The legal tech platform Reynen Court officially launched in beta mode as it prepares to go wide with its “app store” for law firms and corporate legal departments.

The Reynen Court app store will allow lawyers to shop for legal tech vendors and download their programs onto their phones and work computers in private, highly secure “cloud” environments.

The Beta launch includes five Big Law firms that will test the platform. These are Reynen Court co-chair firms Latham & Watkins and Clifford Chance, vice chair Paul Weiss, White & Case, and Orrick.

Reynen’s key tech advantage is the use of “containerized” apps deployed in secure, private clouds controlled by the law firms, with a long list of fully vetted vendors whose programs can be quickly installed, Reynen Court founder and CEO Andy Klein told Bloomberg Law.

Reynen is currently backed by a consortium of 18 of the most prestigious law firms in the U.S. and the U.K.—and is in discussions with 50 other major firms, as well as corporate legal departments. The group’s website boasts more than 50 legal tech vendors, including the law company Elevate, which has brought three of its products to Reynen; the e-discovery provider Everlaw; and the AI automation platform Neota Logic, as well as several much smaller startups.

Klein, a former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate, has said Reynen Court’s technology, and growing interest from top players throughout the legal industry, provides an opportunity for “massive acceleration.”

He said law firms’ clients are under “tremendous pressure” to use technology to cut costs, and Reynen is well positioned to help.

Targeted Tools

“The Beta release represents a first delivery on Reynen Court’s bold vision,” said White & Case Chief Information Officer Tony Cordeiro in a statement. “We have worked closely with their team for many months and are about to start using the curated content to reduce the time it takes for us to bring a new technology online—a key IT strategy for us. “

Reynen is planning a secure platform that will allow law firms to speedily integrate legal tech apps that will include workflow and document automation tools and deal management systems. Many of its vendors’ tools incorporate artificial intelligence, including machine learning.

One key benefit of the new operation will be faster development of smaller and more targeted legal tech tools, designed in some cases for individual practice groups, Latham & Watkins chief information officer Ken Heaps and Latham’s deputy CIO, Rene Mendoza, told Bloomberg Law.

At the same time, once a vendor’s tool is integrated into the Reynen platform, individual firms won’t need to worry about adapting the vendors’ technologies to the firms’ systems. “The beauty of it is, we won’t need to vet every single platform,” said Mendoza.

Another benefit for firms like Latham and Clifford Chance is their direct financial stake in Reynen Court, if it takes off. Latham spokesman Geoff Burt declined to say what equity percentage of Reynen the firm purchased for the $2.1 million it has invested.

Heaps said he’s excited about how Reynen is shaping up as an investment, but more importantly, as a key tool for firms and law departments to be able to adopt tech faster and less expensively.

“Look at the consortium. Look at the vendors. Look at the synergy,” he noted.

Cost Structure

Reynen announced in the Spring that its consortium had grown from 12 to 18 law firms.

Like Latham, Clifford Chance also has invested $2.1 million in the venture outside of consortium participation. That’s on top of the $2.8 million that Klein has put in through an affiliated company called Prins H LLC.

Reynen will earn revenue when law firms pay them fixed-fee, annual licensing agreements, said Klein. He declined to say how much those agreements will cost firms, though confirmed that it is “way less” than $1 million per year.

“It’s a significant fee,” said Klein, “but we see it as a reasonable fee,” and one that will allow firms to feel comfortable with a possible fee increase after Reynen’s concept has been proven.

Reynen also will get paid a smaller fee when firms decide to purchase the software they may find and use through the “app store.” Vendors aren’t currently paying Reynen, but in the future will be charged annual maintenance costs, Klein said.