FindLaw celebrated its 20th birthday in January 2016. Over the past two decades, FindLaw has gone through so many changes, it's hard to imagine the company's humble beginnings as a Silicon Valley startup. A number of current employees, however, don't need to imagine -- they were there.
In this new Insider series, we're highlighting FindLaw employees who have been with the company the longest. Today we have the pleasure of featuring Andy Zangrilli, FindLaw's Business Lead, Cases and Codes in Sunnyvale, California.
When did you join FindLaw?
I joined FindLaw in December 2001. I was attracted to the company because it offered the ability to combine my legal training with the web skills I had acquired working for a content syndication startup. It seemed like a good fit.
What's your current role with the company? What roles have you held in the past?
My current title is Business Lead, Cases and Codes, and I manage FindLaw's primary legal materials: caselaw and codes. Some past job titles include Team Lead, Legal Professional Content, which included editorial management of our Legal Professionals Practice Centers -- FindLaw's Legal Technology, Law Practice Management, and Corporate Counsel Centers.
When I first started at FindLaw, my title was Senior Producer, and I produced articles and email newsletters. I led our transition from ListServ, a text-only email distribution system, to Lyris, which enabled us to send HTML email newsletters for the first time. Over the years, I've worked closely with Engineering on migration projects for our various content management systems, such as FileMaker Pro, Rhythmyx, Hippo, AdobeCQ5.
Throughout my time at FindLaw, I have written and edited Case Summaries. We've produced 81,000 case summaries since I started.
Where did you go to school and where did you work before FindLaw?
I attended Emory University as an undergraduate, and majored in English with a minor in Philosophy. Then I went to University of San Francisco School of Law where I was editor in chief of The Forum, a student-run newspaper. I'm currently enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Science program at San Jose State University.
After law school, I worked at a law firm briefly before transitioning to a position at iSyndicate.com. There, I worked as a web producer where I learned HTML and other dotcom lessons. Eventually, I became their in-house counsel and handled contract drafting and negotiation, intellectual property management, labor and employment matters, alternative dispute resolution, debt collection, and due diligence for joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and bankruptcy filings.
How has the company changed over time? How has it stayed the same?
Obviously, FindLaw has grown in size over the years. When I started, our office in Mountain View was about 24 people. Now we're around 50 in the Sunnyvale office. FindLaw's products, services, and traffic have also grown exponentially. As a result, we've become a lot more structured and process-oriented.
How have we stayed the same? Well, we continue to attract and retain good people. Here in Sunnyvale, we've had a steady group of managers for quite a few years, including Steve Noel, Eric Reinhard, Pankaj Verma, Gavin McGovern. and Stephanie Rahlfs. So we've had a vision and a way of doing things that has lasted over a decade.
One funny memory from your first few years here.
We had a previous office location in Los Altos where a lot of weird things happened. I don't want to say it was haunted, but there was some strange energy in that building. Once, there was a flood in our server room. Somehow, water gushed in from the ceiling and drenched our server racks. The fire alarm went off all the time, too, and we would have to evacuate the building and stand outside. Good times.
What's your favorite thing about working at FindLaw?
My favorite thing is the impact we have on lawyers and the public. We increase access to the law by removing economic barriers, putting it in the hands of practitioners, and deciphering the law for the public. Working at FindLaw is a way of being a lawyer and helping people, but doing so on a scale that you could never achieve as a traditional legal practitioner.
What's your favorite thing to do outside of the office?
Group activities: I like to hike, bike, and skateboard with my kids, to the beach or woods. Solo activities: I like to make things. For example: