Former LinkedIn Exec Gamson to Helm Legal Tech Firm Relativity

June 26, 2019, 4:02 PM

E-discovery company Relativity has selected as its next CEO a former executive at the professional social networking giant LinkedIn.

Mike Gamson, until February LinkedIn senior vice president of global solutions, will replace Relativity’s founder and current CEO Andrew Sieja on July 1. Sieja will transition to an executive chairman role, where he will be involved in product development.

Over the course of an 11-year career, Gamson, 45, rose through the ranks at San Francisco-based LinkedIn, where he came to lead 5,000 sales, research, and operations employees worldwide.

Gamson, a member of Relativity’s advisory board since 2017, said in a recent press call that he and Sieja began discussing the possibility that he would take over then, but that he didn’t agree to the idea until last year. Though he said the company won’t be exploring an initial public offering for Relativity—at least in the near term—he has big aspirations to build on Relativity’s efforts to grow its e-discovery offerings to the cloud.

“In the legal tech market, there’s incredible momentum now,” Gamson said.

Mike Gamson

First 100 Days

Since 2001, when Sieja began the Chicago-based company that eventually turned into Relativity, it’s expanded immensely, and now has close to 1,000 employees.

Its e-discovery software and other products are used by all but two of the top AmLaw 200 law firms in the United States, and more than 75 of the Fortune 100 list of the largest U.S. public and privately held companies, according to Relativity.

Gamson, who is not an attorney, has tech experience, but not specifically in legal tech, save his time on Relativity’s advisory board.

But he said that this has not been problematic.

“Andrew and I have not been overly concerned about this,” Gamson said. Because Sieja is staying with the company in a prominent role, he said the pair view Gamson’s ascension “as an ‘and,’ and not as an ‘or.’”

Relativity is touting Gamson’s leadership in “software as a service,” or SaaS, at LinkedIn and elsewhere. The company has noted that Relativity’s SaaS product, RelativityOne, is the fastest growing product in its history.

Gamson said he has three main goals his first 100 days: to visit with some clients and customers, to dig deep into the technical aspects of the business, and to “prioritize and de-prioritize” different threads of Relativity’s business.

Over the longer haul, he said his main goal is to ensure Relativity remains “an enduring company” at the top tier in its market.

Sieja said he plans to contribute in several ways, including by re-focusing on developing the company’s product and tech teams. “I’m so excited to get back into the product,” he said. “Relativity will always be my life’s work.”

In recent years, Relativity has been partnering with other companies that offer legal tech services, including the Big Four accountancy Deloitte. Deloitte is helping Relativity leverage its regulatory compliance monitoring tool called Relativity Trace, and the duo also recently created a Freedom of Information Act workflow management platform.

In the press call, Gamson said that he didn’t see Relativity going public “as a goal, per se,” but that company leaders would leave their options open as it grows.

That said, there are examples of legal tech-focused companies launching IPOs. In February, for example, the alternative legal services provider Axiom took steps to prepare for its IPO, and law company Elevate has indicated it is preparing for a public listing in 2021.

Relativity is a sponsor of Bloomberg Law’s Bloomberg Big Law Business.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at sskolnik@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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