Legal Tech Career: The Carlos Gámez Journey
March 30, 2021
In our March newsletter, Frontline Managed Services’ new Chief Revenue Officer Carlos Gámez shared his thoughts on his new role, how his career in legal technology innovation has evolved and led him to this point and his other passions. To give you more information on the newest member of the Frontline Managed Services leadership team, we are excited to share the full Q&A conversation with Carlos below.
Carlos is a longtime legal technology innovation leader, and in his new role, he brings a client-centric approach to overseeing the sales organization, marketing and partner channels to execute company strategy in line with evolving client needs. This includes initiatives to elevate service delivery and the customer experience as partners with law firm and professional services IT, financial and administrative leaders.
With nearly a decade at Thomson Reuters, including as Senior Director of Innovation and Legal Platform, Carlos brings extensive experience driving strategic growth across global markets, as well as experience on the buy-side of IT and financial management solutions with previous in-house and law firm roles as a practicing intellectual property attorney.
Q: After 10 years with Thomson Reuters, what about Frontline Managed Services made you want to pursue this new opportunity?
A: First and foremost, because I deeply believe in Frontline Managed Services’ mission. I wanted to be its vector in the market, and help my friends and the company’s customers in the legal industry prove that investing in innovating operational functions of their law firm can not only deliver immediate quantifiable impact to their bottom line, but also improve the value and the experience they offer their clients on the front-end of the legal services.
I’ve been thinking about and working on innovation initiatives in the legal space for many years and had never thought about operational (as opposed to legal) managed services this way. When I met CEO Seelin Naidoo and listened to his energy and vision around the topics of discrete but interconnected operational managed services, I knew this was my move.
In evaluating the company, I quickly understood that the proposition is not outsourcing work but rather connecting different services across a law firm’s business and technology operations to transform the law firm’s service delivery model. For instance, applying best practice process, specialized talent and enabling technologies to improve billing can lead to better realization; more rigorous KYC/client-intake processes can impact collections; updated information security standards can reduce the number of service desk tickets; and so on. I also realized, perhaps counter-intuitively, that improvements on operational fronts of a law firm, such as in billing and collections, can even change client behaviors and improve the relationship of a lawyers with their clients.
I was invited to join Frontline Managed Services to help drive the company’s growth journey. We are growing by all measures. The value proposition of our offerings to customers is compelling and easy to understand. We have the resources, people, technologies and partners to enhance almost every operation of a law firm that is not directly tied to the performance of legal work. The company is continually investing to improve and innovate on our technology and grow the business to better serve firms at every front with the latest, state of the art technology platform. I am empowered to lead a talented group of individuals to help identify and harness synergies across different services to extend the law firm’s operational capabilities in ways that no other managed service or law firm can do alone. The opportunity is tremendously exciting.
Q: What about your new role with Frontline Managed Services excites you most?
A: Frontline Managed Services has a deep roster of clients in the legal industry, proven discrete service offerings, invaluable know-how and human capital; and it is well-capitalized and growing. All of this makes it encouraging to join now. The company, like many managed services providers, has grown through a mix of acquisitions and by adding new services. What makes it exciting is that there is room to harness all of this, provide focus and target our team and resources towards opportunities where we’ll deliver most value to existing customers, while putting us in the best position to be an attractive partner to law firms we don’t currently serve.
We can do this by framing the value propositions we already deliver in a true client-centric point of view. We bring to bear the resources mentioned above, and we have also recently invested in new enabling technological capabilities, commercial and technology partnerships, and new skills available across the company’s growing footprint. I’m most excited about working together with our customers to co-design hybrid service delivery models, optimizing for value creation, by extending (rather than outsourcing) law firm capabilities. My focus is to develop strong bonds of trust with our customers, by first delivering on our current commitments, so we can jointly develop and deploy these more transformative (and impactful) operating models. I’m excited to meet (hopefuly soon in person) as many of our customers as I can and get started on this journey.
Q: What inspired you to make the leap from practicing attorney to the legal tech career path?
A: I talked a little bit more about my career path with blogger Colin Levy here, but let’s just say that I like new challenges and finding connections between what I’ve done before and new / adjacent opportunities. The common thread between practicing intellectual property law, working on developing legal technologies and managing different business functions is the application of proven methods, experimentation and team-building to frame and solve challenges for someone who values a solution. I care about people delivering legal services and people using legal services. There is a whole ecosystem of professionals working on transforming the delivery model for legal services, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of it for over 20 years. I don’t really see my career path as a a leap across businesses but rather approaching the problem of trying to deliver value to providers of legal services from different angles. Managed services is definitely one approach with the clearest value proposition and also one where trust and partnership between service provider and customer is essential since we are sharing outcome accountability.
Q: You have a bachelor’s in law degree from Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), a master’s in law degree from Stanford Law School and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. What’s next on your educational journey?
A: I’m definitely done with school, and have been for over a decade; but I’m always learning. Over time, and through my different roles, I’ve learned new methods of thinking (e.g., design thinking), framing (e.g., strategy), execution (e.g., agile), and acquired functional and domain expertise (e.g., law, finance, management, sales, marketing, etc.). Right now, I am very focused on learning about relationships between different KPIs in law firm operations and how they are systemically connected. I am also avidly learning about revenue predictability, sales incentives, and managing high performing teams.
The reality is that I am also in a place where most of my learning comes from doing and seeking counsel from people who have tried things before. Fortunately, Frontline Managed Services has very accomplished experts in what they do, from analyzing billing data to find improvement opportunities, to managing people and private equity investors. I am learning about the managed services business from my colleagues and maintain my relationships with the legal innovation ecosystem, where people are eager to share their expertise and knowledge. There is no better education than the “street” of taking challenges hands-on, or as stated in the MIT motto mens et manus (mind and hand).
Q: Aside from a passion for legal innovation, what can you tell us about other interests?
A: If you follow me on Twitter (@chgamez), you’ll notice that I talk a lot about legal innovation. You’ll also see me engaged in discussion about baseball, parenting, startups, business management, education, Latin America, Mexico, literature, music, movies, food, travel and all the things that make humans human. I am passionate about making human connections and engaging on topics that mean something to someone. I try to empathize and understand what people care about, and when I can, spend time trying to make things better.