Buckminster Fuller once said “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”.
Building a new legal model is exactly what Construction and Infrastructure lawyer Janelle Kerrisk set out to achieve when she created Helix Legal in 2016. It has been built on a foundation whereby flexible working is the cornerstone of everything they do, and they are now proudly a Flex Able Certified Employer.
After 14 years in a traditional law firm, Janelle reviewed every single ‘reason’ that flexible working ‘just doesn’t work for law firms’, and set out to remove every single speedbump.
Operating from a tech savvy co-working space in Brisbane has demonstrated where the world of work is going, how much is possible virtually, and how many people live and play globally, along-side their local team.
Every person at Helix Legal is doing something that matters to them outside of work: studying to become a lawyer; competing in triathlons; having babies; or wanting to spend more time with family members. When you put flexible working and accommodating the needs of human beings at the forefront in business, it becomes a winning formula.
“There is a misconception that flexible working costs money. I want to prove that flexible working increases the bottom line. When people are 100% committed to their work and personal goals, and you help them reach those goals, they are committed like nothing I have ever seen before.” says founder Janelle Kerrisk.
The way the Helix Legal team work is not a secret from their clients. In fact, it is a key selling point. It is win : win!
No timesheets for their staff to complete.
The focus is on giving the right advice and solutions on time, every time.
No 6 minute increments for client billing.
Helix Legal know their industry inside out and know the limits of their legal expertise. This enables them to accurately quote, and eliminate price-shock risk for their clients.
Rather than look at traditional staff retention rates, Janelle accepts that no-one stays in a job forever. Instead, retention is viewed through the lens of ‘positive lifelong advocacy’. Happy staff and clients will tell everyone about you, not necessarily stay with you forever.
“You just don’t churn and burn people” says Janelle.
There is a big element of trust at play, and the team are expected to communicate and deliver on what needs to be done each day. They use a group calendar, talk every day about what they are working on, use video conferencing and chat instead of walking to someone’s desk, and every Wednesday every person works in the same office for staff meetings and face to face catch ups.
In the same way that Monday to Friday 9-5 doesn’t work for everyone, flexible working from a co-working space won’t work for everyone either. However, this new paradigm for working in the legal profession is certainly the new model that may just make the existing model obsolete.
Congratulations Helix Legal on becoming a Flex Able Certified Employer.
About the author
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