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The 2023 winners of the Australasian Lawyer and NZ Lawyer’s Service Provider Awards drive transformation across the legal landscape, adapting at lightning speed to what law professionals need to stay ahead of the curve.
This year’s award-winning legal tech and legal service providers have demonstrated their importance to a high-functioning and top-performing law sector, with these factors noted by industry experts as crucial:
enabling people who need more technical skills to understand how their product works
realising lawyers won’t necessarily have tech skills
providing a robust client-focused training system
adapting to market changes
being proactive about how a product integrates with others
“Most of the products on the market now are designed to create time efficiencies,” says Tony Steindle, Law Alliance NZ executive officer. “For law firms, time savings equal reduced labour costs, which helps prevent an erosion of profitability.”
From a client’s perspective, Russell Legal managing director Scott Russell, a 2022 Australian Fast Firm winner, says, “The most important thing an award-winning service provider can do is establish old-fashioned trust, be reliable and be responsive. We can’t do it without them.”
Harriss Wagner Consultants and Advisers
Legal service provider winner blazing tech transition trails
With a focus as keen as its clients on discovering faster and more cost-effective ways to operate its businesses, Harriss Wagner leverages modern technology to improve its top- and bottom-line results.
“We don’t cut corners; we do things properly,” says managing partner Robert Wagner. “We understand that when our clients are successful, we become successful.”
He offers this example of their industry-leading approach:
A client turned to the firm after a project had gone awry.
They were suffering from inefficiencies.
Their relationship with a software vendor had soured.
Wagner and his team conducted a diagnostic review, then:
“Part of our strategy was providing them with some quick wins because we could see they were in a lot of pain, and we wanted them to get some quick benefits from our services,” says Wagner. “That also helped build trust and belief that we would fix their problems, which included repairing their relationship with the vendor.”
The award-winning management consultancy distinguishes itself from competitors by:
possessing a reputation built on a client-centred philosophy, ensuring the design and implementation of transformational change adds sustainable value
employing a disciplined and methodical approach that fosters trust
taking a partnership approach and risk-sharing price model with clients
achieving Silver certification from Paris-based EcoVadis for its environmental and sustainability credentials
During the 2022–23 financial year, Harriss Wagner:
“The partnership relationship differentiates us,” Wagner says. “You need a trusted relationship with the client, which takes time to build; that doesn’t just happen because we want to be nice guys. It’s an important part of our success.”
As transformational specialists, continuing to push the boundaries of what’s new and exciting is paramount at Harriss Wagner.
“We understand change is happening rapidly, and we have to be ahead of the curve, or at least on the edge with what’s happening with new technologies and modern practices across the globe in this industry,” says Wagner. “Our investment in research provides us with greater richness in the value proposition we can offer our clients.”
“As the world becomes more complex, we believe that it’s important to create simplicity in the transformational programs we introduce, making them more intuitive and practical”
Robert WagnerHarriss Wagner Consultants and Advisers
Legal tech innovator pioneers a user-friendly powerhouse platform
Clients of this year’s top service providers are facing an increasingly regulated environment with a greater focus on data and generative AI, leading them to review their processes related to data capture, knowledge and information management.
Award-winner Barhead Solutions has solved this challenge with its well-known matter management and contract lifecycle management product, Consensus. Since launching in September 2021, over a dozen clients, from small law firms to large enterprises in multiple industries, state and federal governments, and community legal centres, have implemented Consensus into their processes.
“It’s been exciting, and we’ve got the benefit of having the Microsoft platform underpinning our solution,” says engagement manager Amanda Fajerman, who leads the legal tech product and IP team.
Barhead Solutions is pushing the legal tech boundaries with Consensus, as evidenced by:
tripling the product’s sales trajectory this year
being selected as the preferred tender in several highly competitive tenders in Australia and overseas
offering flexibility to provide a do-it-yourself installation directly from the Microsoft AppSource or customised for larger enterprise clients
“Barhead is at the cutting edge of Microsoft technology, in terms of our people and the tech itself,” says Fajerman. “As an organisation, we’ve got deep, expert technical expertise in Microsoft and subject matter experts like me who can bring that legal context to the product we’re developing.”
The multi-award-winning tech company passionately advances its mission to help clients work smarter, better and faster using the power of the Microsoft platform.
