CiteRight and fellow Canadian legaltech startup Jurisage ink deal to merge

Jurisage co-founder and CEO Colin Lachance and CiteRight founder and CEO Aaron Wenner.
Merger will combine CiteRight’s litigation-drafting platform with Jurisage’s AI tech.

Toronto-based CiteRight and Ottawa-based Jurisage AI have reached an agreement to combine under the name Jurisage.

CiteRight’s software helps lawyers organize and assemble litigation materials, while Jurisage has developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology for analyzing case law. Together, the two Canadian legaltech startups hope to deliver a comprehensive, integrated legal research and drafting solution.

“As one company, CiteRight and Jurisage are extraordinarily well-placed to become a significant player.”

Both companies declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, which was announced September 5 and is expected to close during the fourth quarter. Jurisage co-founder and CEO Colin Lachance described the deal to BetaKit as “a merger of equals, supported by some additional funding,” noting that the combined entity will look to raise more capital in 2024.

“The merger between our companies made sense from the outset,” CiteRight founder and CEO Aaron Wenner told BetaKit. “Together, our goal is to weave AI insights into litigation workflows, adding a layer of intelligence onto automations that help lawyers work faster and more efficiently.”

UPDATE (01/11/24): Jurisage and CiteRight completed the merger on January 10, 2024.

CiteRight and Jurisage’s teams are staying on as part of the deal. The combined company will be led by Wenner, while fellow lawyer-turned-tech entrepreneur Lachance will become chief innovation officer. CiteRight chief customer officer Ariel Nacson and Jurisage co-founder and CTO Juliano Rabelo will retain their existing roles.

Founded in 2017, CiteRight aims to make legal research “faster, cheaper, and less awful.” The startup’s Microsoft Word-based collaboration platform helps litigation teams at law firms like Toronto’s BLG and Gowlings track research while drafting complaints, briefs, motions, and opinions. To date, CiteRight has raised over $1 million in total funding from angel investors.

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Jurisage, which claims to provide instant access to legal insights using AI, was launched as a joint venture between Edmonton-based applied AI company AltaML (through its venture studio) and Ottawa’s Compass Law. Co-founded and led by Lachance, Compass Law is one of a small number of companies that owns a Canadian case law collection and has relationships with the country’s courts to receive and publish new case law.

In 2021, AltaML, Compass, and Jurisage began exploring how to apply AI and machine learning (ML) to that case law content, developing a range of data-insight and extraction tools. Today, Jurisage’s products include the MyJR browser extension and case dashboards with on-demand generative AI summaries.

According to Lachance, Jurisage customers have asked about its plans to integrate with CiteRight from the very beginning.

“Our services have prioritized bringing legal insights directly into the workflow, and for many lawyers, that means inside Microsoft Word,” Lachance told BetaKit. “CiteRight lives in Word as lawyers draft pleadings, and while we’ve explored integration options, the opportunities afforded by a merger were much greater. It’s become abundantly clear that the intersection of generative AI, legal research, and writing are happening in Word, and as one company, CiteRight and Jurisage are extraordinarily well-placed to become a significant player.”

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“I’ve known Colin for many years, and we’ve had lots of conversations about using legal data to build transformative tools,” Wenner said. “We had another conversation in late June, where we realized that in light of how AI is changing the ground from under us, there was a lot of logic in working closely together and combining our efforts.”

In a statement, AltaML co-founder and co-CEO Cory Janssen called CiteRight and Jurisage a “winning combination,” singling out CiteRight’s established relationships with major law firms and Jurisage’s ML capabilities. AltaML will continue to support the new company by providing technical and back-office services.

As to where the combined company will fit into the litigation workflow and legal research space, Lachance anticipates that aspects of Jurisage’s work will be competitive with some services offered by legal research incumbents Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis, drafting tools from Litera and Dye & Durham, and fellow legaltech startups Alexi and Blue J Legal.

Feature image courtesy CiteRight and Jurisage.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache. He was also the winner of SABEW Canada’s 2023 Jeff Sanford Best Young Journalist award.

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