How a collective approach to law is changing small practices
Whether you’re just starting out, or have reached a critical growth milestone in your business, there will come a time when you’ll think ‘there must be a better way to manage this.’
Tony Jansz, Director of Clarence, Workplaces for Professionals, knows there is. And it’s as simple as coming together with like-minded firms in a collective, collaborative space – dedicated to the specific requirements of the legal profession.
With two locations in Sydney and new offices in Melbourne and Brisbane on the horizon, Clarence is already the largest independent solicitor’s chambers in Australia – with over 200 solicitors and 20 barristers.
“There are tens of thousands of small law firms in Australia – with one to five people – all with their own area of specialty,” says Jansz. “That hasn't changed over the years. What has changed is the way we can use technology and support systems to create more effective ways of practicing law.”
Co-working spaces are certainly on the rise, and not just for freelancers and start-ups. In the US, major corporates such as GE and KPMG have moved small teams of workers into WeWork spaces to benefit from the entrepreneurial energy and networks.1
Harvard Business Review research also indicates workers in shared office spaces thrive – they feel a greater sense of purpose and feel more empowered. They also tend to be more productive.2
Clarence is not another generic (albeit well-designed) serviced office space. It also offers an extensive range of specialist services that effectively support nearly all functional areas of a law firm.
From bookkeeping and onsite reception and secretarial services to subsidised in-house CPD (continuing professional development), conference facilities, an in-house IT team and even marketing, Clarence covers all essential practice support areas. This means lawyers can focus on their core practice areas.
“Many of these small firms begin when an experienced lawyer or partner leaves the big or mid-sized firm to set up their own practice. They know how to incorporate a company, but they aren’t necessarily experienced in actually running a business.” explains Jansz.
With the help of a dedicated in-house Clarence Legal Counsel, these lawyers are freed up to focus on what they do best – provide legal services – while someone else answers their phone, sets up their practice management software, sorts out their marketing and makes sure cash flow keeps coming in with efficient invoicing and bookkeeping.
Important as these advantages are the benefits that flow from a chambers working model are more than administrative.