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Tackling the uncertain legal job market like an entrepreneur

A Victorian man has combined the skills honed in law school with his business know-how as a consultant to launch a document proofreading service.

Jordan Lees splits his time between Bendigo and Melbourne. Trained as a physiotherapist, he offers his consulting services on aspects of occupational health & safety (OHS) to businesses and councils.

Before branching into consultancy work and part-time legal studies, Mr Lees operated his own physio clinic in Bendigo. Today the 28-year-old PLT student, who is completing the final stretch of his studies at the Leo Cussen Centre for Law, has his heart set on eventually practising as a solicitor.

In the meantime, however, he has kick-started a remote document proofing service – Eagle Eye Proofreading.

“My skills as a consultant were transferable in the sense that I was not afraid to put myself out there,” Mr Lees said.

“Finding work for the OHS consultancy work was a matter of word of mouth. I already had a few contacts in the health industry and once I put the word out that I was going into it, I started to get a few inquiries,” he said.

Mr Lees established the proofreading service last year, while still at university. Eagle Eye caters to a number of different audiences and offers proofing for a range of documents, however it has mostly attracted the attention of university students wanting a second pair of eyes on their essays.

The business markets its point of difference as being staffed only by proof-readers who are lawyers and law graduates.

According to Mr Lees, the attraction of his model is that clients have the benefit of careful comprehension and perfect syntax – hallmarks of a lawyer's particular command of the English language.

“At the time, I knew that there wasn’t a proofreading business run by lawyers. In that sense, I was just trying to think of ways that I can do things a little differently,” Mr Lees said.

“In my penultimate year I literally just put up a flyer at uni and got a few inquiries from students. Then I just started doing it for other students based around Melbourne. But not on a large scale, I was obviously still studying and working as an occupational health consultant in my capacity as a physio – so just doing a little bit more here and there,” he said.

Eagle Eye’s pricing model sees each document looked at by three proofreaders, with the fee split three ways, as a quality assurance measure. To date the business has only catered to Victorian clients but Mr Lees said he is keen to see its coverage expand.

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