Joey Seeber of Level Legal On Why Corporate Culture Matters in Business

An Interview With Vanessa Ogle

Vanessa Ogle
Authority Magazine
12 min readJun 23, 2024


Collaboration. Productive collaboration can only be achieved in a culture where all organizational stakeholders are committed to doing what needs to be done — as well as it can be done — without compromise. At Level Legal, we incorporate this principle as the core value “get it done right.” An entire organization must work as one team to identify, prompt, report, and change course when needed to exceed customer deliverables and expectations.

Every company has a corporate culture. This culture can foster innovation and a fresh exchange of ideas or it can promote selfishness and backbiting which will damage the bottom line of any business. Sensitivity to the culture of a business goes beyond mere awareness; it’s about actively adapting and responding to create the culture that you want to represent your brand. This is crucial for building successful, respectful, and inclusive working environments and for creating products and services that resonate with a diverse customer base. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Joey Seeber.

Joey Seeber is the CEO of Level Legal, as well as an experienced litigator, successful entrepreneur, and, previously, a dedicated elected official. As a practicing lawyer, he discovered the ins and outs of the profession — from tackling litigation-related discovery matters to trying cases before a jury. Joey served three terms as a mayor of Tyler, Texas, and in 2009 founded Level Legal. The Dallas-based company is dedicated to making legal human through forensics, eDiscovery, managed review, and consulting for law firms and corporate legal departments.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion about Why Corporate Culture Matters in Business, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I started as an entrepreneurship major at Baylor University in the ’80s and later graduated from Baylor University Law School. Ready to litigate, I joined a law firm but soon discovered that the practice of law, at least in that setting, was not particularly fulfilling to me. Most of my job consisted of paper discovery, and to me, that equated to a “paper pusher.” There was no such thing as the “e” (for “electronic”) in eDiscovery, given that this was the ’90s. It was all paper. Furthermore, the job lacked creativity, and I wasn’t getting to the courtroom much at all. Even though I understood the importance of discovery in litigation, I soon realized the job wasn’t the right fit for me.

After a brief stint in a family business, despite not being mechanically inclined or even one to change my own oil, I bought a franchise business called Atlas Transmissions. I enjoyed being an entrepreneur, so I still had the itch after selling that company three and a half years later. In 2001, I bought WC Supply Company, a small truck parts distributorship. It had a good manager and employees, fueling my passion for working with teams and trying to make them better. In that same period, I had the opportunity to do that as a city council member in Tyler, Texas, and in three two-year terms as mayor through 2008.

It was about this time that my friend Eric Findlay was considering leaving his law firm to start a new practice. I knew he had an amazing team but wasn’t exactly sure what they did. He asked if I was interested in joining his firm. Given my previous experience that didn’t appeal to me, but I was curious about the team he had working with him and exactly what they were doing. I soon learned what the “e” in eDiscovery meant, having evolved well past the old days of manual paper and processes; everything was faster with the ability to find, collect, and store information electronically. The field was still in its nascent stage then, but the significance of the shift and massive potential was obvious very quickly. I proposed creating a new entity, not within his law firm, but a company outside of the firm with the ability to innovate, grow, and focus on the tremendous opportunity to provide legal services in a brand new way.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

We opened the Level Legal Dallas office in 2010. One of our biggest customers had a huge project they wanted us to take on, but we needed 30 more attorneys in 10 days to do it. We’d exhausted our ability to recruit in the Tyler area, so we knew it would be a massive undertaking and needed to be in a more metropolitan area. Time was of the essence. All of this happened on a Thursday, and we had until Monday — one week later — to make it all happen. Instead of seeing barriers, we focused on the opportunity. I stayed in Dallas, found an office space, and hired a recruiter. Our team drove all over Dallas, sourcing office chairs and desks.

Adding to the challenge, AT&T had previously occupied our new office space, so there was AT&T fiber in the building, which is what we wanted. However, after multiple discussions, including speaking to a top AT&T representative in Atlanta, the best AT&T could do to set everything up was six weeks. Mind you, the fiber was there; it just needed to be hooked up. As an alternative, I looked into Spectrum, but their timeline was two weeks. We were in danger of losing the project. Refusing to quit, I called a friend who happened to be the secretary of state in Texas. I told him I needed the names of the lobbyists for AT&T and Spectrum in hopes they could help. He quickly put me in touch with the right people. As a result, Spectrum went to work. They even closed a street just to run fiber into our space. Long story short, we were ready to go by the Monday deadline.

