'Exciting challenges ahead': Why LegalZoom's team is poised for what's next
A growing company never settles, and to get to the point where LegalZoom is today — a company with two U.S. locations, an office in London and more than 1,000 employees and counting — they’ve had to make a few changes for the better.
Team leaders have spent the last year building new processes and guidelines to help scale their projects and unify their teams, and those efforts have helped fuel the legal tech company's growth. We spoke with three team leaders about how they’re fostering cross-collaboration within their teams and positioning their team to grow from within.
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.
STAY FIT: Employees have access to an on-site gym equipped with free weights, machines and treadmills.
Annouchka Yameogo-Stanzler, VP of Creative Design
Annouchka oversees the overall creative direction at LegalZoom. Whether they’re working on a SEM lander or a lifecycle email, she works with her team to make sure all assets align with LegalZoom’s brand. She always tells her team, “I want you aiming for my job.”
BEYOND WORK: Every vacation is a new adventure for Annouchka. From eating good thieboudienne in Dakar to swimming in Tulum, each trip teaches her something new about people and life that she carries with her into her work.
How does your team collaborate with one another and with others across the business?
We have creative directors, art directors, visual designers and writers on our team. They’re all talented and passionate, so it makes for very interesting, passionate creative meetings and discussion. They embrace the design system and sometimes challenge it, which is healthy. That passion is what makes great design possible.
We meet every other week for a show-and-tell, where we bring in snacks and share our work in an open forum. Everyone can practice defending their designs or get direct feedback on their work. Outside of work, we love going to sporting events, comedy shows or museums together — and birthday lunches are mandatory.
How does your experience leading creative design and UX at LegalZoom compare to previous experiences?
When I started at LegalZoom about four years ago, the team was composed of four designers and one writer. I was moving away from a more hands-on design role and taking on a leadership position where I was focused on running the team, improving processes and hiring the right people to build on our creative direction. Everything we do is customer-facing, so we have the great responsibility of making sure everything is clear, concise, engaging and on brand.
What is the biggest or most exciting challenge your team has taken on together?
We’ve been establishing a design system for LegalZoom that enables us to deliver scalable designs to the diverse community we serve. Because we’re becoming a global company and our team touches so many aspects of design, we had to establish a consistent design system that allows for us to work faster and onboard new designers quicker.
This has meant thinking more in terms of systems. We talk a lot about guides: style guides, messaging guidelines, illustration style guides, photography guidelines, email style guides, design systems for social media and so on. All of this was done in collaboration with our UX and tech teams.
It’s a pivotal time for creative at LegalZoom with many exciting challenges ahead of us.”
What inspires you most about your role at LegalZoom?
The fact that the design team has a seat at the table with the executives is very inspiring. It’s a pivotal time for creative at LegalZoom with many exciting challenges ahead of us.
Dorian Quispe, Vice President of Marketing
Dorian leads LegalZoom’s advertising, content marketing, product marketing and website optimization teams. His goal is to increase awareness around LegalZoom and help the company acquire new customers.
BEYOND WORK: Dorian makes time to give back, volunteering for a variety of organizations, including the Tournament of Roses. Every experience brings with it an inspirational story and helps him understand people from all walks of life.
What are your responsibilities, and what do you most love about your job?
I oversee the acquisition channels, including TV, radio and digital. I also oversee product marketing, content marketing and website optimization. My teams drive traffic and new customer acquisition efforts, and the best part of my role is the diversity of marketing areas. I studied marketing and enjoy exploring the different disciplines.
How have you evolved as a leader a LegalZoom?
For a long time, I wasn’t interested in a management role and was happy to be an individual contributor. However, I had a boss who encouraged me to pursue those roles if I wanted to get ahead. From there, I jumped a little into leadership roles. I was very green and made tons of mistakes. With each year, I came across a new set of situations and tried to problem solve as best I could. Each one was a learning experience that has helped make me the leader I am today.
I don’t believe in micromanaging — I believe in hiring smart people and letting them go after it. However, I’m here to help my team unblock or problem solve if they are stuck. I try to understand where each person is coming from and what motivates them. From there, I try to help them succeed here at LegalZoom and beyond. I understand I won’t be able to keep my team here forever. We will lose great employees to other opportunities, and my job as the leader is to prepare them for those opportunities.
I don’t believe in micromanaging — I believe in hiring smart people and letting them go after it.”
What’s the toughest challenge you’ve overcome during your time at LegalZoom?
I started as a team of one, but today I’m responsible for 20-plus team members and two cross-functional units. The toughest challenge is topping yourself each year and meeting the next level of growth.
You’ve been with the company since 2011. How has LegalZoom evolved in your time with the company?
The company has gone through a number of changes during my time. Today, I feel like we’re on version 3.0 of the company from when I joined. Employee size, market share, user experience and business model have all evolved. Even though I can look back on all we have achieved, there is still so much more we’re capable of doing. That never-ending potential excites me.
Amy Haupl, VP of UX
Amy ensures that the LegalZoom’s product and services meets the end users’ needs, whether they are customers, partners or employees.
BEYOND WORK: Amy ran an interior design business before joining LegalZoom, so she spends her time putting those skills to use on her home. Her latest project involved landscaping around her home.
You’ve been with LegalZoom since 2014. How has the company evolved in that time?
We’ve grown significantly in terms of employees — we value inclusivity and sharing ideas and perspectives. We’ve also grown in our capabilities: UX didn’t exist at LegalZoom in early 2014. We’ve also added product marketing, retention marketing and additional expertise in engineering and technology, like mobile application development. In the last few years, we’ve become less siloed and more cross-functional.
What makes your experience working at LegalZoom unique compared to prior experiences?
I had my own consulting business for many years prior to coming to LegalZoom to build out the UX practice. Having people to bounce ideas off of gives you the opportunity to get immediate feedback. I also get to see how other people approach and solve a problem — I learn something new every day.
Over and over, we hear that one of the best things about the company is the people.”
How would you describe the culture at LegalZoom?
In addition to external research, we do surveys and interviews with our employees on a regular basis to keep our finger on the pulse of the employee experience. Over and over, we hear that one of the best things about the company is the people. Overwhelmingly, folks like their teammates, and that is so important in fostering a culture.