LPO provider Exigent raises stakes in lower cost offering with mLegal acquisition

Legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider Exigent has expanded its traditional business model with the acquisition of Bangalore-based contract lifecycle technology company mLegal.

Exigent claims the deal, which sees it add mLegal’s proprietary contract automation technology to its outsourcing offering, could result in cost savings for corporate legal departments of more than 50 per cent.

Exigent said the acquisition provides it with the capability to deliver “a complete contract lifecycle solution”, including contract building and management.

The technology enables corporates to build contracts more efficiently while being supported by services within the Exigent team.
Exigent’s founder and CEO David Holme said his company saw the deal as an opportunity to offer its clients another key component of delivery capability that was “a leap on” from the current model. 

“This is the next step to aligning the delivery of legal services with how clients need to operate commercially, combining specialist technology, legal services and consulting,” added Holme. “The debate has been rather dominated by the ‘where’ and not the ‘how’ in the past. For me it will be ‘how and how much better’ that will be the next phase in this space”.

Earlier this year The Lawyer revealed Exigent’s plans (25 July 2013) of acquiring a technology company as part of its international strategy.

Holme confirmed yesterday (6 November) that the mLegal deal was the hinted-at acquisition. He said the deal would provide a base from which Exigent could expand into North America and enhance its technology offerings to clients elsewhere.

“mLegal’s operating centre is in Bangalore but its client base is in the US, while Exigent operates out of Cape Town and Western Australia,” said Holme. “This deal adds 125 staff in Bangalore as well as the US market. From a purely commercial point of view it means we have more than 400 staff and a presence in every major market. It makes us one of the biggest players in the market and one of the most diverse in terms of operating centres.”

mLegal turned to Indian firm Kochhar & Co for legal advice on its sale while Holme literally kept the matter in the family, instructing his brother and former Clifford Chance lawyer Christopher Holme on the deal.

In May this year Exigent expanded into Canada with an office launch in Toronto and a strategic partnership with ‘Seven Sisters’ firm McCarthy Tetrault. Under the partnership, Exigent provides project-based services, such as due diligence, contract review and lease review.

Earlier this year Exigent also hired Pinsent Masons’ former dispute resolution and litigation head Nigel Kissack (10 July 2013) as a global strategy consultant based in the company’s London office. Kissack has since taken on a non-executive director role at Exigent.

In 2009 Kissack’s former home Pinsents turned to Exigent to become the first UK firm to outsource legal work to South Africa (22 June 2009).

Exigent’s clients include Anglo American Mining, Schlumberger, Allens Linklaters, Pinsent Masons, Hogan Lovells, McCarthy Tetrault, Seyfarth Shaw, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Ashurst.