Launched in 2015 by Gwen Griggs and Whitney Harper, ADVOS legal is redefining the delivery of legal counsel to high-growth companies.
Like Harper, after working in big and small law firms throughout her career, Griggs realized that applying business principles to the practice of law could overcome many of the obstacles to a deep trusting relationship between lawyers and clients.
“When you look at the law firm model through a business lens, you analyze technology, pricing, metrics, deliverables, KPI’s, culture, all in a very different way,” Griggs said. “That analysis led us to provide high-growth management teams access to powerful strategic counsel on a monthly membership basis, and we discovered that we could amplify their outcomes and impact.”
With these goals in mind, the Founders built the ADVOS legal model on a foundation of efficiency, scalability, and powerful expertise to deliver results.
“We take a holistic look at the business,” she said, “and believe there is enormous power in aligning smart, driven lawyers with the game-changing goals of high-growth clients.” This revolutionary model is centered around working with clients who are up to something bigger, attracting a team of thriving ‘unicorns’ and developing systems and tech that align their goals with the goals of our clients.
Their operating system – [A]OSTM – includes products and workflows for each stage of the law firm business, both internal and external, reflected by their 3 Pillars – Strong Community, Thriving Team and Thrilled Clients. The [A]OS dashboard reports on OKRs for each of the pillars, including metrics like employee and client Net Promoter Scores, on-time delivery, tasks quality-checked and tasks completed.
A People-Driven Strategy
ADVOS legal knows if they have a thriving team, they’ll have thrilled clients.
“When you walk into the ADVOS office, it’s obvious this is not your typical law firm,” she said. “We’ve cancelled forced ‘face time’ and billable hours, in favor of the flexibility to work in a way that allows everyone to deliver their very best work, every time.”
In addition to the ability to work outside of the office, ADVOS provides its team members with a fully stocked kitchen and team outings – created by the team.
“I think about the fact that we are a service business, so if anyone on the team is having a bad day, our clients are going to feel that,” she said. “Whitney and I are very intentional in what we do. We do frequent 1:1 check-ins to facilitate real-time feedback (in both directions), and also survey the team monthly and take action based on the results. It’s important we respond.”
Keeping a Competitive Edge
Although the model Griggs and Harper created already sets them apart from those in their market, they also developed a proprietary system, [A]OS, which allows them to deliver top-notch work product and ensure on-time delivery.
“We are proactively providing our clients with strategic counsel to navigate their most critical decisions and keeping them in control of their spend. Our services are offered on a membership basis, sized by the volume of deliverables the client needs each quarter,” she said. “Every membership includes unlimited On-Call Counsel, Alignment + Momentum Meetings, [A]OS Status Reports, Quarterly Deep Dives, and ADVance Due Diligence.”
This coupling of efficiency and strategy means ADVOS legal is able to deliver on their promise of Thrilled Clients and a Thriving Team.
Overcoming Challenges and Working as Team
Since creating a different model compared to those in their market, Griggs says the biggest challenge is educating their clients on what they do.
“It’s hard to find the words to explain it. A lot of people talk about efficiency, but we built software and a platform that measures our efficiency,” she said. “Until you experience why it matters to you, it’s hard for anyone else to understand it.” Griggs added that the best explanation of the ADVOS difference often comes from current clients, who rave to their colleagues about their experience with ADVOS.
“When we think about our successes, we have an unbelievable team and incredible clients. I’ve never worked on a team of people rowing as hard in the same direction, and we have some of the best companies around as our clients,” she said. “We’re actually part of what’s happening in their business – not just a box that has to get checked.”
Looking toward the future, ADVOS legal has an enormous BHAG – inspiring thousands of professionals to love their work.
What it Means to be an Honoree
As a Florida Companies to Watch Honoree this year, Griggs said it was great validation that what they’re doing is meaningful.
“We launched in the firm in 2015, so we’re really only 4 years in, but I knew there would be a point where we could say were not a startup anymore, where we’ve accomplished important work,” she said. “I think being recognized as an honoree validates that and acknowledges the hard and ground-breaking work that our team has put in. It’s an important milestone.”
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“Find a circle of people who have been where you want to go and will give you honest feedback and advice on how to grow a business along the way,” she said.
Notable Philanthropic Involvement
A Strong Community is the third of the three pillars key to the mission of ADVOS, and ADVOS contributes both time and money to various community organizations.
Members of their team have founded several entrepreneurial support organizations as well as serving on boards like the Association for Corporate Growth of North Florida, Rethreaded, Explorations V Children’s Museum, CFO Leadership Council and ACG’s Capital Connection. They are also active supporters of Feeding Northeast Florida, Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida, The NEA Foundation, Dreams Come True and All in Ministries International – just to name a few – and provide discounted or pro bono legal services or make donations to causes important to each team member.