Professional development starts on day one at LegalZoom. Every new hire attends their first class at LegalZoom University, where the seeds of their career with the company are planted.
From there, employees have access to internal internships, leadership courses and professional development opportunities. It’s all part of the legal tech company’s efforts to cultivate an environment of lifelong learning, where employees can grow with LegalZoom rather than out of it.
We spoke with Senior Director of Corporate Learning Michelle López about the company’s dedication to education and how they find their future leaders from within.
EMPLOYEES: 1,135 (596 in Austin)
WHAT THEY DO: LegalZoom provides a platform where people can seek professional advice for all their legal needs.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Corporate headquarters in Glendale, California, with operational headquarters in Austin and an office in London.
LEADERS OF TOMORROW: LegalZoom cultivates new leaders from within its ranks through a Boot Camp 4 Future Leaders program. Employees can apply to join the program and gain the tools to take on new responsibilities and advance in their careers.
MORE ON LEGALZOOM: How two LegalZoom leaders empower their teams to focus on customers first. Learn More.
Michelle C. López, Senior Director of Corporate Learning
Michelle leads LegalZoom University. Her goal is to help employees become learners, collaborators and leaders throughout their time with the company.
BEYOND WORK: The force is strong with Michelle — if you couldn't tell, she’s an avid Star Wars fan and self-professed movie buff. Don’t be surprised if she drops a movie quote in the middle of a conversation.
How would you describe LegalZoom’s culture?
Our people and purpose make us special. Our purpose is to democratize law. That means making the law accessible to everyone, regardless of their station in life, the amount of money in their bank account or their education.
Our Zoomers are also amazing. You may encounter a senior manager who is a lead singer in a band or a patent illustrator who is also an actor. You may meet an account executive who is a serial entrepreneur or a sales specialist who is an entrepreneur who donates half of her proceeds to nonprofit organizations. And we foster a thriving environment through Zoomer-led committees, like service, gratitude, and social and fun.
A transformational leader has to be a lifelong learner, and I consider myself a transformational leader in training — therefore, I live to learn.”
How have you grown since joining LegalZoom?
I’m a big believer in lifelong learning. A transformational leader has to be a lifelong learner, and I consider myself a transformational leader in training — therefore, I live to learn. Where I’ve grown the most since joining LegalZoom is in my leadership. I’ve discovered my strengths and found that I’m good at navigating all aspects of the business without ignoring one of the most important key ingredients: the people. I have more patience, more empathy and an increased desire to know others, learn from others and share my experiences that others may also learn and grow.
What role do career growth and continued development look like at LegalZoom?
It takes time to cultivate a true understanding of our business. LegalZoom believes in growing and promoting from within. I’m a product of that mindset, as are so many others. I’ve been at LegalZoom for 12 years and am in my sixth role. The last two roles I’ve held did not previously exist but developed out of a need. This type of growth and investment in an employee is the norm, not the exception.
We help spark a proactive mindset, identifying their purpose and core values and seeing how that aligns with LegalZoom.”
How is it incorporated throughout each employee’s lifecycle at the company?
From day one, new employees spend three hours with LegalZoom University, where we introduce them to key partners for growth and development. We help spark a proactive mindset, identifying their purpose and core values and seeing how that aligns with LegalZoom. Zoomers also have access to internal internship opportunities and internal team development for continued growth.
How valuable are those education resources for a company?
Our senior leaders recognize the importance of providing opportunities for growth and continuing education. They understand that by providing these resources, not only do we increase engagement and grow Zoomers, but we also help them to become more effective and nimble, which will have an impact on the bottom line.
What role do those courses play in helping LegalZoom find future leaders?
It plays a tremendous role in helping us identify and grow future leaders. We’re recruiting the fourth class of our Boot Camp 4 Future Leaders program. We have successfully graduated 36 cadets in the past three years and have 22 applicants in the pipeline applying for this class. We have seen so much success from this program, leading to everything from personal and professional growth to assignment to special projects, internal promotions and external pursuits.
They understand that by providing these resources, not only do we increase engagement and grow Zoomers, but we also help them to become more effective and nimble, which will have an impact on the bottom line.”
Are there any company-wide traditions that mean a lot to you?
One of my favorite LegalZoom traditions is our annual company-wide Thanksgiving potluck. It’s an opportunity for us to all sit down together, express gratitude for each other, and, of course, eat amazing food. It’s a true demonstration of how we see ourselves as a family.
Gratitude is a special ongoing theme throughout the year at LegalZoom. Expressing gratitude is crucial for leadership development and personal growth. We have a gratitude committee that provides several opportunities and events for Zoomers to express their gratitude throughout the year, including regular exchanges of thank-you notes and holiday-focused projects like the gratitude tree at the end of the year. As an organization, our most beloved traditions are the ones that celebrate our unique culture and close-knit sense of community.