You are a successful individual. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Persistence. I didn’t always have the greatest of relationships with my dad growing up, but the biggest lesson I took from him was the value of persistence. He was the first in his family to go to college, overcame sarcoidosis, and started and grew a business. While he had many challenges in life, and some of his business decisions weren’t always the best, he never gave up. The value of persistence is something I’ve carried throughout my career and tried to instill in my kids. I’ve taught them it’s essential to have a plan A, B, and C, and to realize that things are never as bad or even as good as they seem, but to never give up.
  2. Communication. Listening, communicating well, respecting, and empathizing with others is critical. Equally important is to have a pleasant demeanor and keep lines of communication open. That said, an area I continue to work on is that my direct reports often conflate my good nature with me not being serious about what I am suggesting or asking them to do. Still, people don’t like to work in negative environments, and it’s imperative to show respect and treat people’s feelings with the highest regard and dignity.
  3. Problem Solving. I think of problem solving as being able to take seemingly disparate bits of information and connecting the puzzle pieces to solve the problem. I’ve had to address obstacles in each of my businesses. As a leader, I’ve always tried to see how all the pieces of a problem fit together and examine the potential outcome. I ask many questions of many different people to try and find creative solutions and answers. I then corral the right team to solve the problem. When it comes to problem solving, understanding oneself and the team is required to gain the proper perspective and envision a way forward.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. How do you define corporate culture in the context of your business, and why is it important for your company’s success?

Corporate culture is the values and behaviors that define and guide a company in all of its interactions, ultimately determining the company’s success as an employer and for its customers. At Level Legal, our four core values are “give a damn, get it done right, show respect, and deliver delight.” This is what we expect of each other and potential partners. People may get weary from hearing them repeated so often, but we must reinforce them in every way and as often as possible. Not only do we repeat them often, but we also reinforce and reward team members who uphold them. Not only is it just the right thing to do, but strong cultures also drive better business outcomes.

Can you share an experience where corporate culture impacted a business decision or client relationship (positive or negative)?

Early in our work with one of our customers, we made a mistake. I knew we’d be judged more on how we responded than on the misstep itself. While the mistake was mostly the fault of the law firm we’d been working with, we also hadn’t raised our hand when we suspected something wasn’t right; we were too passive. We quickly conducted an internal investigation and pinpointed the error. Swiftly acknowledging our role in the situation, we probably accepted more responsibility than needed, a contrast with the law firm that continued to deflect culpability. As a resolution, we offered substantial credit on our customer’s invoice. They thanked us for our rapid response and accepted the credit. They were so appreciative of how we handled the situation that they never actually took the credit, and our business with them tripled in the following year.

I’m proud to say that in this instance we lived up to Level Legal’s values. It would have been very easy to blame someone else for the error. But every problem or challenge is an opportunity, and how we handled that one is a great example of that maxim.

What strategies do you employ to monitor and enhance corporate culture within your team or organization?

This is never ending and permeates everything we do. When we do internal and external retrospectives (aka after-action reviews) for every project, we listen for how our values and distinctives show up — or didn’t. We are listening for expressions and experiences of unreasonable hospitality (shoutout to restauranteur and author Will Guidara).

Furthermore, we articulate our core values that define our company culture and hold each other accountable constantly. We award for expressions of each of our core values by a team member on a quarterly basis. In annual reviews, every team member is evaluated first and foremost on how they lives our values. It would be impossible for one of our team members to miss the emphasis on our mission of “surprising with remarkable delight” and on all of our core values. Our culture is ubiquitous.

How do you handle situations where the executives may not be aware of corporate culture in mid-management?

Candidly, we don’t hire those people. While hiring based solely on job skills is tempting, adding people to our team who don’t share our values only erodes culture. At Level Legal, we interview on values, listening for what matters to potential candidates. We also demonstrate and share our core values during the onboarding process. Nobody comes to work for us who doesn’t know who we are and what we stand for.

