Deloitte adds legal start-up to the fold

Deloitte has announced the acquisition of one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, ATD Legal Services Professional Corporation. The purchase of ATD, which specializesin e-discovery, allows Deloitte to become Canada’s first end-to-end discovery solution.

In a 2010 Precedent interview, ATD founder, Shelby Austin, said that people thought she was crazy when she left her position as partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineburg LLP to start the company.

At that time, outsourcing the discovery process — the pre-trial process in civil litigation through which documents and evidence (especially electronic documents like emails) are acquired from the opposing party — was a “fringe” concept.

The move allows Deloitte to collect, process, host and review data without that data ever leaving the country, an advantage for those concerned about privacy. Thus the acquisition of a Canadian-owned company was a priority.

“From our standpoint, it was the only step [of the discovery process] that we had not internalized already,” says Peter Dent, a partner at Deloitte and national leader of their forensic practice.

The pool of companies that specialize in e-discovery is quite small, and the pool of Canadian companies specializing in e-discovery is smaller still.

“I think we did a pretty good job of taking it to where it was,” says Austin, “but our growth was so fast that it’s really nice to think that we have a larger infrastructure and support working for us now.”

Austin is thrilled about the sale, even though she says that every day of work as an entrepreneur was a gift. “But how could you begrudge your baby going off to University early?” 


Photo by Vanessa Heins