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Operating on a national level as a boutique

Despite this boutique firm being based in Adelaide, it has managed to position itself in the national market. Here, the firm owner and director shares just how he did it.

user iconLauren Croft 21 September 2023 SME Law
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Christos Tsonis is the director at CXT Legal. Speaking on a recent episode of The Boutique Lawyers Show, he reflected on building his boutique practice into a national player and the importance of having a business mindset from day one.

Before starting CXT Legal, Mr Tsonis worked closely with a managing partner for a decade, who he said inspired him to learn about not only technical legal skills but also the skills required to build a business. Now, CXT is in the national market.

“We consider ourselves to be a specialist corporate and commercial law firm servicing the Australian mid-market in transactions, advisory disputes and private client law, which is really our take on wills and estates. We think with a lot more business focus. We like to think that we are routinely engaged by clients who trust our smart approach and our safe pair of hands. Safe pair of hands is an understanding whether or not you’re a client or otherwise or a third party,” he said.


“The moment anyone entrusts CXT, and it can be anyone within CXT with their matter, it will be dealt with in a safe manner, no stone will be left unturned, and basically that will be dealt with. So, we like to feel that now that we’ve added a lot more to our reputation, which has been a real focus over the last three years, our team is now skilled very much in the corporate commercial space.”

In terms of being a “safe pair of hands” for small-business owners, Mr Tsonis said the firm wants to be perceived as an important part of their own operation.

“We want to be seen as a very important cog in their machine, that understands their commercial drivers and is brought in with no emotion to provide an unemotional view, having regard to what they want to achieve,” he added.

“So, we want to be seen as someone that, when there’s a critical point of negotiation or critical juncture of the business that is sitting at the table, that hears the conversations that are being had and is asked at a critical point, what is your opinion on these matters that relate to legal and risk? And we very much are that for our clients, and I feel like they feel a lot of comfort as well, but we feel a lot of conviction that our points are actually registered and help them genuinely with their business, and we see ourselves as a partner in the success of their business.

To achieve this on a national scale despite being based in Adelaide, Mr Tsonis emphasised it was all about the mindset.

“There are two aspects to it. One is a mindset, and the other one is an infrastructure piece. So, we’ve created, I suppose, a strategic plan internally that everyone understands their roles and everyone clearly understands where our business is heading and the markets that we service. My view is that Adelaide is a place that is on the rise. We are in the geographical centre of Australia. It is very easy to hop on a plane and hit Perth or hit Sydney, and we like to think of a lot of the new economy businesses that we act for are now being based in South Australia,” he explained.

“There’s an enormous amount of investment in South Australia in defence space. So, we actually see ourselves as the market is now coming to us and we are reaching out to service the market that is actually turning its way towards South Australia. But above all, we are a proud Australian firm, and to the extent that we’re going to service those other markets in the eastern states where some of our clients’ headquarters are, we will make sure that we do that in every way we can.”

And looking to the future, Mr Tsonis said his legal team excites him the most, as well as their “collective vision”.

“I started this organisation at age 32, and there’s been a lot of things that have been achieved. But I will get to a point where I think I will have achieved a lot of the things that I set myself out to, but [I am] still young enough to share the success [of] the business with our team that have been so loyal to me. And really, I want them to have the same opportunities that I’ve had certainly through this business as well because they’ve been part of the loyalty of building it with me. As much as my DNA is in this business, their business’s DNA is as well. And I want them to be advisors of choice sitting in any market that can service any business in Australia,” he concluded.

“They understand better than most that they are equal to any corporate lawyer or commercial lawyer in Australia because they’ve got their feet on the ground, they’ve got conviction in their position, and they’re well technically trained. So that’s where we want to be. We want to have a national presence, and there’s been a lot that we’ve achieved. There’s been six things that we wanted to achieve in the last six years. We’ve done all those things. That’s the next stage for us. And if the last six years have been any guide, I think we’ve got the plans for the next six.

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

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