Ed Sohn, a veteran managed services executive who last year joined EY Law when it acquired Pangea3 from Thomson Reuters, has now joined Factor, the managed services company that spun off last year from legal services company Axiom, where he will serve as its head of solutions.
After starting out as an attorney with King & Spalding in Atlanta, Sohn spent seven years as an executive with Pangea3, the company that pioneered legal managed services and that Thomson Reuters acquired in 2010. Last year, when Thomson Reuters sold Pangea3 to global Big Four professional services firm Ernst & Young, Sohn moved to EY Law, where he led its global innovation and technology initiatives.
Sohn’s hire caps an active year so far for Factor. In January, the company took on its current name, after previously operating as Axiom Managed Services following its 2019 spin-off from Axiom. The company positioned the name change as a relaunch and a step in an ambitious plan to expand its market standing and double in size.
Later in January, it named a new CEO — Varun Mehta, who had formerly helped found the Clutch Group, an e-discovery managed services firm, and served as its executive vice president. More recently, Factor added John Dillon as CFO, who was formerly divisional CFO of global consulting firm Mercer, and Roxann Erxleben as COO, who was formerly with Accenture and Axiom Managed Services.
In announcing Sohn’s hire, the company reiterated this theme of doubling down on plans for ambitious growth.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ed to Factor as we continue to assemble a top leadership team that embodies our culture as we aim to be the industry’s leading New Law company,” CEO Mehta said in a statement announcing the hire. “As large enterprises and legal departments navigate massive new burdens related to the COVID crisis — particularly in contracting — the need for meaningful innovation and advanced technology has never been greater and the stakes have never been higher.”
‘A Class of One’
Yesterday, I spoke to Sohn about the move, who said he was attracted to join Factor because it is a company that has emerged “at exactly the right time in exactly the right space.”
The alternative legal services industry is about to hit second gear and see major growth, Sohn said. “But what it takes to capture some of that momentum is a lot of aggressiveness — to be fast, to be decisive, and to have a team of people who are really aligned.”
Factor has all of that, Sohn believes, but equally important to him is the kind of work being done by Factor, work that he says is summed up in the company’s tagline, “Complex legal work at scale.”
As I’ve written before about Factor, it is somewhat unique among ALSP companies in that it is not focused on handling commoditized legal work, but rather on higher-end transactional work and on negotiating contracts that would otherwise be handled by fairly senior legal counsel.
“Given the nature of the work we do, the installed client base we have, and the engagements we handle, Factor is in a class of one,” Sohn said.
As head of solutions, Sohn will focus on shaping Factor’s current client service offerings and on designing and developing its next generation of offerings.
He describes it as making sure clients understand the best ways to engage the company and architecting the projects around how the company works with clients.
And because Factor is still somewhat new, “I get to kind of invent the company, to lead the offering and imagine and assemble the services and tech stack offerings suitable for the market, and then to grow those capabilities so we can do even more.”
Sohn believes the ALSP market is still somewhat in its infancy and that service innovation has a long way to go. He is excited about the move to Factor, he said, because he believes it will be leading that charge.
“We’re not here to let someone else be the disruptor,” Sohn said. “We really believe that we’re the drivers of that, that we can be a key factor in that innovation.”
Earlier this year, EY Law, the company Sohn is leaving, laid off several of the U.S. lawyers who came with the Pangea3 acquisition.