As Dr George Beaton of Australia’s Beaton Capital detailed recently: “lexvoco is the first NewLaw firm in New Zealand, entering by crossing the Tasman. While this might not necessarily be regarded as noteworthy, the speed with which lexvoco is spreading is truly remarkable.”
In an effort to continue Asia Law Portal’s coverage of the expansion and diversification of NewLaw in the Asia-Pacific region, here’s an in-depth interview with Anthony Wright, the firms Principal:
lexvoco was recently described as the first New Law firm in New Zealand. When and where was Lexvoco founded and what inspired it?
lexvoco started in Melbourne in 2015 as a solution to modern-day commercial pressures faced by in-house legal teams and organisations. Being an in-house lawyer and General Counsel myself for many years, I experienced firsthand how incredibly under pressure and under-resourced legal teams are today.
Whilst traditional legal firms undeniably have fantastic lawyers, they can be more expensive and many haven’t worked embedded in a non-legal business, at the front line. Engaging their services is no longer a viable option for many organisations – both big and small. As a result, in-house legal teams often go without the resourcing and tools they require to deliver legal services as effectively as possible.
lexvoco is the flexible resourcing and consulting solution I wanted access to when I was working in-house, under the pump. Because of this gap in the market, and the fact that I really enjoy being a lawyer and working with other lawyers, it made complete sense to give this business a go. Legal teams, and organisations who need legal, are under pressure or lack the right skills for a particular project can utilise lexvoco’s lawyers for as long as they need – be it for hours, weeks or years – in-house or remotely with no lock-in contracts.
The fundamentals are still the same – companies will always require top-quality people who know the law and we’d never deliver them anything less – however, everything else is up for consideration. Our point of difference comes from using technology, systems and work models and concepts (e.g. Lean, Agile and Design) to practice the law differently. In doing so, clients still get the same quality advice, but in a quicker and more agile, cost-effective way.
lexvoco offers clients a variety of services. How would you compare Lexvoco to a traditional NewLaw firm that primarily seconds lawyers to GC?
Our focus is on helping organisations achieve better outcomes from legal services – not only via the provision of top legal talent – but also through strategy, consulting and technology.
We believe that it is extremely important for the legal function to assist in achieving better commercial outcomes and profit for businesses. As such, our team includes lawyers and management consultants who deliver strategy and improvement projects solely for in-house legal teams. E.g. legal process re-engineering, simplifying processes and documents, strategy setting, cost and service delivery analysis, continuous improvement, unbundling large matters and project management, and technology consulting. We’ve delivered performance improvement projects for some of APACs largest legal teams and sole operators.
We also only hire lawyers with a minimum of five years of experience working in-house, as well as experience at top firms. This ensures our clients have access to lawyers who not only understand the law, but also business, commerce, and risk and can provide relevant sharp advice. Working with clients to help them improve their bottom line and empowering them to increase efficiencies across the board is, we think, a key differentiator of ours.
Additionally, we have a very strong commitment to innovation and technology and have developed a number of proprietary applications. These are used by in-house teams to automate processes and documents, gather and analyse data, manage workflow, and assess employee wellbeing. To our knowledge, we are the only NewLaw provider that specialises in such a vast variety of services.
lexvoco is currently in Australia and New Zealand. Are you considering or do you have plans for further expansion in the Asia-Pacific region?
We already work in a few other APAC regions including Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand with local lawyers but based in ANZ. We’re planning on opening a local Asian office shortly. In addition to this, we also advise in the United States, UK, Africa, and South America.
NewLaw has helped bring change to the provision of legal services to corporate clients. Where do you see this trend going over the next 5-10 years and what will be Lexvoco’s place within it?
The future is very bright for NewLaw, it’s the innovation the industry has been waiting for. Demand would strongly suggest that it will continue to gain traction and market share well into the future. Having said this, you can’t discount BigLaw – traditional firms provide excellent services, have great, smart people, and have solid balance sheets. There’s room for both models to coexist, and ways they can work really cohesively together.
Traditional firms who consider the changes rapidly and positively will be better off – look at how QANTAS has reacted and is better placed having fought hard with new players. In terms of lexvoco, we plan on building on the success we’ve had so far by launching in additional markets, with the view to being a global player in legal services, whatever that will look like.
Some additional facts
- lexvoco has over 200 lawyers (a mixture of full-time, part-time and contract)
- Some of its clients include Australia Post, BP, Red Bull, Santos, Samsung, The Cotton On Group, Allianz, PPG, Tabcorp, Australian Unity, Macquarie Telecom, Treasury Wine Estates, Goodman Fielder, Brisbane Airport, RMIT, State and Commonwealth Governments.