Level Legal today announced some impressive new hires. Level Legal provides global legal services supporting law firms, in-house legal departments, and government agencies. It specializes in privacy, compliance, regulatory, antitrust, and eDiscovery issues. According to its recent press release, “Level Legal is a modern law company delivering strategic and technological data solutions that clear the runway for attorneys to focus on their clients.” Its work is accelerating.
I recently had the chance to talk with Joey Seeber, Level Legal CEO, about Level Legal. And, more specifically, his views of where the legal market may be going and the remote work conundrum so many law firms are puzzling over these days. It’s always fun to talk to Seeber. He’s got so many insights into what’s going on in the legal space.
First, the Leval Legal announcement. Level Legal announced six hires as it expands more and more into global data governance:
- Portia Boone, Review Manager: Boone has served in numerous roles with Consilio and Discover Ready, specializing in IP and employment disputes, banking investigations, and governmental document requests and investigations.
- Anthony Cortez, eDiscovery Project Manager: Cortez adds significant governmental expertise to Level Legal’s offerings with over a decade of experience leading government case teams in multifaceted technical support.
- Jeff Guttman, Director of Client Services: Guttman has over 12 years of experience working at RVM, UBIC, and EY in the managed review and eDiscovery space.
- Martha MacPherson, Senior Director of Marketing: MacPherson brings more than two decades of experience in technology marketing and sales and recently served as part of D4’s executive team before its acquisition by Special Counsel (slated to be bought by Consilio in Q4).
- Daniel Rodriguez, Review Manager: Rodriguez brings Big Four and Big Law expertise with seven years at Deloitte and four years at McDermott Will & Emery.
- Ted Tai, Review Manager: Tai has almost 20 years of experience managing complex litigation and eDiscovery activities, including with Am Law 10 firm WilmerHale and services company UnitedLex.
You probably recognize most of these names and from where they come if you follow legal tech. The group is pretty geographically diverse by the way.
Level Legal made the decision early on to be 100% remote. This decision proved fortuitous. It now enables Level Legal to hire the best talent irrespective of where it is, as the most recent hires demonstrate.
“In a highly competitive job market and tight nationwide talent pool but with the constraint of geography removed, we feel honored to have attracted the talent of Anthony, Daniel, Jeff, Martha, Portia, and Ted,” said Seeber. “The skillsets and experience each of them brings to Level Legal are exceptional, and their cultural fit is equally as important. Each of these individuals embodies our core values and convictions, and each individual aligns with our commitment to delight our customers with exceptional service.”
Seeber told me that he sees the “great resignation” phenomenon firsthand. “The talent available as a result of the great resignation is a great opportunity” for entities like Level Legal. Says Seeber, “people have reset their expectations for work.” He believes those law firms who insist on a strict return to the office policy will not fare well in the great talent hunt we are experiencing. Level Legal embraced the disruptions brought on by COVID-19, deciding to keep employees permanently remote while maintaining the company’s signature single-point-of-contact model for all clients.
The biggest challenge with remote work lies in the creative space
The biggest challenge with remote work lies in the creative space, according to Seeber. “There is something about being together that you just can’t recreate online” when it comes to projects requiring creative thinking. But his message to law firms is clear: if you want to stay competitive, you have to understand that the way talent views work is no longer the same.
Seeber also told me Level Legal is growing by leaps and bounds work-wise. It’s taking on more complex matters (such as Title IX litigation and Big Tech antitrust lawsuits) and enhancing its data management and compliance services. Seeber predicts more M & A work, more regulatory compliance legal-related work, more privacy litigation, and compliance related activities. In general, litigation will heat up with the opening up of courts.
I wondered how Level Legal views law firms. And what kind of pushback it gets from firms concerned about losing billable work to Level Legal.
Seeber doesn’t see Level Legal as competing with law firms for work
Seeber told me Level Legal gets about half its work from law firms and lawyers. But Seeber doesn’t see Level Legal as competing with law firms for work. Instead, the firms and lawyers that do work with Level Legal see the world a little differently.
Says Seeber: these are firms that are willing to partner even though it may mean that Level Legal now does some of the nonlegal work associates and other law firm personnel historically did. Seeber agrees that the lawyer’s role will more and more be to do only high-level true legal work. The lawyer will coordinate with other entities to get the work that goes with the providing of legal advice done.
This change in how legal is done is already happening with ediscovery and will continue to migrate into other areas. Seeber thinks, as do I that entities like Level Legal can do the less bespoke work better and faster because they do it all the time. Taking this work away from associates gets a better result and makes for a more positive work experience. It prevents associates from trying to figure out how to do something they have no training, experience, or business doing.
Level Legal and Joey Seeber are definitely on a roll.