In a nod to the growing importance of legal spend management, MitratechannouncedWednesday it has acquired the e-billing company Viewabill on undisclosed terms.
Mitratech did not respond to requests for comment, but said in a press release on its website that it will incorporate Viewabill into its suite of products, which already includes Collaborati , an invoicing and budget collaboration tool, in addition to its matter management, legal hold and other products.
Viewabill software allows corporate law departments visibility into their outside counsel’s time entries and activities on a real-time basis, rather than having to rely on estimates or wait until the end of the billing cycle. The company was the subject of a January 2015 feature story by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Paul Barrett .
Mitratech, on the other hand, is based in Austin, Texas, and is best known as an enterprise legal management company. It claims to have more than 750 global legal departments as its clients, including 40 percent of the Fortune 500.
The acquisition comes at a time when more corporate law departments have hired legal operations managers to manage their outside law firms, and seek greater efficiencies and visibility into costs, said Nick Quil, president of HBR Consulting, who observes the legal market.
“I think Mitratech is seeing the trend from their customer base of wanting more visibility, more quickly,” said Quil.
He said his company’s research shows that 80 percent of the corporate law departments at Fortune 500 companies utilize a matter management or e-billing system. But most of those system do not provide “real-time” visibility into outside counsel’s time keeping entries.
Viewabill allows lawyers to log their time contemporaneously through both the web and mobile app access.
In the press release, Viewabill founder and CEO Robbie Friedman said he hopes the combination will allow the companies to “have a significant impact on the industry.”
Bruce Meckler, a Cozen O’Connor partner who conducts fee audits and has given expert testimony on legal bills, said via e-mail, that the acquisition makes sense: “This technology is allowing GC’s much better diagnostics to track outside counsel activities and is something that will just continue to grow and become more advanced as a primary tool to manage outside counsel,” said Meckler.