Making the Circle Complete … DiscoverReady and ACT Come TogetherJuly 25th, 2011
On paper, this deal is a clear strategic fit. DiscoverReady, an organization founded by attorneys, made its name by creating the market for outsourced fixed-fee document review. ACT was founded by engineers, was one of the early leaders in automated litigation, and today is one of the giants in high-volume data processing and hosting. Bringing together the best of the best in review and data management? Seems like a no brainer. But that’s not what makes the deal special.
A Little Background
In 2000, I left the practice of law and joined one of my clients as COO for a rapidly growing litigation support provider. During that time I was learning a lot about providing services to legal professionals, and my former organization was learning a lot about the transformation of the discovery process from a paper business to a digital business.
One of the most valuable relationships that I developed during this time was with the principals at ACT, Steve Marks, Hank Schorz, and Tom Stevens. At a time when my former organization was just getting started in the world of automation, Steve, Hank, Tom and their team had already lived and breathed the business for over a decade. From them I took away some very basic, but critical, points that carried over and played a huge role when I joined together with Steve Harber to found DiscoverReady. A few examples:
- ACT built its business providing solutions to a smaller but dedicated group of customers for whom they perform services on a repeat basis
- ACT wins a huge percentage of its business based upon referrals from existing clients
- ACT is an organization that leverages technology, but first and foremost sells and delivers quality processes
- ACT has invested tremendously in hiring the best possible people in the industry
- ACT brings together and empowers interdisciplinary client service teams to collaborate and deliver the best possible solutions
- ACT has a unique culture in which innovation, client service, quality and employee development are all of tremendous importance
In terms of common approach, you could take each of the bullet points above and swap out the word “DiscoverReady” for “ACT.”
Joining the Circles
Beyond all of these attributes, one of the principles that we have held most dear since the inception of DiscoverReady is the value of having the brightest people in a room to share their ideas. From our first organizational meeting, through the energetic, entertaining, and, yes, at times, animated, discussions that we’ve had as we have strategized around the growth of our company, the DiscoverReady environment has been one of open and active discourse. Our initial core team—David Shub, Caragh Landry, Rachi Messing, Quentin Leckelt and Ashley Norton—made sure of that! And since that nascent period, so many new members have now joined the team and kept up this great tradition.
Now, as we expand our team and join forces with our old friends at ACT, we come fact-to-face with another great tradition—the ACT “Circle.” The Circle is ACT’s formal interdisciplinary team engaged on every client project. But beyond acting as client service team, the Circle is a critical aspect of the overall ACT culture. The Circle is both a metaphor and a mechanism to ensure that colleagues are working together, sharing ideas, involving appropriate resources … and doing much more than can be adequately described in such a brief post. It’s a terrific approach to building effective teams, to solving problems, and to running a business. It’s both strategic and common sense. And even better, given that we are bringing these teams together, it’s an approach that mirrors and reinforces the one taken since the inception at DiscoverReady.
The ACT Circle is one that we are only too happy to join.