With a new year freshly underway, I’d like to take a moment to share my reflections on 2013 and look ahead at what I think 2014 has in store.

Looking Back

It’s exciting to help our clients achieve great things, but it’s even more exciting when those achievements are recognized by the market. We were delighted to see several prestigious awards given to the legal departments of our corporate clients for their work with our legal operations, consulting and legal services teams. NetApp received multiple honors for their innovations with which we helped; they were named an ACC Value Champion, listed among the IC-10 (InsideCounsel magazine’s top 10 list of most innovative law departments), and awarded Legal Department of the Year for Technology by the Recorder magazine. ArcelorMittal was honored in the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards as runner up in the Operational Change category. Congratulations to our clients for all that they have achieved and thank you for allowing us to help.

During 2013 we completed the integration of our medical claims and litigation business Med Legal Services, which we acquired in 2012, and which gave us our first US delivery center in Los Angeles.

We strengthened our management team with more like-minded leaders – several of whom I’ve worked with before – who share our passion for client service. The list includes:

We expanded our geographical footprint, launched a delivery center in Phoenix, Arizona to support one of our law firm clients and grew our law firm business significantly in UK and Australia.

On the technology front, we launched a new app called Cael LPM™ to provide lawyers ‘just enough project management.’ Our app was selected by Gowlings as the enterprise technology platform for their LPM initiative, Gowlings Practical, which was featured in the Legal Outsourcing Guide 2013–2014 (article begins on page 44).

Our Med Legal Services received a major professional endorsement; our medical bill review methodology was peer reviewed by the nation’s foremost expert on medical care pricing and deemed to meet the highest professional standards. (More on that in an upcoming press release.)

As a private company, we do not publicly disclose our financials in detail, but I am pleased to share that we smashed our 2013 financial goals: we reached annual sales run rate of $7 million and achieved profitability before the end of the year, with no debt and over $1 million of cash on our balance sheet. This positions us to continue to invest in capabilities, people and technologies that will serve our clients in even more ways in 2014.

Legal market thought leaders will have noticed that Elevate appeared in several noteworthy publications during 2013, including:

In summary, I view 2013 as the year in which Elevate planted our flag as a next generation legal services provider, which I think is reflected in our clients’ awards, our business’ growth, and our thought leadership.

Looking Ahead

Continuing that momentum, Elevate will expand further in the US, UK, and India in 2014, and we will add significant presence in Australia and Asia Pacific. (Stay tuned for news on that in the coming weeks.)

We will continue to help our clients evolve in award-winning ways, we will expand our suite of Cael™ apps, and we will expand our lawyer secondment business.

Since it’s interesting to make predictions at this time of year, I offer the following 2014 predictions:

  1. Legal project management (LPM) will gather pace, moving beyond the early adopter law firms. This will be fueled by client-driven demands for budget predictability and improved legal service efficiency, and it will be enabled by technology that makes LPM accessible and practical. (See Pam Waldow’s insightful blog post on this topic.)
  2. Before 2014 is over, the label ‘alternative legal service provider’ will start to drop its ‘alternative’ descriptor. It will become increasingly normal for law firms, corporate legal departments and legal service providers to work together, and law firms that have already positioned themselves for this paradigm shift will have a noticeable advantage over those that haven’t.
  3. Increasingly, the most successful inside-outside counsel relationships will emphasize more objective, open dialogue about how to define – and even quantify – the value of legal services.

These are exciting times to be part of the legal ecosystem and I believe Elevate is at the right place at the right time to make a positive difference for everyone involved. 2013 was testimony to that, and we will continue working diligently in 2014 to build on what we’ve started.

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