With January drawing to a close, now is a good moment to share my thoughts on the year that was and the year that lies ahead. Looking back, 2022 was another year of growth and firsts for Elevate. Our revenue almost reached $100 million, roughly a 10% increase over 2021. H2 2022 was our most profitable half-year ever, with healthy growth across all our business units. During that period, our customer NPS (Net Promoter Score) for new engagements reached an all-time high of over 60. We now have more than fifty customers that buy multiple Elevate offerings from more than one of our BUs, confident that one enterprise provider can support the range of needs of their law department. Despite the war for talent, our unwanted turnover nudged just over our normal annual average of 15%. We continued to expand our team in a measured way, with our global workforce now numbering over 1,600 legal, business, and technology professionals.

Last year, we were visible within the legal tech sector and legal industry, with Elevaters as expert panelists and speakers at important events such as LegalWeek, Legal Innovators, the CLOC Institute, and LegalGeek. Our customers and we continue to win awards for achieving results, e.g., just last week, we won the Icertis Partner of the Year Award in the mid-market category. We increased the number of Elevate LinkedIn followers from around 50,000 to over 80,000, which indicates we are developing awareness of our brand as a leader in innovation at the intersection of business and law.

In June, we released our inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, detailing the impact of our operations worldwide, our socioeconomic contribution, and our environmental management activities. This report documents the steps we are taking to reduce our carbon footprint and improve equitability and inclusion. It also details our activities to strengthen Elevate’s culture and work environment, improve customer satisfaction, promote mental health and wellness, and support charities in the communities in which Elevaters live and work.

Looking ahead, the possibility of a global recession threatens law departments, law firms, and law companies. General Counsel must contend with frozen or reduced budgets; meanwhile, their compliance responsibilities keep increasing, with growing demands that their law department provides strategic value to the business, e.g., managing supply chains more effectively than ever. Law firm leaders face the prospect of less work and stagnant productivity while they face pressure to maintain unprecedented 2022 profit levels. Many firms have or will soon raise their rates – placing fiscal pressure on law departments that could not come at a worse time. The danger of such an environment to consulting and tech law companies is obvious. With tight budgets, spending on new projects to acquire and implement new technology will be a non-starter at most law departments and firms. Efficiency, not transformation, has become the watchword. Over the last couple of years, a legal tech CEO’s primary skill was to raise capital, but investor enthusiasm for legal tech will wane in the face of weak demand. Quality companies, led by quality management teams that deliver quality services and software, i.e. the value they promise, will come back into vogue.

This environment presents opportunities to help customers.

Law departments need help with non-discretionary activities such as litigation-related discovery and document review, managing compliance obligations, cyber-incident response, and efficient routine contracting. General Counsel and legal ops leaders eager for quick budget wins and flexibility will also readily take advantage of the significant cost savings we make possible through invoice review programs and flexible resourcing. Elevate’s solid and well-established offerings deliver savings in months, not years. We leverage economies of scale, expertise, and technology that our customers cannot achieve.

Law firms must serve hyper-cost-conscious law departments and compete for talent at the same time. Recession-proofing is critical for an economic downturn, but raising rates or cutting headcount risks alienating clients and personnel. Firms will reduce the overhead costs of business services and deliver legal services to clients more cost-effectively and innovatively (what we call ‘law firm alternative legal services’ to distinguish it from the core law firm legal advisory business). Elevate helps numerous firms (including Reed Smith, Hogan Lovells, and Clifford Chance) boost operational efficiency, streamline internal and client-facing workflows, and win business (especially against the growing challenge from the Big Four for routine legal work) by enabling them to offer cost-effective alternative approaches to clients’ emerging legal needs.

Now, more important than ever, customers need help overcoming the biggest obstacle to getting things done better, faster, and cheaper: resistance to change. Scepticism of new ways of working is natural, and it is intensified by the culture of law, with its emphasis on precedent and avoiding risk. Legal leaders with an urgent need for change must skillfully navigate potential people, processes, technology, and data pitfalls to bring their teams along to a better future. Elevate can help: we offer the experience, know-how, and wisdom from hundreds of successful engagements. Our knowledge and skills at the intersection of business and law are indispensable for customers needing to do more with less.

I am confident that Elevate’s comprehensive range of offerings, experience, and expertise positions us well to navigate the uncertain economic conditions that lie ahead.