The transaction marks consolidation in the vertical software market focused on legal technology

Ridge Road Capital Partners and its principals, Adam Jiwan and Michael Mager, have today completed the merger of TrialWorks and Needles, two of the most successful and trusted brands in the legal software industry. These two companies have a combined 55 years of operating history and over 2,500 law firm clients.

The combination of TrialWorks and Needles creates the leader in case management software for plaintiff-focused law firms, with a network of nearly 40,000 active users. The company will leverage the resources of both companies, as well as Ridge Road’s development partnerships, to accelerate product innovation and maintain best-in-class customer service and training. Ridge Road is committed to continuity for customers of both Needles and TrialWorks and to preserving each brand’s software, service and senior management teams.

Co-chairmen Adam Jiwan and Michael Mager acquired control of TrialWorks in February of 2017 with a view towards consolidating the case management software industry. Commenting on the merger, Mager said: “We are pleased to be leading the union of these two great businesses. Our research suggests that over half of US law firms still do not use case management software. We believe this market has significant growth potential, and the acquisition of TrialWorks and Needles positions us to invest aggressively in product innovation and business expansion in coming years.” According to third party research, U.S. law firms spend $3bn annually on legal software, and this annual spend is growing as law firms seek out additional efficiencies through technology.

Co-Chairman Adam Jiwan commented, “The combination of Needles and TrialWorks creates a very exciting platform for growth. We are delighted to welcome Needles’ employees to our team and to promote best practices across both companies. Important to this effort will be Mary Ellen Bellusci, who is being promoted to President of the Needles brand, and the combined entity’s CFO, Don O’Leary. We are pleased to welcome them to the company’s senior ranks.”

Prior to this transaction, Needles’ owner, Bryan Billig, had been approached by multiple interested parties. Billig shared, “Over the years, we were frequently pursued, but there was never a good match until now. Michael and Adam clearly demonstrated the same values, culture, and focus on the customer that have always been at Needles’ core, making this the perfect fit for our customers, employees and technology. Given Ridge Road’s reputation and track record, I am personally thrilled to be a partner in the combined business as we pursue new ways to help our law firms deliver for their clients.”

Ridge Road’s Ryan Pakter, a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Business School and Columbia Law School, will continue to lead the overall business from its headquarters in Coral Gables, Florida. Pakter noted, “I am looking forward to expanding Needles’ development efforts and to offering our hosted cloud solution to all Needles’ customers. We also look forward to accelerating the development and roll-out of Needles Version 5, which is a key priority, while maintaining Needles’ reputation for excellence in service and support.”

Robb Steinberg, Founder of TrialWorks and Head of Product for the combined business, commented, “I’ve been very impressed with what has already been achieved in the short time since Ryan and the broader Ridge Road team took the reins of TrialWorks earlier this year. Uniting TrialWorks with Needles is the culmination of a long-standing ambition. I am excited about driving further product innovation for both brands, and I believe that this is the start of an exciting new chapter for both companies and for the industry itself.”

About Ridge Road Capital Partners

Ridge Road is an owner-operated investment holding company. Ridge Road employs a permanent capital base to acquire founder-led businesses with proven business models and capacity for growth. Since its establishment in late 2012, the group has taken control positions in multiple businesses globally, completing 10 transactions.

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