Legal publishers Casemaker and Fastcase are announcing a merger of their two companies. According to the press release ” The two companies will combine their teams and technologies to innovate research, analytics, and workflow offerings that empower lawyers with powerful digital solutions for their clients.”
I spoke with Ed Walters CEO of Fastcase yesterday. He stated that the merged Fastcase and Casemaker have the largest lawyer subscriber base of any legal research system. Since Fastcase and Casemaker together are available to every bar association in the United States – that means that virtually every lawyer in the US has access to Fastcase/Casemaker. So David suddenly has a larger lawyer user footprint than the Goliaths (Westlaw and LexisNexis).
In a refreshing departure from the usual post merger purges, Walters indicated that all of there will be no lay-offs since all personnel will be valuable assets in implementing the merger. I was also heartened by a quote from Casemaker’s owner, Satish Sheth. “The first thing we’re going to do, is what we always do, we’re going to put our customers first.” Sheth will become a member of Fastcase’s Board of Directors.
Oddly enough, the merger is the biproduct of the contentious litigation between Fastcase and Casemaker. During the course of the litigation both parties realized how much they had in common. Walters explains how both parties began to wonder “why are we fighting?”
Both companies were born of a desire to democratize the law. Founder of both companies “have taken a similar trajectory in creating an affordable and widely accessible alternative to the global publishers that dominate American law by partnering with bar associations, who subscribe on behalf of their members. Each company has distinct strengths. Fastcase has acquired analytics (Docket Alarm), legal news (Law Street Media) and Brief analysis and AI (Judicata). Casemaker has a strong editorial team many former Michie editors working on fast and accurate analytics of state statutes and regulations across the United States. Casemaker also has an excellent citator.
The press release quotes Fastcase President and co-Founder, Phil Rosenthal: “It is clear how much more we can do together for our bar partners and firms,” said Fastcase President and co-founder Phil Rosenthal. “We have great appreciation for Casemaker’s editorial and production excellence and their deep understanding of the bar market. This merger is the culmination of more than two decades of effort to democratize the law and ensure that every lawyer in America can afford high quality legal research. Combined we can do so much more to address the access to justice crisis.”
A recap of recent Fasecase strategic roadmap includes the development “its Full Court Press publishing arm as well as the strategic acquisition of complementary products such as Docket Alarm in 2018, NextChapter and Law Street Media in 2019, and the technology and team of Judicata in 2020 – products and technology that can now benefit Casemaker subscribers.
“We’ve been selective in scaling and we’re so proud to see the Docket Alarm, NextChapter, and now the Judicata team rise as leaders in our organization,” said Ed Walters, Fastcase CEO and co-founder. “These leaders drive our emergence in a market needing more alternatives. With the hard-won editorial and production expertise of Casemaker, we’re now ready to accelerate our climb, rewarding all our bar partners who believed in our companies as strong alternatives.” More than 1 million lawyers subscribe to Fastcase and Casemaker, and the combined company will continue to support their subscribers and their subscriptions uninterrupted. “The combination of our two programs is long overdue, and now the fun really begins.
KaChing -The $$ Case for Replacing Westlaw or Lexis with Fastcase The combined company once integrated will be well positioned to erode Lexis and Westlaw market share – by offering a comprehensive suite of services at a substantially lower cost. The uncertainties of the post-pandemic economy may be the perfect trigger for a radical reassessment of multi-million dollar research platforms. Ka-ching – I think we will hear the sound of at least one ALM 100 law firm dropping Lexis or Westlaw in favor of Fastcase/Casemaker over the coming year.
Here is link to the full press release.