EQ, wagyu, and parallel universes: Inside Perth’s largest family law firm, Leach Legal

January 17th, 2017 by
family law Perth

Catherine Leach is Managing Director of Perth’s largest family law firm, Leach Legal, and an alumnus of the College’s Master of Applied Law (Family Law). Insights spoke to Catherine about her approach to family law, how she keeps her personal life apart from the emotional demands of her work, and all she has learned along the way – from Sharia Law to wagyu beef farming to the cycle of grief, separation and attachment.

How to manage clients over the holiday break

November 22nd, 2016 by

With the countdown to Christmas well underway, many lawyers are starting to contemplate a much-needed break. However, multiple pressures can conspire to keep the legal profession working through holiday periods.

Getting the price right: how to charge for legal services

October 18th, 2016 by
legal billing

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.

4 New Financial Year Resolutions Every Law Firm Should Make

August 23rd, 2016 by
Superannuation changes

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.

Moving On Up: What firms look for when recruiting leaders

August 16th, 2016 by
legal practice management

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.

Practising with purpose and passion: Lawyers Weekly finalist Chrissy Leontios

August 9th, 2016 by
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.

Startup Lessons from View Legal, a ‘Two-Bit Bris Vegas Law Firm’

July 26th, 2016 by
View Legal

Matthew Burgess is no stranger to failure – or success. At 29, he made partner at McCullough Robertson. Over his 17 year career with the firm, he proceeded to have 50+ proposals – such as using Xero (online accounting software), offshoring and automation – turned down by management. Along the way, Burgess became Managing Director of eLawyer, a venture that linked deep legal knowledge, advice and services regarding wills and estates with financial advisers.

By 2014, Burgess co-founded View Legal, with the radical aim of reducing legal costs by 50% initially, and 90% eventually.

Pushing through to the world beyond disruptive technology, automation and outsourcing is Burgess’s career specialty. Insights recently attended Matthew Burgess’s View Legal Roadshow, hosted by the College of Law and sponsored by LexisNexis; here are the highlights.

How to manage people and clients – tackling 3 common problems

July 5th, 2016 by
legal practice management

People may often be the greatest asset – or the biggest problem – when it comes to leading or working in any organisation. Finding and keeping the right people, negotiating miscommunication and misunderstandings, and managing client expectations are challenges common to law firm partners and HR managers.

Specialist Director and Management Consultant, Mary Hockaday Consulting; Lecturer and Course Facilitator, Legal Practice Management Course, College of Law and Director of Education, Learning & Development for the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) Mary Hockaday has over twenty years’ experience advising law firms. Insights spoke to Hockaday about how to tackle three problems common to law firms when managing people and clients, and how to solve them.

How to uphold your legal ethics in an increasingly commercialised profession

June 28th, 2016 by
legal ethics

The tension, and in some cases, conflict, between a lawyer’s duty to the Court and duty to the Client, would be familiar to any graduate of a legal ethics class. The pressures of practice, particularly in an increasingly commercialised, competitive environment, accentuate the issues first raised by ethics class hypoethicals. Defending barristers and solicitors against civil claims and disciplinary proceedings is Nola Pearce’s specialty. As Special Counsel with Carter Newell, she is keenly aware of the ethical dilemmas faced by Australian lawyers. As well as being Chair of the Queensland Law Society’s Ethics Committee, Pearce regularly lectures in Professional Ethics for the College of Law’s Legal Practice Management Course.

Insights spoke to Pearce for her advice on managing common ethical issues faced by lawyers, what she saw as emerging ethical issues, and how to ‘switch off’ in an age of constant connectivity, enabled by technology and exacerbated by competition and client demands.

How to Effectively Market Your Law Firm

April 12th, 2016 by
Market your law firm

Marketing a law firm, regardless of whether you’re a partner or a junior lawyer, is crucial to ensuring a steady flow of clients, consolidating specific areas of expertise and the prosperity of the firm overall. However, marketing is not emphasised in most aspects of a law degree; indeed, the only time it tends to be mentioned is in legal ethics, when lawyers are told how they are not to advertise or market their firms lest they risk bringing the profession into disrepute.

Insights spoke to Trish Carroll, founder of GALT Advisory, on common issues missed when firms seek to market their services, and how to market law firms more effectively. Carroll founded GALT Advisory after a decade of leading the marketing and business function at Minter Ellison. GALT specialises in helping firms develop business and marketing strategies, including business strategy sessions for senior executives and Boards.