Q&A: Meet Aileen Leventon, Class of 2015
Aileen Leventon brings her background as a practicing lawyer, Big Four partner, and entrepreneur to law practice management. As founder of QLex Consulting, her work enables law firms to achieve improved economic results and higher levels of client satisfaction by assuring that legal services are provided with a clear focus on the client’s business goals. Although seemingly self-evident, this stance is often absent from law practice when matters are approached as academic exercises. With her practical perspective as a touchstone, she has fostered the adoption of new paradigms for managing both legal resources and individual matters.
Aileen bridges the gap between lawyers and their clients by helping them clarify and quantify their goals and by fostering thought and communication about context, risk, and objectives. Her unique blend of hands-on coaching, training, and consulting have advanced the adoption and integration of project management, metrics and measurement, profitability analysis, implementation of value-based fee structures, and law department optimization strategies.
QLex Consulting Inc.
Kinderhook, New York
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. For those who know New York, it was a part of Brooklyn that was not then, and probably never will be, hip.
What’s your favorite thing to do away from work?
Growing my own food and tending my garden. Life in the garden is my salve as an introvert and my antidote to sitting in front of the computer and talking on the phone.
What achievement outside of work makes you most proud?
The ability to thrive in a completely unfamiliar environment, something I had resisted most of my life. I relocated to a historical agricultural area 120 miles north of NYC 10 years ago. As a confirmed Manhattan city-dweller for my entire life, I never thought I could function without the relentless external energy and stimulation.
Did you choose your career or did it choose you?
I hung out my own shingle 10 years ago, temporarily, while I looked for a “job.” After 10 consecutive successful years, it appears that customized consulting and advisory work to the legal industry, grounded in over 15 years of practicing law, has chosen me. Now I choose to be an entrepreneur and change agent, regardless of the setting.
Who was your mentor and what made him or her so influential?
I started my career as a practicing lawyer in a big New York law firm nearly 40 years ago. One of the partners, Klaus Eppler, was a mentor and a nurturer of many lawyers. He also was the rare leader who sponsored and mentored women before it became a “best practice.”
What is the most vivid moment or experience in your career?
A law firm chief operating officer burst into tears when I asked her for a reference recently; she told me that comments I had made years ago had given her the courage to strive to reach the achievements she had attained, and that she was personally indebted to me. Although I remembered the comments, I did not realize their impact. It reinforced my belief in tending my garden; life is about planting seeds.
Of the law-related projects or initiatives you’ve worked on in the past year or so, what has you the most excited or shows the most promise?
I have been the project manager of the ABA Task Force on Legal Project Management in M&A Transactions since 2012. We published a Guidebook through the ABA in 2016. It reflects the work of approximately 30 active task force members, who produced over 15 practical tools and templates and explanatory notes. In addition to our well-received output, I am excited that we got the work done in record time. We practiced what we were preaching: using project management practices!
What is the most engaging law-related thing you’re doing right now?
Co-Chairing the subcommittee on metrics, data analytics and e-billing in the ABA Legal Project Management Committee of the Law Practice Management Section. We are using the group to promote sharing of ideas from myriad legal industry initiatives, rather than starting yet another project. Each participant is a stakeholder or active participant in at least one other industry initiative so we are able to communicate ideas and progress more effectively. The goal is to make ourselves irrelevant because, over time, the constituencies in our group will find a single home to address issues of common interest.
Get to know the rest of the Fellows by visiting the Recent Inductees page and by browsing the Fellows Directory.