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Epiq Launches Legal Staffing Business Led by Ex-Axiom Brass

Dec. 29, 2020, 12:00 PM

Epiq, an e-discovery and bankruptcy services provider, has hired its second former top executive from Axiom Global Inc. this year to launch a legal staffing business, entering a crowded field of competitors that provide non-law firm legal services for legal departments and firms alike.

Epiq has hired Tom Finke, who launched Axiom’s Chicago office in 2008 and served as a senior vice president at the company until in 2018. Epiq also hired Rebekah Stafford, who spent more than five years at Axiom.

Finke will be charged with growing Epiq Counsel, a division of contract lawyers with experience in Big Law firms and major corporate legal departments.

“I’m sure this business will grow very quickly at Epiq,” Finke said in an interview. “Right out of the gate we are in a very strong position to explain the value proposition to our very significant client base.”

Epiq went private in 2016 in a deal that valued the company at $1 billion and combined it with a legal process outsourcing company, DTI Global. Today, Epiq says it has 5,500 employees and $1 billion in revenue, working with 47 of the Fortune 100 and nine of the 10 largest banks in the U.S.

The market for lawyer staffing services in 2018 was estimated to be $1.1 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters report. That is part of an estimated $10.7 billion market for alternative legal services, including work handled by Big Four accounting agencies, legal process outsourcing companies, and managed services providers including Elevate and UnitedLex.

The new contract lawyer offering is part of a broader strategy at Epiq to build a one-stop shop for “legal transformation services” aimed at both corporate legal departments and law firms. In April, the company hired Ziad Mantoura to lead that effort. He had previously been at Axiom for nearly a decade, departing this year as a senior vice president.

The “transformation” strategy targets four main areas: spend analysis, contract review, legal business consulting, and staffing. Epiq in November acquired legal business consulting firm Hyperion Global Partners.

Epiq scored a major win earlier this year inking a deal with Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati to handle the firm’s back office functions and help accelerate its transition to a work-from-home environment.

Packaging a variety of non-law firm legal services is a strategy also being pursued by companies such as Elevate Services and UnitedLex, which offer a mix of consulting, e-discovery, contract management, or attorney staffing for projects.

Axiom had pursued a multi-product strategy before splitting up into separate businesses starting in 2019. Axiom provides legal talent while its businesses for managed services and contract analysis are branded Factor and Knowable, respectively.

“Things are quite nascent in this area and I think they will continue to evolve significantly,” Mantoura said in an interview. “I’m not sure anybody has cracked the nut in terms of the holistic services we’re offering today. And so I think it’s coming.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Roy Strom in Chicago at rstrom@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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