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
Boutique SA firm doubles growth

Boutique SA firm doubles growth

A BOUTIQUE South Australian law firm that started out in 2004 as one lawyer with a laptop working out of the back of an accountant’s office, has recorded average annual revenue growth of almost…

A BOUTIQUE South Australian law firm that started out in 2004 as one lawyer with a laptop working out of the back of an accountant’s office, has recorded average annual revenue growth of almost 100 per cent over the last three years.

Kain Corporate + Commercial Lawyers, which now employs 12 lawyers, specialises in commercial disputes and transactions and advisory work.

The firm uses flat fees for most work it does for clients, and allows employees to purchase shares in the firm for a nominal amount. But whatever its methods, the firm has seen an impressive doubling of its yearly growth figures.

According to Kain, the biggest challenges to developing the firm from scratch were having very limited resources and “only 24 hours in the day”. He said “it’s been a lot of hard work but we’re really seeing the fruits of it now”.

Kain attributes the firm’s rapid growth to some of the more innovative policies the firm has implemented.

In particular, the firm has chosen not to embrace the traditional partnership structure. In Kain’s view it is unrealistic to believe that an experienced and technically excellent lawyer will necessarily be suited to, or desire, being a partner.

“The perfect partner is someone who’s technically brilliant, who’s able to manage a team, who’s able to attract and bring in work and be the rainmaker, and be able to commit to contribute positively to other business development and strategic issues. There aren’t many people who can tick all those boxes.”

Instead, the firm focuses on getting all its lawyers to a base level of technical ability and then giving them the option as to whether they want to pursue a more managerial role “depending on the particular skill set of the individual”.

For example, the firm’s commercial disputes practice group ranges from a lawyer in her first year of practice to a lawyer with 35 years experience. The group’s ‘coordinator’, however, is a lawyer with six years’ experience. As Kain explains, “the two senior lawyers [are] technically brilliant. The sixth-year lawyer is technically very good but he’s also a great manager”.

In addition, rather than charging clients by the hour, Kain estimates that about 85 per cent of the firm’s work is done on a flat fee basis. It’s a policy that has received mixed responses from clients. According to Kain, most clients like it because it gives them greater certainty “and that’s only reasonable. They’ve got to make a commercial decision about it”. He admits however that “we’ve lost a number of jobs because we’ve quoted [the flat fee] and the client has said ‘that’s too much’.”

The firm has also instituted a quasi-corporate structure whereby its employees can purchase shares in the firm for a nominal amount and thereby directly share in the firm’s profits.

In Kain’s opinion, there are increasing opportunities for smaller, boutique firms in South Australia. He believes that the problem in some of the bigger firms which also have offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane is that “the Adelaide operations and their teams and their clients end up suffering from being required to perform financially or otherwise to, say for example, Sydney standards”

In other words, “the eastern focus of some of the Adelaide firms has led them to neglect their own backyard”. As a result, he said, the firm has been able to pick up a number of very good, profitable clients who were formally clients of larger firms.

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

Boutique SA firm doubles growth
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 & ...