Based on your experience and research, can you please share “5 Ways Corporate Culture Boosts a Business’s Bottom Line?” If you can, please share a story or an example for each. See optional footnote below.

1. Team Member Engagement. Having the right company culture, team, and set of core values allows for open communication within an organization. Keeping team members engaged by constantly communicating — reminding and rewarding them for living crucial core values — acts as a catalyst to ensure the job gets done right. When you have engaged team members, they will do a better job for customers. This is why one of Level Legal’s core values is “give a damn.” We care for the well-being of others and customers, without ceasing, and are always striving to improve. The result is happy customers, bills paid, and continuing business.

2. Collaboration. Productive collaboration can only be achieved in a culture where all organizational stakeholders are committed to doing what needs to be done — as well as it can be done — without compromise. At Level Legal, we incorporate this principle as the core value “get it done right.” An entire organization must work as one team to identify, prompt, report, and change course when needed to exceed customer deliverables and expectations.

3. Service Delivery. Doing all that can be done and doing more than is expected in thoughtful ways lets customers know you’re on their side. Today, consumers of legal services demand faster, more human, and innovative interactions with their legal providers. They will take their business elsewhere if they don’t find those attributes. This is why Level Legal’s core value of “delivering delight” is crucial to our culture. It’s not enough to provide a service; we must be extraordinary and surprising.

4. Revenue Growth. Companies with well-defined, positive corporate cultures see a four-times increase in revenue growth compared to companies with weak cultures. Culture and revenue are inextricably linked. While profit is important, as happy customers lead to more business, it’s not the only factor. Respect plays a role. Treating the feelings, wishes, rights, and traditions of others with the highest regard and dignity shows customers that your services are not all about money nor the limiting factor to how you engage with them.

5. All In. It’s important to understand that all of this works together in a virtuous circle — an ecosystem — to boost the bottom line. Borrowing from Danny Meyer in the restaurant hospitality world, we like to think of the virtuous cycle as being one of Enlightened Hospitality. Envision a never-ending circle with the following stakeholders: customers, shareholders, partners, each other (team members), and community. We don’t succeed without recognizing the importance of each stakeholder.

In what ways has focusing on Corporate Culture given your business a competitive edge?

Can you imagine any other company in the legal services world having “deliver delight” as a core value? And it’s not just a core value; it’s also in our mission to “surprise with remarkable delight.” I enjoy seeing the looks on people’s faces when I first tell them that. It’s like, “Wait, what? Aren’t you in legal?” Delight and legal don’t usually go together. People take note when that’s your aspiration and what you deliver.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If individuals could articulate their core values and live them out the way we try to, they’d better understand their purpose in life. If families could do the same and reinforce those values, you never know what it could trigger. The world would definitely be a better place.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Please feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About The Interviewer: Vanessa Ogle is a mom, entrepreneur, inventor, writer, and singer/songwriter. Vanessa’s talent in building world-class leadership teams focused on diversity, a culture of service, and innovation through inclusion allowed her to be one of the most acclaimed Latina CEO’s in the last 30 years. She collaborated with the world’s leading technology and content companies such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Broadcom to bring innovative solutions to travelers and hotels around the world. Vanessa is the lead inventor on 120+ U.S. Patents. Accolades include: FAST 100, Entrepreneur 360 Best Companies, Inc. 500 and then another six times on the Inc. 5000. Vanessa was personally honored with Inc. 100 Female Founder’s Award, Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Enterprising Women of the Year among others. Vanessa now spends her time sharing stories to inspire and give hope through articles, speaking engagements and music. In her spare time she writes and plays music in the Amazon best selling new band HigherHill, teaches surfing clinics, trains dogs, and cheers on her children.

Please connect with Vanessa here on linkedin and subscribe to her newsletter Unplugged as well as follow her on Substack, Instagram, Facebook, and X and of course on her website VanessaOgle.



Vanessa Ogle
Authority Magazine

Vanessa Ogle is an entrepreneur, inventor, writer, and singer/songwriter. She is best known as the founder of Enseo