find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Gloves off in mid-tier value debate

Gloves off in mid-tier value debate

The mid tier responds to claims that it shouldn't be too confident in the current climate. Hopgood Ganim Lawyers' managing partner, Bruce Humphrys, writes.

The mid tier responds to claims that it shouldn't be too confident in the current climate. Hopgood Ganim Lawyers' managing partner, Bruce Humphrys, writes. 

MUCH has been written in the press about the concept of ‘value’ in law firms. Which ‘tier’ of firms provide better value to legal clients is subjective, but there’s no doubt that mid-tier firms do deliver value for the work that is their core business, whether for small to medium sized enterprises or large ASX listed public corporations and multi-nationals. Although the value that mid-tier firms can provide has been highlighted by the global financial crisis, it isn’t anything new.

As managing partner of one of Queensland’s larger mid-tier legal practices, I believe we deliver exceptional value to our clients. But this value isn’t something that has been created by the global financial crisis.

In his article in The New Lawyer on 23 July, Ted Dwyer states that mid-tier law firms are confident at the moment because clients are demanding the same quality of work for reduced prices, which mid-tiers can provide easier than their top-tier competitors. 

I’m confident also, but not because I think that the top-tier firms are under threat and that their work will soon be winging its way to my firm. I’m confident because I know that the reputation and relationships we have with our existing clients will see us through, regardless of whether we secure work from large corporations looking for better value.


Ted Dwyer is spot on - there is a misperception that top-tier firms are losing out to their mid-tier counterparts. While I'm the first to admit that I enjoy the odd win over a larger firm in the spirit of healthy competition, mid-tier firms who think the global financial crisis is their ticket to advise Australia's 'big end of town' on major deals and projects are kidding themselves. Those of us who've built relationships with these large clients over the years, and who continue to provide a high quality service to them, will continue to get the work we've always gotten and perhaps a little more, but our top-tier counterparts aren't fools. They are large and successful, and will respond to pricing pressures this time around just as they always have during times of economic uncertainty.  

If you haven't built a reputation with the big end of town already, I don't imagine many ASX50 companies will jump ship to your firm for a major transaction just because your charge-out rates are lower than that of a top-tier firm. It will be your reputation, your existing relationships and the size and experience of your team that gets the big deals coming across your desk.


Perhaps what we should be focused on in times like this is strengthening our teams with good people for when that graph bottoms out and the curve starts to kick upwards again. I, for one, am not spending a great deal of time worrying about what my top-tier competitors are up to or how much they’re charging. Instead, I’m working out how I can look after my high performing employees and continue to provide exceptional service and advice to my clients, from the small, emerging private companies all the way through to the large publicly listed clients we represent.

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

Gloves off in mid-tier value debate
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
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'...
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...
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 & ...