Legal Business Blogs

New year brings major New Law consolidation as Elevate acquires Halebury

US-based New Law darling Elevate has continued its acquisitive form with the purchase of UK-based flexible lawyer firm Halebury, creating a combined business of over 1,000 members of staff and $70m in annual revenue.

The acquisition will see Halebury become part of Elevate, although as an ABS the firm will still operate under its own name in the UK. However, profit pools will be integrated as Halebury is fully acquired by Elevate, while John Croft, president of Elevate, and founder and executive chairman Liam Brown will both sit upon Halebury’s board. Denise Nurse and Janvi Patel, co-founders of Halebury, will take up roles on Elevate’s managing committee.

Croft told Legal Business:  ‘Being a law company, we see more and more customers want a one-stop shop for legal services. The Halebury addition helps us achieve this and it has been an admired competitor for a long time.’

Founded in 2011, Elevate provides legal technology, consulting and flexible lawyering to in-house legal departments and law firms. In February last year, Elevate announced a tie-up Hogan Lovells, providing the firm’s UK arm with a group of pre-vetted lawyers to support on specific projects. It has also collaborated with regional law firm asb law and the in-house teams at BT and HSBC.

Halebury, which also offers legal consulting and senior in-house legal resourcing, first came onto the scene in 2007, pre-dating many of its New Law competitors. Like Elevate, Halebury counts BT as one of its key clients, and Patel says the acquisition will bolster rather than diminish its team.

‘We are now recruiting – we’re going to need more resource going forward. The market is increasingly looking at consolidation, but Elevate is one of barely a handful of law companies with a complete 360-degree offering.’

For Elevate, the acquisition builds on separate buyouts of legal AI creator LexPredict and contract lifecycle management provider Sumati Group towards the end of last year.  A major source of funding for this expansion was in April last year securing financing from a credit fund managed by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, the growth-focused private investment platform within Morgan Stanley Investment Management.  Elevate said at the time that it would use the proceeds for strategic acquisitions and investments in its Cael enterprise legal management software. Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital’s had a pre-existing relationship with Elevate through the firm’s legal department, which had been a buyer of legal services from Elevate for several years.

Croft suggested the acquisitions form part of a strategy that could see the company pursue an IPO in the future:  ‘The acquisition of Halebury is an important step in our strategy. Internally there has been talk of a potential IPO in the future, but even that would just be another step in the strategy.’