Startup Corner: LexStep in focus
How would you describe your company to a friend?
LexStep.com helps BigLaw lawyers explore new career opportunities and connect with the world’s leading legal employers through its online platform. We are the UK’s first and leading online hiring marketplace for solicitors with several thousand lawyers joining the majority of the top 100 UK law firms on the platform in our first year.
LexStep was founded by former Magic Circle lawyers, Alexander Isaacs and Michael Hagai (pictured). We found cold calls from recruitment agents annoying and ineffective. So, we built an exclusive site, where the best lawyers can see all job opportunities relevant to them in one place and connect directly with leading law firms and companies in just a few clicks. LexStep caters for top lawyers in all practice areas at all PQE levels, from trainees exploring their options on qualification to Partners and General Counsel.
We hated the fact that recruitment agents don’t always give you the full picture so, above all, LexStep is transparent. All opportunities can be viewed by employer name with detailed job descriptions. No more wondering who that “leading city firm” or “international powerhouse” might be.
When were you founded?
We launched the first beta version of the platform in Autumn 2015.
Alexander Isaacs and Michael Hagai, former associates at Linklaters and Allen & Overy, respectively.
Who are your key managers/senior execs?
Founders Alex and Michael, and new Head of UK Marketplace Operations, Vinay Varma, a former corporate and capital markets lawyer and ex-legal search consultant.
What is your growth strategy?
Continue building our brand and reputation for providing the best possible user experience for both our lawyer members and employers and expanding the number of users and opportunities available on the platform.
Have you received investment?
We are entirely self-funded or “bootstrapped”. We operate according to classic lean start-up methodology and have grown exclusively out of organically generated revenue to date.
Who are your target clients?
We’re a two-sided marketplace so our clients include (a) top-tier commercial law firms and in-house legal employers on the one side, and (b) top-tier practising lawyers on the other.
Have there been any key changes in direction since you were founded? We maintain confidence in our business model and continue in the overall direction we set out in, which was based on our own experiences as lawyers and feedback from key stakeholders at the outset.
What are the key challenges you face in your market?
The legal recruitment industry has never before seen meaningful change, and it is not easy to change traditional mind-sets overnight.
From the employer side, the myriad of internal legacy interests and bureaucracy that employers have had to put in place to deal with the status quo have been a barrier to innovation with some firms.
From the lawyer side, the fiction that “head-hunters” have successfully disseminated over time to justify their position and value in the recruitment process has unwound more easily.
What are the most exciting developments you’ve seen in your market in the past year to 18 months?
The most exciting development in our market has been LexStep.com! Generation Y and Millennial lawyers are questioning the traditional candle-burning lockstep culture, and it is becoming increasingly common for lawyers to move on from the firm we train at to further our career aspirations. Top-tier lawyers at UK firms are particularly intrigued by the ambition of US firms in the London market and practice area specialists are being drawn by the flourishing expertise- or sector- focused boutique outfits. Senior lawyers in traditional practice are generally more open to considering alternative flexible career paths like the attractive self-directed consultancy model that platforms such as Peerpoint by Allen & Overy offer. Private practice lawyers are also attracted by the chance to get closer to business through career opportunities at in-house employers from early-stage start-ups through to financial institutions, litigation funders and global corporates.
For us at LexStep.com, these developments make our mission all the more significant and rewarding in bringing together the multitude of exciting opportunities from the world’s leading legal employers onto a central online platform.
Tell us something that people don’t already know about the company?
All LexStep members have access to unrivalled support and advice from an impartial all lawyer team, backed by data. With data from more candidates and opportunities than any traditional recruitment agent could possibly work with, LexStep offers insightful market intelligence. LexStep members can draw upon our collective experience as former lawyers at US, Magic Circle and International law firms for assistance with every aspect of the legal recruitment process, including CV drafting tips, advice on approaching the market, bespoke interview preparation and offer negotiation assistance. The combined leverage of our team and the rich data generated by the platform is what gives LexStep members an unfair advantage in successfully landing their ideal career move.