BigHand, a company that started with a focus on digital dictation and voice productivity and has expanded to a range of products for the legal sector, has acquired PayneGroup, a company that develops productivity software and provides training and consulting services for the legal industry.

Donna Payne, a legal technology veteran who founded PayneGroup in 1992 and was its CEO, will leave the company. In August, the International Legal Technology Association honored Payne with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

Donna Payne

BigHand says the acquisition will further strengthen its template management and metadata management offering in North America that that PayneGroup’s products will complement BigHand’s own template management product BigHand Create.

PayneGroup products include Metadata Assistant for scrubbing metadata, Outlook Send Assistant for preventing email gaffes, Redact Assistant for permanently deleting sensitive data, Forms Assistant for creating standardized templates, Kit for creating and managing correspondence templates, and Numbering Assistant for paragraph numbering in Word.

According to the statement released by BigHand, Payne selected BigHand as a new home for both her employees and customers due to the strong similarity in culture and client success.

“When I decided to move on to the next chapter in my career, I wanted to ensure that our customers and employees would be well looked after,” Payne said. “Following a thorough review of the market, BigHand became the obvious choice. Their reputation, infrastructure and experience reassure me that I am passing the business on to capable hands who can take the company to the next level.”

Eric Wangler, president of BigHand North America, said, “We’re very excited about this acquisition and the benefit it will bring to our template management and metadata offering. We have seen a huge uptake of our template management solution in the past several years emphasizing the demand from the market for tools like this. Merging with PayneGroup means that we can support a greater audience and make bigger investments to support and enhance these products.”

Payne is an original member of the Microsoft Legal Advisory Council and has authored 13 books on Microsoft Office, including the popular titles Word for Law Firms and Excel for Law Firms. She has served as a columnist for several publications and is a frequent speaker at legal and technical conferences. She also co-chairs the ILTA’s Partner Advisory Council.

Employees of PayneGroup team will join BigHand and continue to work from their current Seattle office.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.