has faced low enterprise adoption rates  due to its high price point in a legal market seeking to reduce the overhead costs of online research. Until now Fastcase has positioned itself as a low cost commodity research product focused on primary law. In the past year they acquired one of their competitors, Loislaw from Wolters Kluwer and last week competitor Ravel Law was acquired by LexisNexis enabling Fastcase to solidify its dominance of the low cost market.  This strengthened market position combined with Errick's deep market expertise and a new strategy  including an expanded product line  including secondary sources and workflow tools should, at the very least, enable Fastcase to move "up market" while eroding  some marketshare of the premium priced legal research platforms.

Here is the full press release:

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


June 12, 2017



Media Contacts:
Jennifer Brand Ransom, Fastcase Media Relations
202.731.2114
Fastcase Appoints Steve Errick as Chief Operating Officer
Seasoned Legal Industry Veteran to Prepare Fastcase for Growth at Scale
Errick most recently served as Vice President and Managing Director for Research Information for LexisNexis.  In that role, Errick oversaw the Legal Research Information Product Division, with a $1 billion P&L portfolio.  He led LexisNexis’s development of workflow tools such as Lexis for Microsoft Office, E-book Digital Lending, Total Patent, Litigation Suite which included MedMal Navigator. Errick also shepherded LexisNexis’s acquisition of Law360, Securities Mosaic, and Sheshunoff/AS Pratt Financial Services.
Errick is a veteran of the legal publishing industry, having previously served as Vice President and General Manager of Wolters Kluwer’s CCH Publishing division, as well as the Publisher of Thomson Reuters’s Foundation Press division and Director of Acquisitions of Thomson’s Clark Boardman Callaghan division.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have Steve join the team,” said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. “Fastcase is an increasingly complex company, with sophisticated legal data updating operations, multiple product lines, and more than 100 employees in three offices – and we’re growing all the time. Steve’s deep relationships in the industry and his experience in managing legal publishing companies at scale will be important as we are growing into one of America’s largest legal tech companies.”
Fastcase also announced that it would begin editorial publishing starting in 2018 to expand the reach of its legal research service, which to date has focused exclusively on primary law such as case law, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions.  The company will launch it’s own imprint of expert treatises, secondary material, and journals, and partner with its bar association partners in developing new state workflow products.
“Early in my career at West, my challenge was finding the best authors,” Errick said. “Most recently at LexisNexis it was acquiring the best companies and building a product team to drive those businesses. And now, I get this wonderful opportunity to use these diverse experiences to help accelerate the pace of the most innovative company in legal tech.”
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Fastcase is one of the nation’s fastest growing legal tech companies. Twenty-nine state bar associations have subscribed to Fastcase, as well as scores of the nation’s largest law firms. More than 800,000 lawyers have a subscription to Fastcase, many through their state bar association. A recent survey of more than 2,100 subscribers to Clio showed that Fastcase is in a “virtual dead heat” for the most-used legal research service (Westlaw 20.58%, Fastcase 20.35%, and LexisNexis 20.21%).
Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal said that he was looking forward to Errick’s role in developing the professional and management skills of the Fastcase team as it grows. “Steve is a dynamic, hands-on leader who will help us build a world-class team and accelerate our growth. Everyone who has worked with Steve knows that he is very loyal to his teammates and helps them to be their best.  Great teams win, and Steve is going to help us make a great Fastcase team even better.”
About Fastcase
Fastcase is a leading legal publisher focused on smarter legal software that democratizes the law. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 800,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase or visit www.fastcase.com.

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