Attaining true flexibility for employees
Lawyers Weekly spoke with Australian Law Awards winner for Commercial Team of the Year, Hive Legal, to uncover how they find balance in giving employees genuine flexibility while servicing significant corporates and government departments.
Hive’s commercial team is led by three female principals, Joanna Green, Adrienne Trumbull and Ella Cannon — they are all under 40 and have eight young children between them.
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Hive supports a “truly flexible” workplace for employees, allowing them to base themselves in places that work for them and their families.
“A number of our team members have worked outside Melbourne,” Hive said in a statement.
“Ella and her family of five took the opportunity to relocate to Shepparton — part of the wave of pandemic-inspired tree-changers looking for a regional lifestyle,” they said.
“I’m fortunate to be part of a firm that supports and enables that kind of decision,” said Ms Cannon.
“We now get the best of both worlds: being able to raise my young family in a great regional community, while still working with my largely metropolitan-based clients and delivering high quality specialised legal services.”
Making work/life integration work for the firm takes real effort and commitment, Hive said, especially since they serve significant clients.
The firm has acted for a number of iconic Australian companies and government departments and agencies, including Tabcorp, Telstra Health, Trajan Scientific and Medical, HotDoc, Ramsay Connect, Movember and Cancer Council Victoria.
“You don’t have to be a BigLaw firm to deliver excellence in legal services to some of Australia’s most iconic corporates, you can deliver a great alternative when you design a firm and a commercial offering with client experience in mind,” said Ms Cannon.
Hive designed its services by working with clients to understand their needs.
“We identified that our clients encountered peaks and troughs in workflows, needed different skillsets at different times, wanted us to have a practical understanding of how their business works with consistency of that knowledge across our team, access to the right level of resources as and when needed, certainty in costs to allow for budget planning and innovative thinkers to assist with improvement,” it said.
“Our team stays competitive by focussing on the needs of our clients and providing responsive commercial law assistance both BAU and advisory.
“Our pricing model involves certainty and no time sheets or time-based billing.”
“Our pricing model is based on value rather than the billable hour, and our commercial and pragmatic approach focuses on client outcomes,” said Ms Green.
“This means that we can focus on delivering value and outcomes to our clients, rather than time.”
“We focus on what matters,” said Ms Trumbull. “There is no reward for taking longer to achieve an outcome.
“We work as a team, meaning there are more opportunities for part time work, for sharing the load amongst team members, and for more of us to develop a deeper relationship with our clients.”
“We have been inspired to think differently about how we work with our clients to ensure they have the level of service they need,” said Hive.
“We are thrilled to win this award for so many reasons,” Hive said about its win of the award.
“We are so pleased to be recognised for the calibre of work we do for our clients, and in particular that this can be achieved alongside recognition as an innovative firm and an employer of choice,” Ms Trumbull said.
Hive said that becoming an award-winning firm is about “listening to your clients about what is actually useful for them to receive from their end, having the courage to price based on value and not time, and thinking differently to come up with better ways to deliver services to clients”.