CHARLESTON -– Action Legal Document Services, Ivize and Summit Document Services on Tuesday announced they have merged to create a legal document services company that provides support, technology and advisory services to law firms, government organizations and corporate customers in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States.

The combined company –- Ivize -– is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and has 16 regional offices, including Charleston. As part of the merger, Action Legal Document Services of Charleston will adopt the Ivize name.

Joel Milne and Malte Bernholz, Action Legal's CEO and COO, will become CEO and COO of Ivize. Robert Weyrens, founder and president of Ivize, will become vice president of operations for the combined company. Bryan Foster will become vice president of technology and will lead the company's digital services business.

John Hamilton, the managing partner of the Charleston office, will maintain his local ownership and remain as president of the Charleston location.

"We're just literally putting a different name on the window," Hamilton said Wednesday. "We basically have acquired two other companies. When you do that, somebody's got to change, and we have to become universal under one banner. We'll still have the everyday great service that everyone expects."

Hamilton said the companies opted to go with the name Ivize to help it grow nationally.

"Ivize had done a really good job of marketing and branding their name in the markets there were in," he said. "The other two companies are going to take advantage of that."

Of the 15 existing stores, there were seven Action Legals and two Summits. The rest already were Ivize stores. A 16th store is opening this week in Fayetteville, Ark.

All other management, sales and technology personnel will be retained by Ivize.

The legal document outsourcing industry allows law firms, corporations and government to focus on their core activities while minimizing their investments in non-core support areas, such as copy, scan and electronic processing equipment as well as the staff to operate them. It also provides customers access to the latest document management technologies, high-volume processing capacity, and best practices enabling them to improve their efficiency without having to invest in complex software and training.

"Our customers really emerge as the winners in this deal," Milne said in a press release. "Action Legal, Ivize and Summit customers will continue to receive the same great customer service they have been used to and will now benefit from our broader geographic network and new abilities to offer digital solutions.

"Each of these companies has assembled a seasoned management team, developed significant strategic relationships, and engineered cutting-edge technology. Bringing these together will create a very powerful force in our growing industry."

Ivize will continue to provide all the services previously offered by the three companies and will now have the capability to provide high-volume electronic discovery, coding and hosting solutions.

These services include document copying, imaging, electronic discovery, coding, web hosting as well as many other ancillary document services.

"We just have more things technlogogy-wise," Hamilton said. "Sometimes when you're dealing with legal cases, the client wants the discovery documents scanned or copied or even just hosted on the Web. Now, we can do that kind of thing.

"Different markets are well into that. Now we have 16 stores across the country. It allows us to be more consistent and help each other out."

Bernholz said Ivize can help with recent rules changes.

"Since the announcement of the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) for Electronically Stored Information (ESI) that went into effect on Dec. 1, 2006, our customers are even more concerned about having a trusted partner that can not only process their documents, but also advise them on best practices and technologies for needs ranging from the mandated discovery conference with opposing counsel, to an effective and cost-efficient document review process," he said.

"By combining three market leaders into Ivize, we are increasing our technology R&D and training to ensure that our customers continue to receive the best and most state-of-the-art solutions for their complex electronic document needs."

In addition to Charleston and Fayetteville, Ark., Ivize has offices in Atlanta, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte N.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Clayton, Mo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Little Rock, Ark.; Madison, Wisc.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Montgomery, Ala.; New Orleans, La.; St. Louis, Mo. and Tallahassee, Fla. Summit's offices in Houston and Memphis will remain independent and continue operating under the Summit name.

Headquartered in Charlotte, Ivize was founded in 1995. For more information, visit www.ivize.net.

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