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From the CEO: Small but not forgotten

Every Issue

Cite as: (2007) 81(7) LIJ, p. 6


The LIV is compiling an information kit which will support small and sole practitioners across all
dimensions of their work.

There has been much publicity in recent times about the progression of firms.

Firms amalgamate so mid-tier firms become large-tier firms and large firms become mega multi-national firms.

While there is no doubt that Australian lawyers can and do compete in the larger world market, we should not neglect or forget the smaller law firm.

There are a huge number of Australians who are serviced by the much smaller law practice.

In Victoria the top 30 firms have about 2000 holders of practising certificates while the balance of firms (more than 2000) contain about 9000 lawyers.

Throughout the suburban, city and rural areas it is to these smaller firms that the majority of the community turn for their legal needs.

This group receives little publicity but provides an essential service to the community.

The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) acknowledges the work of small and sole practitioners and is developing a kit which draws together all LIV products and services essential to sole and small practitioners.

Entitled “Supporting small practice across all dimensions”, the kit will be divided into three areas – practice management, professional and personal.

“Practice management” will include all HR related services, information on marketing, IT, commercial benefits and any professional development related to business management.

“Professional” will focus on Advocacy and Practice types of services, including information on LIV Sections, continuing professional development, and resources such as the LIJ.

“Personal” will include information on social networking events, LawCare, relevant social issues (such as the recent work on the incidence of depression in the profession), as well as offers from commercial partners.

Although much of this information has been previously available, the kit will bring it together in a comprehensive and convenient package designed so that it can be easily updated.

And while the LIV will continue to develop new products to assist the sole and small practitioner, it is also revisiting and improving previous ideas.

Decals will be available in three different sizes so they can be placed on walls or windows and there will be branding guidelines to help practitioners use the LIV logo to maximum effect on their stationery, business cards etc.

The LIV believes it is an advantage to practitioners to promote that they are members of the peak legal body in Victoria and as such are actively involved in their profession.

While the LIV is confident its “Supporting small practice across all dimensions” kit will meet members’ current needs we encourage feedback on how we can enhance this vital practice management tool. Feedback and suggestions can be sent to LIV Marketing general manager Sue Noble at snoble@liv.asn.au.

In addition, the LIV intends to conduct a formal survey of members to further gauge their needs in this area.

It is important that small and sole practice lawyers realise that they have to be innovative and competitive. Gone are the days when small firm practitioners could offer every service to all of their clients.

There has been a shift towards more specialisation and an ever increasing rise of the boutique firm, which provides expertise in particular areas.

These firms have understood how to compete in the market.

The challenge for other firms is to be equally competitive and to tap the loyalty of their clients in other areas.

While there has been a reduced demand for the general practitioner, this does not mean that there are not many opportunities for the small practitioner.

My column this month appears in the LIJ’s 80th anniversary edition.

For the past 80 years the LIJ has been informing the profession on changes to case law, legislation, events and milestones for the profession, as well as the thoughts of various LIV presidents and CEOs.

Its contributors – members of the profession – have ensured that its features are relevant to the issues of the day and often thought-provoking.

Since its beginning in July 1927, the LIJ has evolved with the use of paid advertising, colour and design to become the journal it is today. However, it has always been the LIJ’s attention to the issues of the profession that has ensured it ranks internationally as one of the top law journals.

Thank you to all who have contributed to the work of the LIJ.

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