find the latest legal job
Inhouse Legal Counsel -18 months-4 PAE - Real Estate Investment Company
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· In brand new prestigious CBD offices
View details
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
'Pyramid' firm model shows cracks

'Pyramid' firm model shows cracks

While a pyramid structure is the traditional business foundation for most established law firms, one lawyer believes a ‘square model’ offers a better way of doing business.

According to LegalVision co-founder and general counsel Ursula Hogben, most firms are structured around supporting partners, with all other business functions oriented around these top-level staff.

“A traditional law firm is built on partners earning a lot of money," she said. "It’s literally a pyramid shape where the people at the top earn the money. That works really well for motivating, partnering and retaining those key people, but it doesn’t work so well for other people in the business or for clients in terms of pricing."

According to Ms Hogben, the alternative is a square business model that places core teams on equal footing.

“We've got four quadrants of a square and they are all equally important. It means people just do what they are best at,” she said.

“A perfect business has marketing, sales, product and operations...Traditional law has this concept of ‘the fee earners’ and ‘the non-fee earners’ and there's a clear hierarchy. We wouldn't be where we are if each of our four quadrants wasn't really strong and really respected."

Under this model, different functions are carried out by specialists who have equally important roles.

"For example, marketing is done by our marketing people, who are great. Client intake is done by our client care team - they've all got law degrees but their job is not to be lawyers, their job is to give new clients a great experience. We have a tech team as well, which is focused on innovation and development.

“Then the legal work goes to lawyers. We hire lawyers who just want to focus on legal work and that's what they love – not marketing, not sales, not office politics, just great legal work,” Ms Hogben said.

Together with CEO Lachlan McKnight and CTO Evan Tait-Styles, Ms Hogben founded LegalVision with the intention of shaking-up the traditional law firm model.

“We started the law firm like a business, not a law firm. LegalVision actually has a square model rather than a triangle," she said.

As part of this approach, she believes that a culture of workplace democracy fosters better business.

“I do think this spirit of respect and equality is through the whole firm, which is great,” she said.

LegalVision has also adopted a flexible structure for its staff and clients. While most of the firm’s lawyers work in the head office based in Sydney, a third of legal staff work remotely. Its business lawyers primarily service clients online.

“We have a few different things we do to ensure that everyone has access to the same materials, understands how businesses and processes work and also that they feel connected and part of the team,” Ms Hogben said.

“For me, leading a legal team [requires] a strong focus on legal quality and also that the team is happy."

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

'Pyramid' firm model shows cracks
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Animal law moots, advocacy, Melbourne University, Australia and New Zealand Intervarsity Moot on Animal Law
Sep 25 2017
Moot unleashes animal advocacy
Melbourne has played host to one of the largest animal law moots, with student participants put th...
Scales
Sep 25 2017
Transgender teens should not need legal approval for hormone treatment, court hears
A transgender 17-year-old known as Kelvin has appealed in the Family Court against the requirement o...
Appointed, Victorian Legal Services Commissioner
Sep 25 2017
NFP CEO appointed Victorian Legal Services Commissioner
The CEO of a Victorian not-for profit pro bono legal services provider has been named as the state...
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 & ...