The legal talent platform Axiom not long ago was a “mini-conglomerate,” said David Pierce, its chief commercial officer.
In addition to matching legal departments with attorneys in its broad network, the company operated a contracts intelligence platform.
It also oversaw a business that offered managed, process-heavy legal solutions and operated delivery centers with hundreds of legal professionals in several locations domestically and internationally.
But in 2019, Axiom decided to divest all but its core business of connecting companies with attorneys who are said to provide law firm-caliber work at significantly reduced cost.
Pierce said the divestments enabled the talent platform to bolster its service to clients and secure an influx of new business.
“When we focused and doubled down on talent, we started channeling all the investments in that direction and we started to see results,” he told Legal Dive.
Pierce said technology is an area where Axiom has invested “tens of millions of dollars” in recent years.
The spending paved the way for the creation of Axiom’s Access Legal Talent platform, which is aimed at making it easier for companies to quickly find attorneys who can meet a wide array of legal needs.
The platform launched in February and Pierce said it provides the type of self-service companies were seeking when trying to retain Axiom lawyers.
It also offers cost-conscious legal departments a cheaper way of engaging talent than interacting with Axiom talent matching experts or relationship partners.
“It gives them the ability to skip the human conversation and move right into searching, sorting and engaging with talent directly through digital means,” Pierce said.
Axiom has also invested funds in improving the digital functionality for its attorneys who advertise their services on the platform. The upgrades give attorneys more control of how they digitally curate and manage their Axiom careers, according to Pierce.
These investments have come as Axiom has expanded its network of attorneys in recent years to more than 6,900 lawyers and has seen a record number of lawyers actively engaged by clients.
“Instead of chasing trends, trying to open up new offshore locations to handle contract extraction, building new kinds of consultancy muscles, we are doubling down on the technology we use to attract, retain and match great talent,” Pierce said.
Several months after its 2019 divestitures, Axiom announced it had received a significant investment from a company backed by Permira, a global investment firm.
The Permira funds’ investment prompted Axiom to drop plans for a potential initial public offering and was expected to support the platform “as it pursues growth opportunities.”
Figures provided by Axiom indicate it has performed well in the years since. For example, its revenue grew by nearly 10% in 2020 and at a rate of approximately 30% in 2021.
Pierce said the strong performance has continued this year. The company signed up roughly 100 new company buyers of its services this July, a figure that includes new buyers at current clients, which is a big part of Axiom’s expansion strategy.
“Axiom has significantly grown its business facilitated by our digital platform,” Pierce said.
Axiom, which launched more than 20 years ago, counts more than half of the Fortune 100 companies as clients.
The platform also serves what it calls mid-market innovators and is hoping to gain traction with more small-to-midsize companies, including through the launch of a subsidiary law firm in Arizona.
Pierce said smaller businesses “need a lot of [legal] help and they don't have the kind of leverage with a law firm that a Fortune 100 company can wield. Axiom is a really good solution for them.”
He also said Axiom has plenty of room for further growth among larger companies.
Pierce emphasized that one key to attracting new enterprise clients is proving to them that Axiom lawyers can provide law firm-level work.
A 2020 survey of Axiom’s clients indicated that 79% of them rated the platform’s lawyers at a “caliber and effectiveness as equivalent to or better than lawyers from a law firm.”
Additionally, Pierce said, Axiom is working to make sure companies don’t have an outdated impression in which they think Axiom attorneys are only able to help with bread-and-butter commercial work or fill gaps when in-house lawyers go on parental leave.
“There are still companies out there whose Axiom impression is sort of frozen in time, maybe 15 years stale,” Pierce said. “Those are the best conversations we get to have these days, because the minute a GC finds out that we can do law firm-level work in areas like labor and employment, real estate, IP, and so on, at costs that are 30% to 50% lower than what they’re paying, with zero dent in caliber, zero added risk, and way more in-house acumen — they totally get it.”