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
New firm cuts time pressures

New firm cuts time pressures

A 30-year veteran of a Melbourne-based boutique firm has established a new firm to escape time recording pressures.Geoff Rees, a former partner at Brian Ward and Partners (BWP), has joined…

A 30-year veteran of a Melbourne-based boutique firm has established a new firm to escape time recording pressures.

Geoff Rees, a former partner at Brian Ward and Partners (BWP), has joined forces with four former BWP employees, including former national Blake Dawson chairman Campbell Johnston, to launch The JRT Partnership (JRT).

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Rees cited unfair charging and "irrelevant" time recording requirements as factors behind the creation of JRT and its mission.

"The better lawyers I had were sick of being told to write more time and being viewed just in terms of time," said Rees. "They [also] saw a lot of transactional infrastructure that wasn't required for corporate advisory."

JRT has adopted a model which splits its fees evenly between fixed-fee and hourly rates, and Rees is adamant the firm will not "drag all its lawyers off their work when the first transaction comes along" and "won't simply look to up-sell them from their core work".

"We've taken the pressure off them for their time. It's a bit irrelevant, their recording of time, actually," he said, adding that he sees time recording as "more a costing tool ... than a charging tool".

The firm has taken on Rees' former executive assistant Sarah Simmonds as a practice manager/executive assistant as well as Scott Wilson as its youngest director.

Luke Torpey also resumes a director position at JRT. Torpey was articled to Rees around 11 years ago while Wilson also worked with Rees when he commenced his legal career at BWP seven years ago.

Luke Mercurio, who recently left BWP for a short stint at Piper Alderman in his home town of Adelaide, has also joined JRT as a senior associate.

Campbell Johnston, who worked at Blake Dawson for 30 years between 1977 and 2007, and was later the executive counsel of AWB Limited, met Rees in the early 1970s. The pair rowed together overseas and, in 1974, won gold for Australia at the World Rowing Championships.

Rees said he brought across "between five and 10" major retainer clients from BWP, and plans to focus on and add to them with similar clients, including private family groups, large not-for-profits, hospitals, universities, university offshoots and small listed companies.

"If you balance your team across experienced lawyers that know those clients well and look after their monthly requirements, it's challenging work but ... it's pretty low maintenance and there are good opportunities," said Rees, who believes that assessing individual lawyers based "just on time ... and bills" is unfair on both lawyers and clients.

"Government departments are getting beaten up by management by having over-budget expense months, while we as lawyers are congratulating ourselves on good budget revenue months - but it's short lived," he said.

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

New firm cuts time pressures
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
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 & ...