The document technology company Litera has acquired Best Authority, which is possibly the leading standalone product among legal professionals for generating tables of authorities in legal briefs.

Best Authority, developed by Levit & James Inc., is in use at over 90% of Am Law 100 law firms has over 1,000 customers in total. An add-in for Microsoft Word, it automatically finds and marks all the legal citations in a brief and generates a TOA.

Although Litera already has a TOC-generator of its own, CEO Avaneesh Marwaha told me earlier this week that the company had been planning to further develop it, but kept hearing customers cite Best Authority as a best-of-breed product.

By acquiring the best-of-breed product and incorporating it into Litera’s platform, he decided, he could offer customers the best of both worlds.

“The acquisition of Best Authority makes sense on many levels, most importantly to our customers,” Marwaha said. “In a debate over best of breed versus platform, we believe building a best of breed platform is essential. Our customers have cited Best Authority as a best of breed product and we are excited to be able to offer that through Litera Desktop.”

Fletcher James and Ian D. Levit, who founded their software company in 1987, will remain with Litera for a month or two to assist with the transition.

Levit, in a statement, said, “We’re delighted to be joining the Litera family. We’re excited by their vision to create a supplier which supports the full workflow for both litigators and transactional lawyers. With so many shared customers we’re confident their reaction will be extremely positive.”

Levit & James is among the longest-running companies in legal technology. Its original focus was on custom software applications for mini-computers and computer consulting for Fortune 500 corporations, large law firms and professional associations.

In 1992, it pivoted to document conversion and migration software, and in 1998 it released CrossWords, a popular program for converting WordPerfect documents to Word.

It released Best Authority in 2006, and as of June 2019, it was in use at 92 of the 100 largest U.S. law firms, including all of the 10 largest firms.

“I hear a lot of CIOs talk about having to choose between best of breed and platform,” Marwaha told me. “We say, why can’t it be both — a platform can be best of breed.”

Litera has made two other notable acquisitions in the past year, acquiring Doxly in August 2019 and Workshare in July 2019.

In 2017, a $100 million investment combined Litera with three other leading document technologies: Microsystems, XRef and The Sackett Group.

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.