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E-discovery firm finds a growing global market

Rochester Business Journal
October 30, 2015

“I think one of our big moves has been into more of a managed service approach. That’s been well-received, so I think that’s been a big factor in our growth,” says CEO John Holland, standing, with D4’s top managers. (Photo by Kimberly McKinzie)

From a handful of employees at its start, D4 LLC has grown into a global firm with nearly 200 employees and a worldview for its future.

“It’s been a pretty exciting story because we started in Rochester and then expanded regionally, and then the business grew, and then we were always trying to stay one step ahead,” said John Holland, CEO and founder. “And now that’s growing into more of a global footprint based on our client needs and the way the industry is trending.”

DocuLegal LLC, was founded by Holland in 1997. The company changed the name to D4 in 2008.

As it has for many years, the company plans to grow its revenues by at least 30 percent in 2016 through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

The firm used to focus on legal scanning and copying but has transitioned to center around digital services. D4 still provides its paper services.

“With the proliferation of data and how much data there is, there’s no way you could print it all out and review it with paper like you used to,” said John Rubens, chief operating officer for D4. “We’ve got cases that have tens of millions of documents that we use technology to help (customers) streamline their process.”

The litigation services provider focuses on e-discovery, forensics and collecting evidence (such as collecting data from corporate servers and other sources), information governance and security, software and training, and technology-enhanced deposition solutions—a service that was added last year.

Half of the employees are based in the company’s downtown Rochester office; the rest are scattered across the nation in a dozen offices ranging from Chicago to San Diego.

“What everyone in the company really takes seriously is to make sure that everybody in the company really feels like they’re part of the family,” said Martha MacPherson, vice president of marketing. “If you’ve got happy employees, then you’ve got happy customers.”

The firm expects to open offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai before the close of 2015. 

“We’re looking at the U.S. as well, trying to figure out what markets make sense for us and where we should be to align best with our customers,” Holland said.

As the company has grown, so has its competition, Rubens said.

“There’s consolidation in this industry, so there are some bigger players than us, but I think that we compete by trying to offer a better solution,” Rubens said. “We all use a lot of the same software, but it’s not just software. It’s the people and how you support your clients. Everybody can have technology, but you have to support your clients with their specific workflow.”

In August the firm ranked No. 3116 on Inc.’s annual Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the fastest-growing privately held firms in the country. It has made the list in the last five years.

Four years ago, the firm switched to providing a managed services offering. That decision continues to accelerate growth today, officials said.

“I think one of our big moves has been into more of a managed service approach,” Holland said. “That’s been well-received, so I think that’s been a big factor in our growth.”

It is time for local companies to promote the positive instead of remembering the negative times in Rochester’s past, officials said.

“It’s good to have a growth story,” said Michael Norris, general counsel and senior vice president of human resources. “Unfortunately, for the last several decades we’ve had so many terrific companies that have just been shrinking. I think it gives people in Rochester a negative feeling and complex.

“When you have a company like ours that’s growing, it feels good to be part of something that’s moving forward and making a positive impact.”

Company officials see the future as an opportunity for D4.

“We’re bullish on our opportunities,” Holland said. “We are excited by what the future holds.”

The Rochester Top 100 program is presented by the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2015 Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 4. For more information, go to

A provider of computer forensics, litigation support and e-discovery services.
Year founded: 1997
2014 ranking: 18
Top executive: John Holland, CEO
Current employment: 195
Headquarters: Rochester

10/30/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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