Message from Our Founder
Thank you for visiting Elevate.
Our Purpose is to make Elevate a home to those of us who dedicate our multi-disciplinary careers and diverse experiences to trying to improve the legal industry. It is our place to ‘make a dent in the universe.’ We enjoy and value our relationships with like-minded people throughout the legal community and we find deep satisfaction in seeing our ideas, innovations, and plain hard work result in real improvements in the careers and lives of our fellow professionals.
During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, I was one of the founders of a Virtual Data Room Internet technology company. A number of my M&A lawyer friends were burned-out and unhappy working late, night after night, on cumbersome, labour-intensive, paper-based diligence projects. We imagined a better way, so despite being told, ‘you must be crazy, it will never work,’ we left our corporate careers, raised Silicon Valley venture capital, and started a company to create a streamlined, automated, online experience, freeing lawyers up for the more fulfilling, higher-value work they’d actually gone to law school for – and avoid burning the midnight oil. We sold that business just months before the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. That experience inspired me to look for other areas of the legal industry that would benefit from a novel ‘cheaper, better, faster approach. I spent the next ten years working with a talented global team to build a leading Legal Process Outsourcing services business. We used Lean and Six Sigma process management techniques to help litigation lawyers avoid redundant and wasteful work as they found the stories buried deep in mountains of documents to develop their case strategies. At the peak of the success of that business in 2011, I had a disagreement with the private equity investors over staffing and customer service strategy. When the investors chose to change direction from our business plan to pursue a strategy I did not believe to be in the best interests of our customers, employees, and minority stockholders, I refused to comply. I was fired.
My mission was nowhere near accomplished. The structural changes in the legal industry were just getting underway and increasingly I had been meeting professionals in law departments and law firms who were looking for help to meet the ‘more for less’ challenge they faced. More and more people were challenging the status quo and ‘thinking out of the box’, but many were frustrated by the resource constraints or appetite for change where they worked. It seemed to me that there was a need for a law company with a legal industry focus, management, and financial resources, and patience, to offer these legal industry innovators a place to experiment and discover new ways of working to really help customers – and then deliver those capabilities. So we started Elevate in 2011.
It is not just about why Elevate exists, whom we serve, or what we do, but also how we do it that distinguishes us. I deeply believe that our company and our people must be free to do the right things the right way. We must be structured and aligned – from the balance sheet through operations and compensation – to truly help customers, not just in our words, but also in our actions. I chose the name “Elevate” for the company for a number of reasons. It reflects my desire to help our customers improve their future operations from where they stand today. It speaks to my hope that my colleagues find their careers at Elevate challenging, fulfilling, and fun – and that they feel they grow while we work together. I also chose it because I wanted to try to ‘rise above’ my experience with the private equity investors – in particular the dispute that we had before I was ultimately successful in selling my ownership stake to them, which provided us the capital to fund Elevate without the need to give up control to institutional investors. We believe this is an important differentiator for our customers because it allows our management team to build our business for the long-term, focused on the needs of our customers and our Associates, without the risk of a change of strategy or a sale driven by investors who are not really involved in the business or passionate about our Vision, Mission, Core Values, and Principles.
We are grateful to the many customers and colleagues who have worked with us in the past. We are fortunate to work with many of you again. Thank you for your support.
We also look forward to building new relationships and working with new customers, colleagues, and partners in the years ahead.
Founder, Chairman and CEO