find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
‘Be ruthless’ in carving out a niche

‘Be ruthless’ in carving out a niche

John.Kain

Attracting complex deals as a specialist firm requires discipline in choosing which work you do and don’t pursue, according to the managing partner of Kain C+C Lawyers.

Adelaide-based Kain C+C was the lead adviser on deals worth more than $0.50 billion in the first nine months of 2015 – a large volume of deals for a 30-staff firm.

Managing director John Kain told Lawyers Weekly the firm’s success was the result of careful strategic planning.  

“Three or four years ago we started doing quite a lot of work around the changes we saw materialising in the legal industry and identified one of the challenges that we might face,” he said.

One of these challenges was increasing commoditisation in the legal industry and the lower margins for bread and butter legal work.

“Consequently, part of our plan to deal with what we expected to be a challenge on that front was to have a far greater focus on complex transactions, disputes and advice,” Mr Kain continued.

The firm spent “a lot of time and effort” on internal and external training and upskilling, but also focused on recruiting lawyers that could do this kind of work.

“That was one part of the strategy – getting the team right,” he said. “The other part of it was actually having a more consistent methodology across the business.”

The firm focused on creating certainty for clients in terms of budget, time frames and outcomes, he said.

To deliver this, the firm invested heavily in developing and implementing legal project management software.

“It is the combined effect of all of those things coming to bear over the past 12 months [that have produced the large numbers of deals],” explained Mr Kain.

Mr Kain advised other small firms looking to compete in the M&A sector to pick a niche and stick to it.

“Be ruthless in making sure that you are selecting, keeping and training the right people for that niche,” he advised.

Mr Kain said it was inevitable that some work would be out of reach of his firm.

“Our sweet spots are mid-market,” he said. “Being a single office business it makes it very difficult for us to, for example, win national panel work.”

“You can't be everything to everyone, and you don't need to be,” he concluded.

Most recently Kain C + C advised SeaLink on its $125m acquisition of Queensland’s Transit Systems Marine. 

Other deals included Blue Sky Private Equity’s purchase of 10 suburban Adelaide hotels from Independent Pub Group, Blue Lake Milling’s sale to CBH for an undisclosed sum and Accolade’s purchase of Grant Burge Wines for $46 million.

Like this story? Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive Lawyers Weekly every day straight to your inbox.

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

‘Be ruthless’ in carving out a niche
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...