Promotion 101: Take control of the narrrative.

Employees of a legal business are "raging" after their CEO was praised on LinkedIn for her decision to "pivot" the business while they were all made redundant.

Electra Japonas founded The Law Boutique, which uses technology to review contracts for in-house teams, after spending ten years as a lawyer at EY, British American Tobacco and Disney.

But last week she announced to her 19,800 followers on LinkedIn that after eight years TLB "has decided to pivot and focus on the areas in which we believe we have the biggest impact and add most value to our clients”.

“I’ll be working with clients on a one to one basis on projects that I love and driving oneNDA forward in partnership with AutoNDA and the team over at SimpleDocs”, she explained.

“That means changes to the team as well and specifically, that I will be taking TLB back to basics as I navigate this pivot on a solo basis with a reduced team”, she said, providing a link to her new substack.

Japonas's announcement was met with applause by dozens of fans who called it “A super brave pivot”.

“Kudos to you Electra Japonas - for your grit and determination”, said one. 

“This pivot captures the very essence of purpose-led leadership!” said another: “Your courage to peel TLB back to its transformative core, though difficult, will compound your impact exponentially”.

Employees now losing their jobs were less impressed with how the move had been presented. 

At an all-hands meeting at the start of the year Japonas reassured staff that they had "nothing to worry about” following the departure of two colleagues, a source told RollOnFriday. 

Instead, a week later everyone was given three months’ notice, including two employees on sponsored work visas. “You can imagine the stress [they] now face to try to find another sponsor or face deportation”, a source said. 

“It now seems to the public as though she's keeping on an actual team and just ‘pivoting’ the business”, whereas “We've all lost our jobs and are scrambling to find something new”, said a source who said they believed that TLB remained profitable.

“It’s unbelievable how willing people are to fall for extreme self promotion on LinkedIn", said another source, "except for one brave guy so far in the comments section”.


Their frustration at the praise lavished on their CEO was compounded by their experiences within the business. TLB currently has nine staff but has been through many more in the last three years, said a source, who pointed to the churn as evidence of internal strife. Two sources said employees had been “physically sick” with stress and that “crying and panic attacks were a common feature”.

Japonas told ROF, “TLB is a small, privately owned business focused on legal outsourcing. We tried for many years to develop a sustainable business model. It proved very challenging and after several internal pivots over the last two years, we made the difficult decision to dissolve the core business”.

She added that “To minimise the impact on our employees and clients, we reached out to another legal outsourcing firm that agreed to hire some of our employees (including offering visas where required) and continue supporting our clients”.

Promotion stops for no LinkedIn lawyer, however, and so Japonas is scheduled to appear as a speaker at the next 'Legal Geek Growth' event, a conference "for small-medium sized law firms with a growth mindset" alongside fellow speaker Alice Stephenson, another legal influencer whose business has pivoted.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 16 February 24 08:14

Given the self-promoting pap that fills those conferences, Electra and Alice talking about how to spin shrinking as growing will fit in perfectly. 

Marshall Hall 16 February 24 08:17

Why do gormless folks post such simpering comments on LinkedIn?

For any self-respecting lawyer, it should become a regulatory issue.

Anonymous 16 February 24 08:23

Can any budding lawtechpreneurs get the enter key working in the comments again?

This sentence should be on a new line.

Ghost of Adam Neumann 16 February 24 08:55

looks like time is up for all these social media reality tv stars. does anyone fall for the hype that these glastonbury woke wank startup events try to whip up with their untested charlatan speakers? am dreading the next few years of 'ai intrapranuers' polluting linkedin screens and the stages of happy clappy conferences 

Anonymous 16 February 24 09:35

@Marshall Hall - how on earth did you get your comment to have two paragraphs in it? 

I just pressed 'Enter' to get a second line of text, but this sentence remains mashed up into the first paragraph I began to type. Like some unshifting pangea of text on which all forms of thought are doomed to wander together until the tectonic shift of RoF investing in some comment software that wasn't written by an Iron Age blacksmith.

Mrs Based Bantz 16 February 24 09:55

Typical LinkedIn bollocks. That place is an echo chamber where the more incompetent you are the more people clamber over each other to praise you. Just look at the number of people who lined up to sniff Alice Stephenson's (no doubt heavily tattooed) farts after she mismanaged her law firm into the ground at the first expense of the UK taxpayer. 

Electra defender 16 February 24 10:01

I'm going to raise a voice in support of Electra here (and for context, I was very down on Alice Stephenson - as both stories are being conflated somewhat). I know Electra. I don't have any intel about what it was like to work at TLB. I did observe some churn. If as described above, that does sound really bad and I'd be spitting if I was one of those employees. But I think readers worth knowing this - I've met many TLB clients over the years and the only opinions I ever heard expressed were really positive. Feeling was that TLB was offering something very different in the market. Moreover Electra's OneNDA initiative was and is very powerful. It's a shame that TLB didn't work and if the facts are as ROF describes then for sure Electra could have handled it better and is deservedly being criticised then. But Electra tried, created something of value for clients in TLB, created something enduring in OneNDA, and now she'll try the next thing. I think that's important context everyone worth knowing. The comparisons with AS are superficial and boil down to both being female entrepreneurs in legal who speak at conferences. Electra in fact did what AS failed to do - publicly acknowledge that her business wasn't working and shut it down. 

