LexisNexis announced in a July 11, 2003 press release that it has acquired Applied Discovery, an e-discovery company.

I have always been struck by the seeming fragmentation of the e-discovery and litigation support market. My recollection is that a couple of bigger companies tried a roll-up (consolidation) in the mid- to late-1990s but that the market nonetheless remained fragmented. In the age of paper, litigation support was primarily about process and labor. As such, it is not clear that scale mattered all that much.

Now, with digital data, litigation support is becoming more focused around process and technology. Arguably, with technology playing a bigger role, scale matters more. A bigger company can invest more to develop software. And with this merger, there is the potential for synergies between both LexisNexis technology and content and e-discovery enhancements. That said, there are plenty of smaller players developing interesting technologies that are useful in e-discovery. Many an entrepreneur would say that scale works against technological innovation.

It will be interesting to see how the market evolves with a much bigger company now involved. From the law firm or law department as customer perspective, there seems to be little apparent downside. There is no lack of choice of vendors and this merger may create new offerings or spawn other transactions with the potential to create new competition on features or price.