Pinnacle, Opes and Athenian set to join consulting forces

Three of the leading names in legal software consultancy have announced they are in merger talks. Pinnacle, Opes and Athenian will come together to create POA International Consulting, one of the world’s largest businesses focusing on the implementation and optimisation of enterprise applications within law firms.

With the combined resource pool, POA is set to build on its core partnerships with Elite and Intapp whilst also expanding complementary relationships to move to a fuller service offering.

POA’s Mike Bailey explains the rationale for the merger: “Think of it like a jigsaw. We were three separate pieces, interesting in themselves but we slot together perfectly to make a much bigger, brighter picture. There was just a very simple logic to it: coming together allows us to combine our strengths to the advantage of both our law firm clients and vendor partners. The demand for specialist consulting services from both sides is already considerable and set to accelerate, and now we can meet that demand more readily and scale up more easily.”

The enlarged organisation comprises 30 PMS specialists with an average of 17 years of experience and a track record that encompasses fifty 3E implementations, many of which are migrations from Enterprise. The Intapp practice group has a current strength of 16 and is engaged across the Magic Circle and Top 100 firms, helping to match the Open technology to leading-edge global risk management thinking. POA will also continue its support for iManage DMS integrations, with a five strong technical group from Athenian. The Athenian team will become a dedicated development function working across all of the POA practice areas.

POA director Neil Renfrew comments: “It’s also about what size and substance gives us. Not just this immediate capacity and flexibility but the means to invest, building out services and teams to provide more value to clients; and, critically, to attract more skilled people in the face of unprecedented competition for talent. Across practice management, risk and compliance, time and billing and business intelligence there is this real white heat around project resourcing and we need to be able to respond appropriately.”

Fellow director Kevin Smith says: “Between us we have worked at some point with most of the top tier law firms in the UK, and a good number internationally too, particularly in the US. It’s not just a broader, deeper skillset we’re offering but huge, proven, multi-jurisdictional experience, with most of it at the coal-face, very hands-on, very pragmatic, the doing as well as the advising.

And when we discuss it amongst ourselves, it’s not complicated – our role is first to make things work and work well, and then to continue to tune the systems to the changing business needs and environment.  On its own, software rarely solves a problem, whereas applying leading thinking and exploiting what you already have delivers much more value to the business.  The merger will give us and our clients access to an unrivalled pool of collective talent.

POA is uniquely positioned to help the leaders of progressive firms to deliver solutions that will transform their business.”   

Christopher Young, the POA Director who will lead the Risk Practice, adds: “In the risk and compliance discipline we will continue to deliver effective risk management solutions that help firms manage regulatory and other risks in this complex and ever changing multi-jurisdiction world.  Having worked with over 20 firms of which three are Magic Circle we have developed thinking and deployments which work for the front office as well as the risk leadership and cover everything from the technical design and implementation through to the training and behavioural change.  We are increasingly combining this thinking with the financial analysis from our 3E and BI teams.”




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