There are many articles about the company culture of technology companies like Google: 462 million results, as of this writing. And there’s no shortage of articles describing (and often bemoaning) the atmosphere in Big Law. But what about legal technology companies: how do they develop and maintain a company culture?
We’ve been working hard on exactly that question, and we’re proud to announce that our efforts helped us win the title of “Best and Brightest Company to Work For®!” You can read more about this recognition here.
And if you’re curious about the values and choices we’ve made to build a strong company, here are a few of them, as described by our founder and CEO, AJ Shankar:
Q: What kind of strategies do you employ to make sure that your team is always happy, healthy, and pushing the envelope?
A: Our team is by far the most important factor in achieving our mission, so we spend a lot of time making sure our work environment is really great. We have a shared vision, clearly-articulated company values, a lot of personal freedom, low meeting overhead, custom work environments (most people now use standing desks), lots of team activities, frequent communication between the development and business teams, transparency about successes and failures, and communal ownership of work product, so that everyone feels responsible for developing a great product and no single person is blamed for a failure.
Q: How does one maintain a well-defined culture?
A: First, codify a set of company values that distill your culture. Ideally, these values are not generic points like “be nice;” instead they are stances, like “value accuracy over speed” (or vice versa!) that actually help employees make decisions. Then, reinforce these values by empowering your employees to distribute awards, totems or something else quirky that matches your culture.
Q: How do you handle time-consuming menial tasks so they are done correctly but don’t derail the team?
A: Some tasks are tricky in that they require expert judgment but are also tedious to complete (for instance, triaging bug reports as they come in or monitoring security alerts). These tasks aren’t always suitable for entry-level employees. Instead, [we] rotate each task to a different person each week. No one gets bogged down with a tough task for too long, and the load is shared.
Q: What is your parental leave policy?
A: Our policy is two months of paid leave for maternity and three weeks of paid leave within the first six months for paternity. I wanted to show our long-term commitment to our employees as they go through major life changes. Employees sometimes struggle to step away at startups with flexible leave policies; our explicit policy ensures they can actually take the time off to bond with their child.
Q: What type of office space does your company call home?
A: We work from a leased office space that’s shared with another startup. The benefit of leasing space is that you get to make it yours: we designed the office and the property owner built it to spec as part of our contract. So, it’s exactly the way we want it and that feeling of personalization makes it inviting to come into every day. Sharing space with another startup is great. We were able to lease a bigger, cooler space because we had more resources pooled together. Even though our startups are in different markets, there are many things in common about growing a startup, and we often learn from each other.