We Are UnitedLex: Savitha Masson
A Legal Advisory Services leader whose passion for social justice came full circle.
As a young associate at a New York law firm, Savitha Masson developed her chops quickly by successfully defending a financial services company in a high-profile securities fraud case.
The bulk of the work, however, was dominated by late hours surrounded by mountains of paperwork.
“In the early 2000s, the eDiscovery industry didn’t exist,” Masson says. “A lot of what we did was completely manual, including when I led a team through a million-page document review.”
This was not the kind of work Masson expected when she moved to New York from Toronto for law school. She had developed an interest in law while growing up in Toronto, furthered by college coursework in women’s studies.
“I was very driven by social justice issues,” she says. “That’s really what propelled me to become an attorney.” Rather, Masson had the typical New York associate experience where she exceled at complex cases with intense discovery processes.
She then stepped away from the role when she became a mother. Several years later, with two children in tow, she and husband Vik seized an opportunity to live in India as they became part of a UnitedLex team helping to grow operations in the region.
“Our parents came from India to Canada as immigrants; they never expected us to go back and live there. That was a shock,” she says. “We went to India as expats, and it was a very different experience.”
Originally a two-year assignment based in Gurgaon, Vik and Savitha extended their work to three years after thriving in a challenging and rewarding growth environment.
“I love the culture of that office, and the people there,” she says. “We joined at a critical point and were able to make an impact on the workflow and teams, developing them into the way they exist today. I’m proud of the work they continue to do, and the way the office has grown.”
After deciding to return to North America to be closer to their parents, the family settled in Richmond, Virginia as UnitedLex expanded its eDiscovery operations. Masson wanted to be part of the daily running of the business from ground-floor up.
“I was a senior consultant leading the team in India,” she says, “and I came to Richmond and started as a first-pass reviewer.”
Working her way up to a role as director of Legal Advisory Services, Masson leveraged her frontline experience to develop UnitedLex’s legal hold offering. As UnitedLex continues to pursue Digital Transformation for clients, her expertise helped her guide law firms as they become digital.
“My background as a litigator offers greater perspective, because I've seen how some traditional law firms are not willing to transform in the ways clients are requiring,” Masson says. “I have experience on both sides. I know how the work can be done better as we push forward in the era of the digital lawyer.”
“I’m excited about where we’re going,” she adds. “We have the expertise on both the people and technology sides to optimize the transformation of the law department while positively impacting the business as a whole.”
Masson’s role at UnitedLex continues to expand. As a committee member of the Upward! Foundation, formed in response to COVID-19, she is helping steer the charity toward other humanitarian causes. She is also exploring pro bono opportunities within UnitedLex’s Social Justice and Equality Council.
This new work, Masson says, has helped her toward fulfilling her original goal in studying law to pursue social justice.
“UnitedLex is providing the opportunity and the space to address issues I feel passionately about,” Masson says. “It’s come full circle for me.”