Fastcase Acquires NextChapter, Broadens Legal Form-Filing Capabilities
Company expands services with an innovative tool for bankruptcy filing that streamlines the process for lawyers and their clients
Fastcase, a leading legal publisher, announced today its acquisition of NextChapter, the cloud-based bankruptcy software for attorneys and paralegals.
NextChapter, often described as the TurboTax for bankruptcy cases, was founded by former bankruptcy paralegal Janine Sickmeyer, who developed the best workflows and practices for preparing bankruptcy cases and implemented them into an easy-to-use, full circle solution. Janine taught herself to code and built NextChapter from ground zero without funding, launching in 2016. Using her management expertise and industry experience, Janine grew NextChapter to an industry-leading software, serving several thousand law firms in every district of the United States.
Fastcase CEO, Ed Walters said, “NextChapter is a textbook legal tech success story. Janine has created a smart, disciplined, and creative team, and we just can’t wait to work more closely with them. This is a star team – I wish that Phil and I had mentors like them when we started Fastcase!” He continued, “We’re looking forward to investing in NextChapter, which has really proven out the forms and workflow market for bankruptcy lawyers. Bankruptcy is one of the most complex markets for forms, with lots of local variation and frequent changes and updates. Together, we can’t wait to create even better products that integrate legal research, dockets, and news, for bankruptcy and beyond.”
NextChapter’s intuitive web application for preparing, managing and filing petitions with the court is a great addition to the Fastcase family and its subscribers. Currently suited for bankruptcy law firms, NextChapter’s proprietary linear model allows attorneys to prepare complex forms efficiently and file them with the court and includes a suite of features such as client texting, client portal, virtual paralegal services, PACER notices inbox & automated hearing scheduler.
Janine Sickmeyer, CEO of NextChapter added, “This acquisition is a dream come true and a natural progression of everything NextChapter has built so far. I have been personally inspired by Ed and Phil Rosenthal’s leadership and the Fastcase team for years, and it’s invigorating to collaborate and continue to build NextChapter’s company and products alongside them. Fastcase and NextChapter share the same core beliefs on customer-focused products I know this opportunity will allow us to continue serving our mission of ‘Helping people get to the next chapter of their lives’.”
In 2013, Fastcase acquired bankruptcy petition software Collier’s Top Form & File from LexisNexis. Previously a compact disc product, Fastcase transitioned TopForm to the Web, re-launching the online application as Fastcase BK. “With our acquisition of NextChapter, Fastcase is doubling down on the bankruptcy legal market, and the form-filing business more generally,” said Walters. Fastcase announced that it would transition its current Fastcase BK subscribers to NextChapter over the next several months.
Taking effect today, Janine Sickmeyer will become Managing Director and Founder of NextChapter and Director of Practice Workflow at Fastcase. NextChapter’s office in Columbus, Ohio will serve as the second U.S. Fastcase office. Current Fastcase BK subscribers will be transitioned over to NextChapter to benefit from the intuitive workflows, case management tools and faster case preparation. More information regarding their account migration will be provided via email in the next few weeks. Current NextChapter customers will experience no disruptions or changes to their NextChapter account and can continue to enjoy access through nextchapterbk.com.
Together, Fastcase and NextChapter will both expand on their form automation and filing capabilities, allowing modern legal professionals to obtain justice for their clients faster and more efficiently.
As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 900,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase or visit www.fastcase.com.
NextChapter transforms the messy, complicated and unruly process of preparing bankruptcy forms into a streamlined, easy-to-use app. Built by former paralegal and tech entrepreneur, Janine Sickmeyer, NextChapter’s secure, online web application allows attorneys and their staff to prepare Chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13 bankruptcy cases using automated workflows, integrations, client texting, hearing schedulers, case management tools, firm customizations and more. NextChapter streamlines everything you need to run your bankruptcy practice in the cloud. Founded in 2013, launched in 2016 and acquired in 2019, NextChapter is based in Columbus, OH. For more information, follow NextChapter on Twitter at @NextChapterBK or visit nextchapterbk.com.