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“we built a business which is a place where people want to come and work....that has to look and feel very differently from old law firms - to create an environment where you can bring your whole self to have to lean in proactively on diversity"

Takeaways from Ed Andrew talking with John Croft.

John Croft is the co-founder and President of global law company Elevate. He has twenty five years’ experience managing client relationships in the legal and financial sectors, helping clients capture value from the way they buy and deliver services. Prior to co-founding Elevate, John served as President at Integreon, where he led new business development efforts and managed existing clients on a global basis. During this time he grew the company’s revenue from $12 million in 2005 to $150 million in 2011. Previously, he was CEO of the financial and legal outsourcing division of ADP Inc. 

He talks to Ed Andrew about his purpose to drive more efficiency in legal services, how to build and shape a modern diverse workforce whose career aspirations are constantly shifting, the impact of the gig economy, how technology enhances our capability to decipher large volumes of data, but we will always need human intelligence to analyse and solve complex problems. He also shares his personal insight as an entrepreneur and what he learns from his wife Doulla, a diversity ambassador for facebook and instagram, and his three children two are already successful founders of organic food companies, Nom Bars and White Rabbit Pizzas, and how education today is completely out of step with preparing children for the modern workforce.       

  • after a successful exit of Integreon with revenue of $150m what drives him to do it again and why (2.00)


  • on purpose “to bring efficiency to the legal market - what drives us has been can we do this more efficiently, that is what gets me out of bed in the morning not about where do we make more money” (4.40)


  • trying to educate an industry which is very traditional, meeting a wall of resistance and meeting those who share a sense of purpose  - sharing sense of purpose (7)


  • discussing CLOC, innovation and educating a market (9) 


  • in early 2000's he was setting up an LPO in India and was told by dissenters that it was "immoral unethical and possibly illegal John" - now everyone is doing it (12.40)


  • discussing the change over the past 2-3 yrs and emergence of law companies, there will be probably 5 - we don’t want to take out law firms (15) 


  • on change and his sense of purpose, spotting those clients who really want to change and the ever present tyre kickers, is it really innovation or just a conversation around it - “highest growth part of our business is from law departments not law firms - Hogan Lovells and ASB Law are progressive law firms (19)


  • on the role of a GC historically - now we talk about running legal as a business” (23)


  • changing the law firm model - alternative business structures, and law firm listings (26)


  • the future of work, graduates and careers, Elevated Lawyers in freelance/gig economy - “our children are better citizens of the world” (28)


  • his entrepreneurial children and organic food businesses - another example of purpose Nom Bars his daughter, oldest son Nick, gluten intolerance and now has the White Rabbit pizza (32.30)


  • build a business which is a place where people want to come and work and they has to look and feel very differently from old law firm - bring environment can bring your whole self to work,  have to lean in proactively on diversity (36)  


  • on being a law company - helpful to have a hook and they want to know what you do, ie flex lawyer company, law tech companies - building Accenture for Law (41)


  • discussing technology and how far is it going ‘there is lots of work that humans can do that machines are doing but always be the need for the intelligent lawyer to look at the data (46)


  • his wife Doulla ambassador for Facebook and Instagram on diversity (50)


  • discussing the challenges of society and education, his 16 yo son is an actor, John does not care what his results are, don’t really look at exam results look at other skills, education system does not equip human beings for the world they are going to be working in - ‘a stream of creativity’ you need people bring bravery and creativity to your business (55)


  • bringing your whole self to work - having a diverse group in management, you don't need everyone who thinks the same thing, a workforce wants to work with people who look and feel like them (58)


  • on hiring their first female independent board director and the role of their advisory board - they are hand picked to challenge us and pick holes in us (62)


  • on books, Richard Branson - Losing My Virginity, he delivers a fabulous customer service, putting customer first (64)


  • his message - all 3 of my children have found something that inspires them and makes them want to bounce out of bed in the morning, they have found their purpose - I have built my career on energy and optimism, I am not that clever" (68)

Suggested reading



To contact John (or his kids organic food businesses in the UK) please click on the links below

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