A growing number of senior lawyers are being drawn to practice in NewLaw firms.
Since opening its doors 12 months ago, Keypoint Law has had one senior lawyer join the firm per month. According to CEO Warren Kalinko, top tier firms are not catering to senior lawyers, leading many to investigate their options at alternative or boutique firms.
“There are a number of lawyers that are reaching the age of 55 and are finding that the firms that they are with are not accommodating them,” said Kalinko. “There’s a question mark around how those lawyers realise value for the clients they have built up over many years, and many are finding that they can’t do that in the traditional model.”
With no billable hour or revenue targets, Kalinko thinks that the flexibility of the NewLaw model benefits more experienced lawyers.
“A very high percentage of fees billed are earned by the lawyers,” he said. “The profession is starting to see innovation; there are a lot of senior people with outstanding expertise that are leaving the top tier firms to go into either boutique or alternative firms.”
As the number of NewLaw and boutique firms increases, Kalinko said the interest in an alternative to the traditional law model is likely to continue. He said the growing number of NewLaw firms is undoubtedly an indication that clients are looking at different ways to engage with law firms.
“This increase in boutique and alternative law firms is a response by both lawyers and clients for the desire for change,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that this trajectory will continue and grow exponentially so they’ll have a louder voice.”
In Kalinko’s view, the senior lawyers from traditional firms that are switching to alternative firm models will be central to NewLaw’s ongoing popularity with clients. “The key benefit there is that they are accessing senior people and they are accessing them in a low overhead environment,” he said.