Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Peter Hegarty said he decided to launch his own firm Hegarty Legal for a number of reasons, however most notably for the opportunities it would bring him both personally and professionally.
“I began my legal career at a medium-sized firm known as Cowley Hearne, which was based in North Sydney. Cowley Hearne subsequently merged with what was then Thomson Playford, and is now Thomson Geer today,” Mr Hegarty explained.
“While I benefited greatly in working at and being a partner at a large national law firm, I wanted to get back to basics and the things I enjoyed most as a solicitor in a smaller firm.
“Being in a smaller firm, I hope to have greater freedom as to how I run my practice and a greater involvement in the running of the firm. I am also invigorated by the challenge of building my own firm from a start-up.”
Mr Hegarty said his new firm specialises in insolvency and restructuring law, as well as general commercial litigation. He noted that while the process of establishing Hegarty Legal was lengthy and “not easy”, his network as well as him not being subject to any restraints at Thomson Geer helped substantially in the launch.
“The process of making the actual decision to establish Hegarty Legal was something which took place over a long period of time and it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but once I came to that decision I was able to put things in place reasonably quickly. I put this down to having a great network of people who were able to assist me and support me,” he said.
“I was not subject to any restraints of trade on leaving my old firm, which made the process of transferring files over to Hegarty Legal a fairly smooth one. My transition has also been a lot easier by reason of my existing team making the move with me.
“So far my marketing efforts have been directed at letting everyone know that I have moved. We haven’t yet had time for much else at this stage.”
For others looking to start their own boutique practice, Mr Hegarty has some sound advice. He noted that while the benefits of doing so are plentiful, there are some challenges to be wary of.
“There are a lot of great firms, both large and small, in the market. Our aim will be to match it with the best by providing high-quality legal services, being accessible to our clients and understanding our clients’ businesses and objectives,” he said.
“[That being said], it is a landlord's market in Sydney at the moment. Finding quality space was a real challenge. Fortunately, we managed to secure some great space on Lime Street, King Street Wharf.
“Dealing with the practicalities of running your own firm such as opening bank accounts, setting up IT systems, obtaining necessary subscriptions and getting the right furniture were all challenges, but none of them were insurmountable.”