find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Mills Oakley guns for rival partners and clients

Mills Oakley guns for rival partners and clients

MILLS OAKLEY has used the opening of its office in Brisbane to fire a warning shot at both top- and mid-tier firms. According to chief executive officer John Nerurker, his firm is gunning for…

MILLS OAKLEY has used the opening of its office in Brisbane to fire a warning shot at both top- and mid-tier firms. According to chief executive officer John Nerurker, his firm is gunning for lucrative clients and the market standing of the best of the mid-tier players.

Describing Mills Oakley as a “premium mid-tier firm”, Nerurker believes it is “not quite at the top of the mid tier at the moment, but rapidly climbing the pile”.

“That’s the position that we’re vying for, and certainly that’s the position and ambition and vision shared by our new partners and lawyers who have joined us of recent years,” he said.

The CEO picked out Gadens and Middletons as two major rivals in the mid tier. He is also aiming at the big national firms, hoping to relieve them of their partners and clients through competitive fees and efficient back-office practices.

“Most of our lawyers now have experience at either a top-tier firm, or a large national firm,” he said, citing last year’s acquisition of partner Gino Potenza from Gadens. “I think we have a unique value proposition for our clients in that we provide big firm expertise, but at a medium firm pricing.”

Nerurker said the pressure to undercut higher prices is coming from increasingly business-savvy clients who want value for money from their legal service providers. In fact, clients are even “pressuring their partners, saying ‘Well we want to use you, despite the fact that you are at Corrs, for example, but don’t want to pay the $700 an hour’”.

“Those same clients now know that they can move a block or two down the road and come to Mills Oakley where they’ll get equal, if not better, legal expertise, at a more affordable hourly rate,” he said.

And not only are the clients coming, he said, but the lawyers as well.

“Partners are approaching us and saying, ‘I’m under a lot of pressure at my existing firm to charge $600 plus an hour. I know that my clients will follow me, but can I come to Mills Oakley, and charge my clients $50 an hour less?’

“And because we pride ourselves on being well-managed and well-run financially, more often than not we can pay those partners the same if not more than they are currently earning, and those partners in turn can offer their clients a saving in their hourly rates. And everybody wins.”

The move to Brisbane comes a year after opening an office in Sydney, which Nerurker said was so successful it saw the firm upgrade from the “dingy end of Clarence Street” to “the core of the CBD in Margaret Street, which is more than three times larger”.

But despite the aggressive growth strategy, Nerurker said he had no interest in merging with other firms, preferring instead to “fish with a hook, not a net”.

“If you do a big merger … you pick up the deadwood, the baggage and the under performers,” he said. “What we’ve been very careful to do is to select high-performing partners with practices that offer synergies with our client base and our skill sets, and we target those partners.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Mills Oakley guns for rival partners and clients
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Consultation
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
IBA
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Oct 23 2017
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...