In businesses like ours, specialization matters. Competency matters.

But the details are what really matter.

So, when outside money comes in from private equity and elsewhere, there are often things that look great on paper (see “spreadsheet”) but that don’t play out so well in reality.

Consolidation can make sense. That is until customers begin to notice major slips in service. Sometimes it gets so bad that they resist.

Then big ones push back. And hard.

This dynamic was predictable, and now it’s coming true. If you become so focused on size and top-line growth that you treat your customers poorly, they will find alternatives. The essence of a free market.

For all the breathless talk about so much money flowing into the legal space (it’s now news if a day goes by without an announcement of an acquisition or new PE money), much of it is ill-conceived.

It’s beginning to be rejected by the people who pay the bills. They don’t want another new logo when it means poor service.

While headlines scream of the hundreds of millions pouring into the legal space pushing disruption and consolidation, at Level Legal we’ve been a bit contrarian. We’re focused on one word: hospitality.

Not in the traditional “hospitality industry” sense, though we can learn from them. Imagine being treated by a legal provider the way you are at a Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton.

By “hospitality” I mean doubling down on treating our customers in the way they would like to be treated. Delighting them. Surprising them. Raising the level of service beyond anything they’ve experienced before in our space.

Is it a high bar? To be sure. But we love a challenge. And even more, we delight when our customers are delighted.

Sometimes the old ideas are the best ideas: do right by your customers, and they will do right by you.

Bigger is not always better.