Another entrant to the NewLaw space has said the future doesn’t lie in technology, but rather in focusing on traditional client relationships and re-building trust.
Meda Royall, principal solicitor of Your Law Firm's central office, said: “Unlike other NewLaw models, we don’t believe that the answer is in the internet and commoditisation of legal services. We believe the answer is mainly in the relationships we build.”
Your Law Firm has recently launched in Melbourne, based on a franchisee model where lawyers can set up a practice with the support of Your Law Firm’s services.
“Traditionally lawyers were trusted advisors, like doctors, but with the rise of the billable hour and the work pressures and the fight for equity in traditional law firms, lawyers somehow lost perspective, and with that unfortunately we lost the full trust of our clients too,” Ms Royall (pictured) said.
While Ms Royall recognises that to be successful in the NewLaw age lawyers must make full use of technology and seek lower costs to keep fees down, she said they also need to focus on improving their relationships with clients.
“We must return to the traditional approach towards clients, by meeting them face-to-face where it suits them, going out of our way to provide the best possible expertise and facilitate the best outcome,” she said.
Ms Royall feels that the franchisee model allows lawyers to “do what they do best” and build relationships with clients while not having to worry about the business side of things.
“Your Law Firm is really the back bone of the business and the lawyer actually just goes out and looks after clients' needs and provides the legal advice and legal services, without worrying about any of the other administrative tasks and support.”
Franchisees are free to practice from wherever they want, meet clients wherever they want and work as many or as little hours by taking on as many clients as they desire.
You Law Firm guarantees territorial exclusivity, with only one lawyer per practice area allowed to operate in each suburb plus a seven-kilometre radius.
Ms Royall said this model would appeal to lawyers re-entering the profession after pursuing a family, who are looking for flexible working conditions and less pressure.
Another demographic that they are targeting are people approaching the end of their career who still want to practice, but not with the same level of commitment that is required from traditional firms, she said.
Lastly, she said it would appeal to lawyers who have always contemplated setting up a sole practice but haven’t known how to go about it.