This morning, Factor, (formerly Axiom Managed Solutions) one of the most prominent alternative legal service providers, announced the appointment of Carol Lindstrom, former Vice-Chair of Deloitte, to its Board of Directors. Lindstrom’s appointment comes as Factor closed on a new investment from Carrick Capital Partners – one of the largest recent investments in the global legal solutions market – which will allow Factor to quickly capitalize on the opportunities and momentum it has built since the beginning of the year.
To say Lindstrom is a heavy hitter would be a gross understatement and follows Factor’s recent move to bring in talent outside pure legal. In addition to Lindstrom and 34-year-old Varun Mehta as CEO earlier this year, Factor has assembled a powerhouse leadership team with three seasoned C-level leaders:
- CFO – John Dillon, former divisional CFO of global consulting firm Mercer
- COO – Roxann Erxleben, Accenture veteran, and Axiom Managed Solutions alumna
- Head of Solution-Ed Sohn, previously of EY Law
Carol is the former Vice-Chair of Deloitte LLP. She joined Deloitte in 1993 to help build and lead the technology consulting practice. During her tenure, she served as the Advisory Partner for some of Deloitte’s largest clients. Carol created and led the Strategic Relationship Management group and a relationship program focused on top global clients. She led Deloitte’s Global and US Alliances and built several technology businesses. Before joining Deloitte, Carol was a partner at Andersen Consulting. She currently serves on the Board of directors of Genpact Ltd., Exponent Inc., and two not-for-profit Boards.
Perhaps most significantly, Lindstrom helped build and lead the firm’s technology consulting practice basically out of whole cloth.
Yes, heavy hitter on steroids. But more importantly, are the reason Factor so wanted Lindstrom on its Board.
I had a chance to talk with Varun Mehta on a beautiful fall day (at least it was where I was) recently. Mehta is the CEO of Factor and one of the astute observers of the legal tech ecosystem in general. I met him awhile back in connection with my post about the potential impact of more strenuous cost controls by law firms.
We talked about the recent additions to Factor and where legal may be headed. Over the last year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Factor has grown rapidly, tripling its US, UK, and European teams and is handling more and more complex legal work in the financial services, pharma, and other highly regulated markets. Its workforce remains fully remote.
Mehta told me that Lindstrom’s addition was part of a studied strategy to bring in more people to Factor who are not directly connected to legal or the practice of law. It’s Mehta’s view that these non-legal people bring a greater understanding of market forces and business and a fresh perspective. We both joked about the fact that far too many in the legal tech world say the same things over and over without ever being able to effectuate real change. Mehta wants Factor to avoid this echo chamber effect with these diverse voices.
Another problem in legal has been its failure or unwillingness to adopt technology in a way to improve the overall practice and what lawyers do
Mehta also strongly feels that another problem in legal has been its failure or unwillingness to adopt technology in a way to improve the overall practice and what lawyers do. Says Mehta, legal has avoided serious disruption because it hasn’t yet figured out why disruption and technology can enhance the profession and business. It hasn’t yet been able to see much less realize the real value and benefits of innovation. The changes for the good that could come from it.
He cited the Human Resources as a business area where technology has transformed the goals and purposes—what HR is all about—in good ways. Not that long ago, most HR departments focused on things like payroll and benefits. Now that much of that work can be automated, HR can focus more on people and their well-being, making work life better. Once HR mastered the technology, they could go about the business of human relations: That work for which they are there for. Same thing, says Mehta, happened to the managed service businesses.
In large part, this is why Factor brought on people like John Dillion and Roxann Erxleben, whose experiences are in these areas. He hopes the addition of Lindstrom to the Factor Board will bring the same diversity of experience.
The word is pragmatism
“The word”, says Mehta,” is pragmatism”. Trying to use technology and innovation in pragmatic, practical ways that will add value. That will improve lawyers’ work and life’s. That’s Factor’s goal for legal: to move the needle in just these kinds of ways. So despite admitted frustration at times, Mehta is still optimistic that with diverse thinking and providing the opportunity for innovation and for people to try new things, Factor may still push legal transformation.