MODERN LAW: TALKING TO CARBON

Our Chief Executive, Michael Burne, tells top leadership publication Modern Law Magazine how we empower entrepreneurial lawyers with choice, flexibility and happiness.

Here’s a few of our favourite exchanges from the article….

Q: How do you 're-engineer' a commercial law firm to make lawyers and clients happy?

Michael: Carbon Law Partners went live in April this year after extensive research with lawyers and clients with the fairly simple strap line: ‘creating the conditions for exceptional lawyers to flourish’. We aim to continue to innovate around these ‘conditions’ by listening, learning, developing and listening again to talented commercial lawyers and clients to develop the firm.

Q: What worries commercial lawyers and what type of profile do they have?

Michael: We had to establish what they [commercial lawyers] like about the way law is practiced, what they thought about the future, what they didn’t like and what worried them about the future of practicing commercial law. Most are concerned about risk – the risks posed by ‘joint and several liability’, the risks of capital calls with no return on investment, the risk of not having the power to innovate, the risk of not generating enough value from the partnership at retirement level; the risk of not being able to work with clients flexibly as the market changes.

We believe lawyers engaged in firms in the ‘hard-pressed middle’ in the commercial sector are those who will be most attracted to the Carbon Law Partners model, namely individuals in these firms that are:

  • Aspirers [those with ambition for change but without the control – partners or those heading towards partnership options]
  • Returners [those who are looking to re-enter practice after leaving, perhaps for family reasons]
  • Retirers [partners who are balancing the liability risks, protecting their financial position as they head towards the later stage of their careers]
  • Frustrated teams [teams that feel marginalised, have little decision-making power or control in their current firm]
Q: How do you help reduce 'risk' or put lawyers back in control?

Michael: With Carbon, the risk is low and control is high – the opposite in fact of most law firms. Lawyers work when they want, where they want and with the clients they want. They can charge clients in modern, flexible and innovative ways. Our core services include the provision of state of the art IT support that enables our lawyers to work anywhere in the world, on any device, so long as they have broadband access [Carbon Law Partners has procured state of the art systems with Microsoft and LexisNexis to provide business management on a secure platform managed by e-Know]. Our lawyers receive the essentials to enable them to practice and then have choice and control over other overheads that may suit the way they practice or the clients they work with. This is the opposite of the overhead-driven, hourly rate costed structures that you see in large commercial firms. Our lawyers don’t carry those overheads or that risk. Their ability to be flexible and align themselves with their clients is significantly increased – imagine what that can do for clients?

This outcome –focused and smart use of resources creates the potential for lawyers to align the way they work and what they charge with their business client’s commercial objectives. It means a different conversation. 

Continue the conversation by exploring the rest of this inspirational article here

July 2014

Author
MICHAEL BURNE
Michael Burne

I’m the Founder and Chief Executive of Carbon. The business was my initial idea, but I’m not precious with it. It’s my job to lead us to success, but this is really about shaping a collaboration based on a shared vision. I know none of it would be possible without the great team I’ve managed to assemble around the concept and the business strategy.