Anonymous 16 February 24 10:20

Looks like comments that should be on Glassdoor rather than getting a dedicated article. Which firm hasn’t had people stressed?

Why? 16 February 24 10:34

I am always confused as to why people think there is such great potential in these automated / outsourcing legal models.

Sure some people will by a product that produces a template NDA for £20, but if you need a thousand of those just to pay your insurance premium, the idea that this is the route to riches is pretty flawed.

Anonymous 16 February 24 10:50

"if you need a thousand of those just to pay your insurance premium, the idea that this is the route to riches is pretty flawed" - but the 'LawTech' model is to sidestep the whole need for PII and professional regulation altogether. They don't pay that overhead in the way that the firms they are 'disrupting' are obliged to do. You make sure to call yourself a software service not a law firm, use automation and increasingly AI to crank out exactly the kind of documents/drafts/research that a junior lawyer would usually do, and then flip that product back to the client for £20 with a "This isn't legal advice though! Do yore resurch!" disclaimer. It is then the client's problem if they fail to identify bad drafting / research / ideas in the work product. The client gets cheaper and faster work, but loses the individualised thinking/knowledge/expertise that the matter partner should add (including the ability to tell the client that the whole process is flawed and they should be doing something else altogether), and the accountability that a legal services provider is obliged to offer. Hence the £20 a month model being profitable. F### me that would be more readable if I could use paragraphs here though.

WhyWhyNot 16 February 24 11:08

In response to comment by @why?. You miss the fact that the main revenue stream for these business models is measured in the new age currency of likes, reposts and conference lanyards. 

PR 16 February 24 11:30

Electra Defender is a good friend of Electra’s. You imply you will hold her accountable.

Prediction 16 February 24 11:33

I think Electra will head up the Legal Tech department of a law firm one day. Pivot like Eve Cornwall.

Hater 16 February 24 11:51

I'm a hater. I hate LinkedIn and I hate "new law". Self promoting, delulu bollox. Head down and do your job. No one cares how grateful you are about hosting a panel that your Mum wouldn't care about. 

Electra defender 16 February 24 11:54

@PR - not sure whether what I've written is enough to say "good friend" but I stand by those words. As for accountability, she and the people who worked for her will be able to judge how accurate and fair the story is. I think it's a fair story for ROF to run.  I just also think the wider context is important for others to have, if they read this far. A lot of the narrative of the comments has been to lump a whole lot of different people and businesses together. In particular I think the comparison with Alice Stephenson is unfair both in terms of (a) TLB actually being a genuinely more novel business proposition than Stephenson Law which was "just" a law firm albeit one that we now know had the innovative characteristic of losing a lot of money and (b) social media - Electra's social presence as far as I can see has been all about the substance of her business and problems her clients are facing and not tattoos and faux indignation. Oh and (c) no suggestion of any financial impropriety which is the MAJOR difference. "Founder shut business and fires staff while putting best spin on it" is the story in Electra's case which sure is a valid and newsorthy story, it's just not the same and there are many things on the other side of the ledger.

Calling it out 16 February 24 12:28

Electra in fact did what AS failed to do - publicly acknowledge that her business wasn't working and shut it down - except she didn't, she spun a story about a "pivot" and gave herself hero role. I'm sure the clients also fell for the marketing puffery as well - it's  not like the services were ground breaking.

Marshall Hall 16 February 24 12:41

What lawyer could even think of wasting their time attending a 'legal growth' conference addressed by these two business numpties?

The only reason for attending would be for laughs.

Anon 16 February 24 13:42

@Electra defender I think you’re missing the point mate. The “context” about how great Electra was to her clients is irrelevant. She intentionally hid the fact that all employees were made redundant to keep up appearances to those clients

Electra defender 16 February 24 15:48

@Anon 13:42 ok I take the point to an extent but did she really intentionally hide this as you say? She wrote in that post that she would be working "...on a solo basis with a reduced team". That seems (and seemed then) a fairly clear statement to me. I acknowledge that there's a lot in the article that reflects Electra on in a poor light but some of the comments including yours seem stretching what she actually did and said. 

Anonymous 16 February 24 16:10

Could be fun to to go the conference and give AS and EJ a bit of a grilling in the question section.

Anonymous 16 February 24 16:23

We are a growing firm (We are looking to replace old staff with new ones).

SecularJurist 16 February 24 16:53

Appalling way to treat people. Like a Victorian mill-owner. She should pivot.

Hey, Nonny Mouse! 16 February 24 17:08

From now on, I will add "pivot" to every definition of "Insolvency Event" in the agreements I review. 

And,  @Anonymous 16 February 24 09:35 if you can't say it in one pithy sentence and you need multiple paragraphs, it ain't worth saying...

... just so that you know. 

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