Barhead Solutions has prioritised its sandbox environments, integrating Microsoft’s Copilot into its Consensus platforms to ensure it remains at the leading edge of technological innovation.
“It’s going to have a big impact on legal professionals,” Fajerman says.
Consensus’ unique value proposition is that it’s built on and installed in the client’s Microsoft environment, offering the following unique points of difference:
data stored by Consensus lives and is kept secure in the client’s Microsoft 365, making it easy for technology teams to ensure critical business data is stored and accessed in compliance with organisational policy
aligns legal and procurement needs to reduce silos by using common data and the business’s processes that live in Microsoft 365, utilising native connections that integrate with the entire procurement journey
provides a user-friendly environment, resulting in minimal training costs and high user adoption, and it aligns legal needs with the organisational digital strategy for ongoing development, scale and flexibility
“I think we’re pitching far above our weight in what a start-up is traditionally capable of”
Amanda FajermanBarhead Solutions
Legal matchmaker sets the bar high in New Zealand
Founder and managing director Louise Hall-Strutt branched out on her own in 2021 after nearly a decade of recruiting in the legal space, building a reputation based on trust and results. Although the recruitment market has shifted dramatically, she proactively ensures her clients’ and candidates’ success, emphasising networking, being active on LinkedIn and demonstrating the value she brings with up-to-date industry knowledge and insights into global trends.
“I think building that trust with people is important because people want to work with people they like and trust,” says Hall-Strutt. “I’ve got a 100% retention rate for candidates placed, so I know I’m getting it right.”
The award-winning recruiter prides herself on being relationship-driven, prioritising getting to know the clients and the candidates and striving to understand their respective needs.
Altitude Recruitment distinguishes itself from competitors in its business philosophy and approach.
“I’m not interested in just filling roles,” Hall-Strutt says. “It’s about finding someone who will be a perfect fit for the role, fit in well and help the client build their business.”
Altitude Recruitment is raising the bar in legal recruitment and staffing, with its achievements evidenced by:
doubled revenue from year one to year two of the business
maintaining a database of 6,000-plus candidates, continuously growing in New Zealand and overseas
building strong relationships with a range of private and general practice firms
developing exclusive partnerships and being added to the panel of trusted recruiters by top-tier firms
“A big part of my role is offering extra value and guidance, rather than just placements and transactions and filling the roles,” says Hall-Strutt. “It’s really about knowing the clients and the candidates to make that match.”
“I always keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on globally regarding trends, and I continue to put relationships first and always do the right thing for clients and candidates”
Louise Hall-StruttAltitude Recruitment
ADR and mediation chamber
- One Pacific Dispute Resolution
- The ADR Centre
- Dye & Durham
- LexisNexis New Zealand
Legal technology – contract management software
Legal technology – e-discovery
- eDiscovery Collab
- Law In Order
- Sky Discovery
- TransPerfect Legal Solutions
Legal technology – e-hearing technology
- elaw for Ostentus application
Legal technology – law practice management software
- Dye & Durham
- LEAP Legal Software
Legal technology – legal billing software
- LEAP Legal Software
Legal technology – legal case management software
- Barhead Solutions
- LEAP Legal Software
Legal technology – legal document management software
- LEAP Legal Software
Legal technology – legal research software
- Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII)
- LexisNexis – Product: Lexis+
Legal technology – property transaction and legal services
Legal technology – workflow management software
Litigation support and consulting – court reporting
Litigation support and consulting – litigation funding
- CASL Management
- Ironbark Funding
Other – business transformation – management consulting
Other – legal automation
Other – legal education
Other – legal services subscription offering
Other – licensed professional investigators
Other – trust administration
Recruiting, staffing and outsourcing
- Artemis Executive Recruitment
The awards spotlight the providers that are delivering the most effective and transformative solutions across areas such as legal tech; legal services; litigation support and consulting; recruiting, staffing and outsourcing; and ADR and mediation.
The editorial and research teams across both publications reviewed the vendors’ submissions, and nominees were evaluated mainly on the strength and process of their service delivery, with the most important factor being how these providers made legal professionals’ lives more efficient through their products and services. The judges also considered the providers’ innovativeness and R&D commitment.
A total of 35 providers stood out based on these criteria, becoming the 2023 winners of the Australasian Lawyer and NZ Lawyer Service Provider Awards.