As the first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in Mission Australia’s 155-year history, it goes without saying that Catherine Yeomans is both rare and remarkable. For Yeomans, however, it is the latest in a lifetime of achievements which have set her apart as an iconoclast.
Finding the right price to charge for legal services is notoriously challenging. Uncertainty in terms of time required, opposition strategy, indeterminable court dates and the unpredictable vagaries of conflicting law combine to make accurate rates all but impossible to offer. Conversely, clients are increasingly seeking cost-competitive access to justice, particularly with the law more than ever available freely and easily online.
The Internet has magnified a long-standing tension between lawyers and clients over billing; clients, now able to access fixed-fee lawyers via online bidding services, are perhaps more suspicious than ever of their legal bills. On the other hand, such services risk devaluing the difficulty of law, which is a disservice to lawyers, clients and courts.
In this swiftly evolving environment, Insights examines a few approaches to pricing legal services amidst digital disruption, global competition, and increasingly self-educated clients.
The revised superannuation reforms have recently been announced. Nathan Yii, Principal Lawyer & SMSF Advisor of Nathan Yii Lawyers, spoke to Insights regarding the reforms. He is also delivering an intensive superannuation course for the College of Law in November 2016 and March 2017.
“The proposed changes will affect all Australians – some individuals will be worse off but others will be better off. Some might not even be bothered,” said Yii. “High net worth individuals who have higher balances in superannuation are likely to feel the pinch more as the changes either restrict them making contributions to superannuation or reduce the tax-breaks which were available in previous years.”
With Pauline Hanson calling for the abolition of the Family Court in her (second) maiden speech, the role of family law and the courts in adjudicating our relationships is, for better or worse, being re-examined. While the One Nation senator’s views have been widely derided, most recently by the likes of Rosie Batty, it is worth considering how family law deals with deeply personal conflicts. Insights spoke with ClearPath founder Maria Sullivan OAM, who assumes a far more advisory, personalised approach to family law.
Electronic Conveyancing is closer to becoming mandatory in several Australian states, following the recent announcement by the NSW Government to accelerate the transition to electronic conveyancing. This would involve progressively phasing out paper certificates of title in NSW, with an overall plan to phase out paper-based conveyances by 2019. Steps are being taken in consultation with legal practitioners, conveyancers, financial institutions, and other entities involved in conveyancing to achieve an industry-wide shift to e-Conveyancing.
In the fight against dust disease, the law can be a potent tool. While it can’t heal the symptoms of illnesses like asbestosis, mesothelioma or Coal Miners Black Lung, it can impose consequences on the conditions that can lead to dust disease. By doing so, legal action can both compensate the current victims of dust disease and spare the fate of future victims.
Such is the role of lawyers like Nicola Maher, a dust disease litigation lawyer at law firm Turner Freeman. Having been admitted in 2015, Maher quickly joined the effort to represent asbestos victims.
Pushing past the acronyms and buzzwords that often dominate digital marketing – SEO, SEM, UX, LinkedIn optimisation and landing pages – to find useful insights can be a challenge. The digital equivalent of drinks and a handshake is fraught with a very different set of difficulties – pesky push notifications from mystery connections on Linkedin rather than loose lips and conflicting politics over too many drinks. However, the concern for both in-person and online marketing remains the same: will this initiative convert into a new client, new job, or new opportunity?
In August 2016, the LAWASIA Conference celebrated its 50th Jubilee in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In attendance was the College of Law’s senior lecturer Marco Piazza and Dr John McGill, Director of Practitioner Education. Insights spoke to Piazza regarding his presentation, which reflected on the use of social media in teaching, as well as the conference itself.
Brianna McDougall of the Instagram blog @Lawyersfashion is a family lawyer by day, fashion blogger by night. With over 18,000 Instagram followers, McDougall is nothing short of a legal style icon to rival the likes of Alicia Florrick. Insights spoke to McDougall on what lawyers should keep in mind when dressing for court, an admission ceremony, an interview, or general office wear.
Rarely do lawyers enter the profession to fret over optimal financial management of their firms.
Keeping pace with the moveable feast that is law is demanding enough, particularly in the face of offshoring, automation and digital disruption – the latter is set to impact the profession significantly within the next 3-5 years. However, with the last financial year already behind us, and all the annual chaos tax season brings, it seems prudent to consider a few new (financial) year resolutions to ensure the coming year is a bit more painless than the last.
Insights spoke to Spectrum Wealth Partners, a tax advisory and financial planning firm specialising in professional services and SMEs, for their top 4 tips to finish the next financial year in top form.
How do you distinguish yourself as a promising potential partner? What traits do firms look for when recruiting their future leaders?
Insights spoke to Specialist Director and Management Consultant, Mary Hockaday to find out what law firms are looking for and how lawyers can skill up as leaders. Hockaday has over 20 years’ experience advising law firms, is Director of Education, Learning & Development for the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) and a College of Law Lecturer and Course Facilitator for the College’s Legal Practice Management Course.
Chrissy Leontios has had a busy year. After completing The College’s Legal Practice Management Course in November 2015, Leontios founded her own firm, CLEON Legal and Mediation Services in April 2016. She also picked up two Lawyers Weekly finalist nominations – Regional Suburban Lawyer of the Year, and Regional Suburban Law Firm of the Year.
Driven by a desire to improve access to justice, CLEON Legal provides online and face to face legal and mediation services to rural and remote areas of Australia, and often during weekend and the evening. It’s all part of Leontios’s mission to challenge stereotypes about lawyers and law firms.