Start-up of the week: JHI

28 Nov 2016

JHI founder and CEO Dan Fox. Image: JHI

Our start-up of the week is Johnson Hana International (JHI), a disruptive new legal process outsourcing company that is combining legal services with big data.

“We aim to drive efficiency into legal services to save our clients time, energy and money by outsourcing their legal process work to us,” explained Dan Fox, JHI founder and CEO.

Lawyers operating out of JHI use technological platforms to review and code documentation.

Fresh from major contract wins with the ESB, for example, the company has plans to hire 200 people in the coming years.

“JHI’s mission is to redefine legal services by transforming Dublin, Ireland into Europe’s premier legal data review hub,” Fox said.

‘We are just eight months old and growing extremely quickly. We are already working with some of the world’s biggest corporates and on global projects’

“We seek to provide new solutions to the problems that corporates and firms face in terms of their process driven/routine legal projects/assignments. We aim to provide our partners with a service that allows them to radically scale back on their legal spend, whilst benefiting from quality work output from our specialist teams of lawyers and technology processes.

“We engage legal talent and technology to address the rise in big data, and we do it all from a dedicated document review facility in Dublin.”

The market

As the first Irish company of its kind and the only one operating from Ireland, Fox believes JHI can dramatically improve the way Irish businesses and law firms manage process-driven legal work.

“We also believe that the combination of our skilled workforce of lawyers and our location within Europe provides an attractive ‘offshore’ and ‘nearshore’ hub for international businesses seeking to reduce their legal costs while still ensuring the highest quality work output.”

The founders

Fox is a qualified barrister who founded Ireland’s first dedicated eDiscovery outsourcing company in 2011.

The company is chaired by Jennifer Caldwell, a former managing partner of global law firm, Maples and Calder Solicitors.

Jasper Allen is a development director, as well as a successful entrepreneur and the current chairman of the board of Scholium Group plc.

Stuart Margetson is a new development consultant, having previously worked as a senior litigation partner with Matheson, a large Irish firm.

Fintan Drury was also recently appointed as a development consultant. Drury is the current CEO of Platinum One Group and has acted as chairman for Hostelworld, RTÉ, Paddy Power and Mainstream Renewable Power.

The technology

“Big data means big challenges,” said Fox. “Large international law firms and corporations are drowning in a sea of routine legal review requirements.

“Our teams of lawyers are fully trained up on a variety of different technology platforms, which are used to process and ultimately enable the electronic review of documentation.

“The process is as much about technology as it is law. Our technology collects vast amounts of data, whether it is in hard copy or electronic form, and puts it into one place.

“Ultimately, this process enables a more speedy, clean review of documents. We combine this technology with law to combat routine legal work product such as compliance, due diligence, discovery and contracts work.”

Fox said the ultimate goal is to turn Dublin into Europe’s premier legal process hub.

“We are just eight months old and growing extremely quickly. We are already working with some of the world’s biggest corporates and on global projects. We raised funding in January.

“Before this journey started, we felt we might encounter challenges around our mission to breathe innovation into a sector that has been historically quite conservative.

“However, in a very short space of time, we are seeing a huge amount of interest in the service. Our partners, which include some of the world’s most established organisations and semi-state bodies, have displayed an openness to change, a readiness to embrace technology and a willingness to explore alternative ways of managing routine legal work product in order to drive efficiencies, reduce costs and bolster productivity.”

Driving forces of change

Fox said that innovation is the driving force behind today’s global economy.

“Globally and closer to home, there has been a rapid rise in the foundation of new, dynamic companies. Many of these companies have a clear mission. They are driving change in order to create a better future across different areas of business, which were thought of previously as being immune to change.

“Globally, we are witnessing the rise of activist businesses. These businesses are focused not only on the generation of profits, but also driven by a clear and defined sense of purpose.”

His advice for other tech self-starters based in Europe right now is: “Keep knocking on doors.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years