09 November 2020

Legaltech firm BigHand acquires Mason & Cook in resource management push

Portrait of Sam Toulson, BigHand

Sam Toulson

M&A deal is BigHand's first since company was bought by LLCP in the summer

Legaltech developer BigHand has acquired UK-based resource management company Mason & Cook, the first M&A deal for BigHand since it was bought by private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) back in August.

Launched in 2013 and with a team of 10, London-based Mason & Cook provides strategic consulting to law firms, including Mills & Reeve, Ashurst and Hogan Lovells, on how to allocate work more efficiently and better manage their resources through its resource planning software. 

James Kippenberger, chief product officer at BigHand, said: “For customers building a budget in a pricing tool and adding fee earners to that budget, resource managers currently have to do it ‘blind’; they don’t know who is free, they don’t know who is the most suitable resource, nor do they know who has the optimum skills or experience. Having access to that information will significantly improve the robustness of any resulting budget.”

BigHand will continue to offer Mason & Cook’s tech as a standalone product while also integrating it with BigHand’s legal matter pricing and legal task delegation workflow system. 

Dave Cook, Mason & Cook’s founder and CEO, said: “Resource management has become increasingly fundamental to how law firms operate in recent years. As a result of the shift to remote working, and a critical need to understand capability and capacity on a constant basis, there has been a surge in demand for our services, technology and expertise.”

Cook said the firm needed a partner to help it scale and create the infrastructure required globally to meet that increased demand, leading to the deal with BigHand. Cook and his team will become BigHand employees, where they will further develop the product while continuing to provide resource management consulting to law firms.

Sam Toulson, BigHand’s CEO, said: “We’ve been aware of the great work Dave and his team have been doing for some time and have been impressed with how they’ve developed their market leading position in such a short number of years. As we looked at our own product roadmap and ways to support our clients further, a combination with Mason & Cook had compelling strategic logic… Mason & Cook bring incredible legal expertise to our business as well as the market leading product in the space.”

Founded in 1995, London-based BigHand employs 200 staff and also has offices in Seattle, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Eindhoven. Best known historically for its digital dictation software, it positions itself as a provider of workflow software and tools with 3,100 clients.

Its acquisition by California-based LLCP from Bridgepoint Development Capital and minority co-investor LDC for an undisclosed sum saw the management team retain 'a meaningful ownership stake' in the company. 

At the time of the deal, LLCP European investments head John O'Neill pledged to help grow the business "organically and through acquisitions to enhance its product portfolio within the increasingly complex legal environment".

In June, UK magic circle firm Linklaters teamed up with JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Barclays to invest a total of $27m in London-based capital markets document management platform H4.

In February, US flexible legal resourcing pioneer Axiom acquired US rival Bliss Lawyers.

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