Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saying Goodbye to A Good Group of People - CLS

A Chapter Closes - Goodbye to CLS!

I am going to be serious for a moment.....

Earlier this week I announced my departure from Capital Legal Solutions. I worked at Capital Legal Solutions from 2003-2006 and again from 2008-2009. There are so many wonderful memories of my years at Capital Legal that I thought I would share a few here to honor a great group of people and a company that I will always hold close to my heart.

I originally joined Capital Legal Solutions as a "roll of the dice" decision in 2003. I had worked my entire career at that point at Balmar, Inc. (over 11 years) and was suffering from serious burnout and needed a game changer in my life. I met Dharmesh Shingala, a humble small business owner at the time, who had a vision of creating one of the few electronic discovery organizations in the Washington, D.C. area at that point. When I joined on board, the company was comprised of only about 10 people with one office based just outside of Washington, D.C. During those first few months we would get a few projects at a time and I remember when big projects were considered (for a short period) to be 20-30GB of data. Within about eight months the company had grown to about twenty five people and by the summer of 2005 we were near fifty people and were opening up operations in India to compliment our D.C. offices and support business overseas.

The people and the company were riding high and the "roll of the dice" decision to join CLS had paid off with great rewards. Everyone worked day, night and weekends to meet our clients needs. As each month went by the revenue of the company grew and so did the infrastructure. As a result of a few tropical storms that hit the area during that period we installed a back-up generator and had a crane lift this mega-monster of a piece of equipment six stories to the roof of the building one weekend. Whenever a bad storm hits---the power remains on at CLS. I had the opportunity to work with people of varying cultures and with some of the best educational backgrounds. We developed a marketing strategy together and we collaborated as a team on best practices to meet our clients needs. With no traditional sales force we were all doing quite well. Sure...we had challenging days as any rapidly growing company would but we always recovered quickly.

Every year for a number of years we were involved in the annual Lawyers Have a Heart - 10K Race in Washington, D.C. One year I decided to lace up the old track shoes and run in the event based on several members of our youthful staff encouraging me on and my belief that I was still the track star that I was 15 or so years before. Not! I started off strong for the first 1/2 mile and soon felt the aches and pain of my 34 or so years. I remember telling my wife the night before to give me a kiss because I might be kicking the bucket after this run. Well, I did not die but I did finish third to last....overall! A girl who broke her leg just a few months before the race even smoked me.

In 2006 the company continued its growth (over 60 people) and the company president had larger plans. We would celebrate our many victories with pizza parties, Indian food, and client parties thanking them for their business. When the i-Pod Nano first came out we gave our clients a Nano as a gift during the holiday season. The toughest decision for me came when I decided in the summer of 2006 to step aside from CLS to take on a management position at a national litigation support company. Dharmesh and I had a professional business relationship but we also developed a friendship that was based on a mutual trust and admiration. It was a tough call but the right call at that time in my life.

During the 1 1/2 years that I was with this other company I would speak with the staff at CLS from time to time. Dharmesh and I would get together for a drink and talk politics (we both had differing political views) and I made sure that each new year he received the George W. Bush quotable gaffe's calendar. When my company decided to close redundant operations between Washington, D.C. and Tyson's Corner it was Dharmesh who called me out of the blue on my last day (one of the toughest days of my career) to just check in. We had a good talk as friends do and it was his kind words that helped me get through the rest of the afternoon.

During this transition period I had some needed time off and interviewed with numerous companies and had several job offers. When the call came that there was an opening at CLS I jumped at the opportunity to return. I accepted a position and was proud of where Capital Legal had gone during the time I was away. There was a strong Project Management Team, I saw individuals who had personally grown during the time I was away to become stronger leaders in the company and there were many new faces who added great value to an already wonderful group. Having another opportunity to work at the company was great and to see the company continue to expand operations on a global scale during a down economy said quite a bit.

But sometimes it is just time to move on when a great opportunity is presented to you and this is the case today. My family has been blessed by the opportunities and the doors that CLS has opened for us. I have become a better person for having worked with the great people (past and present) of Capital Legal Solutions. Through our triumphs and through the challenges I was humbled and honored to work with such a team of professionals.

As for the man who saw something in a 33 year old "kid" back in the fall of 2003.... I thank you. Thank you for what has been a incredible ride. I thank you for "rolling the dice" on me and for being a believer.

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