Five minutes with... Lachlan McKnight, LegalVision

Lachlan McKnight decided to leave his gig as a corporate lawyer in a top firm to launch his own legal start-up. Australasian Lawyer finds out if life gets any easier on the other side

What made you realise that being a corporate lawyer wasn’t for you? I enjoyed my time at Freshfields and Norton Rose, but my long term goal was always to launch a start-up. I ended up launching a legal start-up so my early career turned out to be pretty useful!
What do you love most about your new work at LegalVision? The greatest thing about launching a start-up and growing quickly is working with new people every month. We’ve grown from a team of 2 to a team of 12 (at our head office) over the last 6 months and every new team member brings something different to the team. Building a business is a lot of fun.
What did you hate the most about working in a big firm? I didn’t dislike working in big law firms, but one thing I didn’t really like was the hierarchy.
Are there things from the big firm environment that you miss? Long lunches and Friday drinks!
Or is the grass really greener on the other side? Running a start-up is tough. Growing a business 20% month on month is a huge challenge, and as a team we’ve obviously had to make big sacrifices in terms of salaries, but it’s been a great experience so far. I’ve got a lot of friends in big law firms and I think they offer a fantastic career path, but they’re certainly not for everyone.
What are three words you would use to sum up big law firms? Not for me!
If you could change one thing about the way large firms operate what would it be? I think big firms are generally pretty bad at offering flexible working arrangements to associates looking to move out of the 80 hour week. A great number of lawyers are lost to big law in this way. It’s great for LegalVision, as our flexible work force is made up of ex big firm lawyers, but it’s probably something the industry needs to change.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Start a business.
How do you take your coffee?  From our new Aldi coffee machine – big firms aren’t the only ones to get perks!

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