Have you come across the #NewLaw players? These companies are the disrupters of the industry. They are challenging the traditional business model and want to see…well pretty much everything done differently! Reductions in costs to clients, providing better communication with clients, more efficient processes and practices. All of these leading to NewLaw providers standing out in the way they do business.
This new model could mean a new life for you as a lawyer. Why? Well for starters, there is a key difference in the way that NewLaw providers operate with their clients. There’s a focus on figuring out the client’s specific requirements and then matching those requirements with a skilled team but with low over-heads and minimal staff. In this respect this new model places a greater focus on client communication and client needs-matching.
This provides clients with a team equipped with the right skill set for the job, which optimises outcomes minimising costs. However, it also allows NewLaw providers to offer employees the opportunity to work more flexibly and that’s always a win!
Another key differentiator of the NewLaw model is, you guessed it! Ditching the traditional billable hour. Hallelujah! Alternative price structures are offered to clients including fixed priced billing, blended rates and volume based billing.
Changing the billing model fundamentally alters lawyer-client relations. Demetrio Zema, founder and director of NewLaw player Law Squared, a specialised commercial law and litigation firm focused on working with entrepreneurs and startups, says,
“[when] we remove time budgets, so no time is recorded internally or externally, people aren’t measured by time at all. Take away the financial element, you all of a sudden change the conversation and engagement clients are having with their lawyer. When people aren’t tracking time, but they’re tracking outcomes, its a very different conversation.”
At Law Squared two fee models are offered: a fixed fee arrangement; or a retainer model which allows clients to engage their services on an ongoing basis.
As the founder of one of Australia’s most innovative firms, Law Squared has been listed on the LexisNexis Legal Innovation Index by the way Demetrio is focused on relationships, authenticity and getting positive outcomes for his clients. Ultimately the goal is to provide a better experience of dealing with legal providers – which actually in-turn provides a better work environment for you as a lawyer.
Motivated by his own dissatisfaction with the industry, Demetrio saw how less than ideal the industry can actually be and went about doing something about it. “I kind of wanted out of law or to create a new way for law to be done,” he says.
“I got to the point where I really loved being a lawyer and I loved the service offering you can give to clients in terms of your knowledge and expertise…and thought there had to be a better way to kind of change that model of engagement. I had a number of friends who were entrepreneurs who where disgruntled about their legal engagement and I thought there wasn’t really any NewLaw players, what we call NewLaw now, in this space.
“There were some newish firms by age, but not by philosophy. So what I mean by that is still very traditional principles of time recording and hierarchy and old school offices and paper. All those types of things that governed how these law firms were run and kind of weren’t really catered for your millennial or tech savvy business that just wants another entrepreneur to speak with and understand their woes and dramas, struggles and expectations and to meet them without the requirements of a traditional system” says Demetrio.
At just 30 years of age Demetrio manages Law Squared, which operates across three major cities across Australia. Equipped with a very different philosophy and leadership style, he brings together the best people and technological solutions in an environment and culture that lawyers love to work in. Now that is rare!
Law Squared fosters an open and cohesive work environment that successfully takes the best of the old and new and brings them together in a way that services clients better. This gives his employees flexibility and the autonomy that they want, as well as a leadership style that really leads by example.
“The aim is to change the conversation people are having around law firms and lawyers, but also changing the engagement lawyers are having with their own firms. The main philosophy around Law Squared is around supporting young lawyers who haven’t necessarily been in a very positive environment, to come into an environment and really feel embraced and feel they can strive and move forward.”
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