According to the head of a boutique, hiring more staff than the current workload and having a flexible team structure is enough to help small firms tackle big deals. “I believe having high staff levels can give small firms the chance to cater to high-end clients,” said Henry Kalus who is also the founder of Kalus Kenny Intelex. He also said that in order to manage the really big deals when they come along, they have always wanted to have more people than their firm need in the practice. In fact, this may require them to hire even in areas with little extra work for some cases.
Mr. Klaus also said that there are some lawyers who build a practice on the back of staff while thinking that they are building it on their clients and he described this as a big mistake. It is true that a lot of law firms have built their reputation by bringing aboard partners who in turn bring well-paying clients. However, Klaus believes that small firms can change this approach and use their own staff to find the right work that will help them grow their reputation. “I encourage my staff to avoid exceeding their billable budgets and I always stress on the point that lawyers shouldn’t be over-worked,” said Mr. Klaus.
On the other hand, lawyers can easily exceed their billable bills if they are not delegating enough and also if they are not resourced enough. “That’s not the way people should measure success and we don’t want to see our lawyers exceeding budgets because of it,” added Mr. Klaus. In addition, Klaus believes that small firms can attain flexibility to scale up the firm’s capacity by having their lawyers work across a number of teams. He also said that in order to get the flexibility desired, he has employed a team of transactional commercial property and another team of property development. Therefore, just like the large firms, this gives Klaus the chance to put as many people on a transaction and get the work done accordingly.
However, it is important to take note that it is critically important to ensure that not more than four or five lawyers tackles one transaction because the end result may not be appealing. Given the wide legal market, Mr. Klaus believes that boutique firms in Australia can easily compete with much larger players if they keenly implement these strategies. Mr. Klaus and Jonathan Kenny found Kalus Kenny Intelex in 1993 and Sven Burchartz later joined them in 2013 and currently serves as the firm’s managing partner.
Recently, the firm acted on the acquisition of Amcor Paper Mill site and the seventy two million dollar sale of The Well shopping centre based in Camberwell. Mr. Kalus suggested that because of the personal, expert experience offered by smaller firms, large developers are increasingly looking forward towards getting their high quality services.