Fastcase, a Washington D.C. legal publisher, has acquired NextChapter, the Columbus startup that creates cloud-based bankruptcy software for attorneys and paralegals. Fastcase plans to invest in NextChapter to create products that integrate legal research, dockets and news, for bankruptcy and beyond.

NextChapter, often described as the TurboTax for bankruptcy cases, was founded by former bankruptcy paralegal Janine Sickmeyer, who developed workflows and best practices for preparing bankruptcy cases and implemented them into a full-circle solution. Sickmeyer 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 serving several thousand law firms in every district of the United States.

Currently suited for bankruptcy law firms, NextChapter’s proprietary linear model allows attorneys to prepare complex forms efficiently and file them with the court.

“This acquisition is a dream come true and a natural progression of everything NextChapter has built so far,” Sickmeyer said, in a statement. “I have been personally inspired by Ed (Walters) 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,” Walters said.

Sickmeyer will become managing director and founder of NextChapter and director of practice workflow at Fastcase. NextChapter’s office in Columbus 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. Current NextChapter customers will experience no disruptions or changes to their NextChapter account