The latest senior partner to defect to Hive Legal told Lawyers Weekly that time-based billing is an antiquated feature of the large law firm model.
Peter Monk (pictured), the former head of DLA Piper in Melbourne, joined Hive Legal as a principal last week (9 May).
Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Monk said he made the move to free himself, and his clients, from the constraints of traditional law firms, including high overheads and time-based billing.
“The concept of time costing and legal services being delivered by six-minute intervals is a historical rather than contemporary phenomenon.”
The alternative is a value-based billing model that offers fixed fees and cost certainty, he added.
Monk is the latest in a string of senior partner defections from global firms. Tony O’Malley, the former Australian head of King & Wood Mallesons and Tim Blue, a former M&A managing partner, have started the Sydney-based boutique firm LCR Advisory.
Lawyers Weekly broke the story in February that corporate partners Mitzi Gilligan from Minters and Simon Davidson from DLA had ditched their respective firms to start Hive Legal.
Gilligan and Davidson worked at Minters together from 2000 to 2008. Monk was also a partner at Minters at that time, quitting the firm for DLA in 2007.
Monk said he has known the founders of Hive for “a very long time”. The move to join Hive had been in pipeline for some time, but Monk stayed on at DLA to complete a number of transactions and projects.
“I wanted to see my responsibilities through,” he added.
Like a number of other start-ups, Hive offers its clients value pricing and its lawyers a flexible working model.
Monk said he is not tied down by the administration of practice and other non-client facing activities that tend to fill a partner’s day in large law firms.
“It’s refreshing and motivating to get back to basics around client care and legal service delivery,” he said.
“There’s no requirement to be chained to a desk for appearance purposes.”
The Hive model has also attracted interest from ambitious young lawyers keen to carve out a different career path to what traditional firms can offer, said Monk.
Monk has worked in large firms for more than 20 years, joining DLA in 2007 as head of the firm’s corporate practice in the Middle East. Prior to DLA, Monk was a partner at Minters for 11 years.