‘Age is just a number’: Starting a law firm at 50

04 August 2022 By Lauren Croft

Being able to bring a variety of life experiences to her own firm has meant that this principal has been able to find working practices outside the traditional firm model that work for her and her clients. 

Adele Anthony is the principal of Your Legacy Lawyer, and she is a finalist in the Sole Practitioner of the Year category, in addition to her firm being a finalist in the Regional Firm of the Year category at our upcoming Australian Law Awards. Speaking recently on The Boutique Lawyer Show, Ms Anthony reflected on her legal career to date and how working outside the traditional law firm model has benefited her practice. 

Ms Anthony started her career as a law clerk in 1982 before opening up her own female health club business. Then, at the age of 45, she decided to go back to school and get her law degree — graduating and starting her own law firm at 50 years old. 

She said that being able to have a variety of life experiences and vocational pathways before actually becoming a lawyer has only helped her run her own business. 

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“Running a business, you are doing everything from cleaning the toilets to HR, to management, to admin, to client service, and I think it’s that client service bit that really resonated with me in my previous businesses, and I knew that I could do that in law. I knew that I could do it a little bit differently than the traditional law model, and that’s what I’ve set out to do,” she explained. 

“So, all those life experiences and qualifications, I think, have really helped me in my business and made it probably a little bit easier than some others that haven’t had that life experience or the running of businesses.”

This has also meant that Ms Anthony has a more streamlined and flexible business approach — and will occasionally work from her car or even a café, which she said her clients are completely on board with. 

“Clients are really happy that I can come to see them where it’s convenient for them, and that could be at their home, at their place of business, [or] their favourite cafe. They feel comfortable, and sometimes it might be over Zoom or over the telephone that they might want to see me,” she added. 

“I can see clients when they want to see me, whether that be in the evening after the kids have gone to bed or on the weekend. It’s enabled me not only to be flexible for the clients, but also for myself as well. So, it means that I get to do the things that I like doing outside of work, but the clients also get that convenience of knowing that they have access to different hours and things than the traditional law model of the Monday to Friday, nine to five.”

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In terms of the challenges around the abolishment of the traditional law firm model, Ms Anthony said technology is something she is “going to have to navigate really carefully”. 

“The sophistication that law firms now have in terms of their social media presence is something again that I’m going to have to navigate, and you’ve just got to be up there. I never thought that I’d be doing TikTok or Reels 10 years ago, but here I am doing TikToks and Reels and having Facebook and Instagram. That’s challenging, all these new things that are coming into the legal sphere, and I just have to be one of the first ones rather than a lagger. So, that’s challenging to just keep on top of all that,” she said. 

“The opportunities that I see within my grasp are the fact that because most of my work is virtual and remote, I’m able to expand into different regions. For instance, I started the business in Toowoomba and built that up nicely, and then I moved to the Gold Coast and was able to start building that as well, which has been really successful. So, I’m looking to expand into other regions. I have done a few clients from up far north and places like that. So, I think that’s an opportunity that’s going to be afforded to me because I don’t need an office.”

This kind of flexibility, as well as the many different practice areas of law, are both reasons Ms Anthony entered the legal profession at a late age, she concluded. 

“What motivated me into going into law was the opportunity that I could work for myself in a really good industry, and I think any woman or any male, for that matter, it’s a career worth exploring. It’s so satisfying. You can go into many different areas of law. Like myself, I’ve niched to estate planning, but the world is just your oyster,” she said. 

“Age is just a number. You can do whatever you want to do, and I did, I mean, I’ve been through challenges. I’ve got five kids. I’ve got six grandkids. I have a partner now, and I’m making it work, and there’s no reason why anyone else can’t.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Adele Anthony, click below:

‘Age is just a number’: Starting a law firm at 50
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