With the GFC continuing to drive innovation among some law firms, Jason Wilby explores career alternatives on offer with boutique practices
During the recent boom years, most of the top-tier law firms were working hard to strengthen their employment brands. For most firms, this meant a focus on closing the gender gap followed by an overhaul of remuneration and alternatives to partnership.
Fast forward two years and we are now seeing unprecedented innovation taking place - only now it is among the boutique firms. It is a new breed of boutique firm and multi-discipline practice that is embracing innovation, and ultimately benefiting the most from the current economic climate.
These firms view the GFC as an opportunity to meet with like-minded senior lawyers, who want to develop their high-quality practice in a "community" environment where lawyers are passionate about practising law and not billing hours.
These firms are anything but average. Instead, success is due to the focus on providing lawyers with greater autonomy and less of the politics associated with the larger firms. Consequently, they continue to attract clients and candidates who set out to challenge the traditional firm culture and business model.
It is clear that the flexibility attracts diversity and this benefits individuals, teams, the organisation as a whole and both clients and candidates. These firms recognise that each person brings their own unique capabilities, experiences and characteristics to their work.
Nevertheless, such flexibility does not suit everyone so before considering a role with greater autonomy it is important to assess your own motivations and work style. For some individuals, the greater flexibility and self-determination can be too much of a challenge.
However, for those who are looking for an alternative to the traditional model, the good news is that for successful lawyers the remuneration package is often as innovative as the work environment and it can often exceed the top tier.
Jason Wilby heads up EJ Legal in Australia and Asia.