Start up law firm Hive Legal wins ALPMA/Telstra Thought Leadership Awards

Hive Legal, a start-up virtual law firm, was crowned the 2014 ALPMA/Telstra Thought Leadership Award winner ahead of finalists AdventBalance, Swaab Attorneys and PD Lawyers, at the ALPMA Summit Gala dinner in Melbourne on Thursday 28 August. 

The ALPMA/Telstra Thought Leadership Awards recognise law firms who are doing things differently and successfully adapting to the changing legal landscape. 

 “The transformation of the legal sector is well underway, driven by a  wave of  external forces,” ALPMA President and Financial Controller of the Lantern Legal Group, Andrew Barnes said. 

 “This transformation represents both a threat to traditional law firms and an opportunity for those willing to embrace change and new ways of thinking and working,” he said. 

“In a risk-averse industry, it is very important to showcase the success of innovators to serve as motivation and inspiration for others.” 

Will Irving, Group Managing Director of Telstra Business, said, “The new digital era means that the way we do business is rapidly changing. Hive Legal is a fantastic example of a firm that is embracing the opportunities this new era brings and is reaping the rewards. With technology that better empowers staff to work and truly collaborate remotely, professional client service now has a new benchmark.” 

“This shift to mobile working is driving greater productivity in the legal services sector. More importantly it enables firms to better serve clients, build more valuable relationships and in so doing, strengthen their competitive advantage.  Mobile solutions also have the power to unlock extra time, helping firms to be highly responsive to clients while also enabling staff to balance personal commitments.” 

 Mr Barnes also recognised the achievements of the Award finalists, Swaab Attorneys, PB Law and AdventBalance, as well as all the firms nominated for the Awards, for taking positive action to adapt and improve their operations. 

Legal service re-defined 

Hive Legal was founded in January, 2014  by a group of experienced partners from large law firms who sought to redesign legal services and has grown from three to 11 employees in just eight months.  Hive Legal’s corporate and commercial clients include bluechip household names in health, transport and energy that are embracing its technology and innovation forward business model.

“We started with a clean slate and re-imagined the provision of legal services to better connect with the real needs of clients,” Hive Managing Director Jodie Baker said.

“Clients are demanding greater efficiency and turnaround times, and allowing employees to determine the best way to provide this, with an open mind to how that might be achieved, ensures that we can accommodate client needs more effectively,” she said. “Conventional firms push work down to junior lawyers.  We put principals and senior associates in an efficient infrastructure for effective client solutions.”

Hive Legal leverages technology to its maximum capability, enabling employees to work collaboratively on client projects from any location at any time and reduce costs.

“One of our core values is collaboration and we work very closely as a team to deliver outcomes to clients. If you produce the work at home or in the office it really doesn’t matter where you’re located as long as the quality is there,” she said. “Our enormous output has been derived from hard work and, at times, longer hours - but not from a crazy number of hours, day after day in the office and the dissatisfaction that comes from those periods.”

Hive Legal is also one of the few Australasian law firms to adopt value pricing.  The scope and value of each project is discussed with clients. A resourcing plan and timeline is developed, fees and billing milestones are agreed upfront with the client and the budget is then locked in.

 Inspiration for Innovation

The three Award finalists were:

  • AdventBalance - an alternative legal services provider, where the firm’s  lawyers all work on-site with clients rather than in the office -  leveraging Yammer to improve staff engagement and communication

  • Swaab Attorneys developed a Separation Survival Kit on a USB that helps its family law customers better understand, prepare for and manage legal documentation associated with the separation process. 

  • Property and Development Law, a boutique law firm in the Whitsundays delivering improved client service via a mobile app and client portal.

Last year’s winner was Anderssens Lawyers, a Brisbane-based commercial and property law firm with just 16 staff, who created a secure, online operating environment that supports a 100% paperless and highly automated legal process accessible 24/7 for both staff and clients from anywhere on any device.

About the Awards

The ALPMA/Telstra Thought Leadership Awards shine a light on innovative projects and new initiatives being conducted by firms across the legal sector in response to the changing legal landscape and provide recognition for firms and legal departments who have successfully implemented innovative projects and strategic initiatives that in response to the many and varied challenges facing the Australasian legal industry. This is the second year the Awards have been held and sponsored by Telstra.

Hear the 2014 ALPMA/Telstra Thought Leadership Awards Finalists talk about innovation at law firms in an interactive on-line panel discussion.


The Australasian Legal Practice Management Association, (ALPMA), is the peak body representing law firm managers and leaders. ALPMA provides an authoritative voice on issues relevant to legal practice management.  ALPMA delivers a comprehensive professional development program for members, which includes the annual ALPMA Summit, regular practice management seminars across Australia and New Zealand, the Leading Your Firm program, for smaller and regional law firms, online resources and a legal industry research program.

About Telstra

Telstra recognises that small and medium businesses are the growth engine of the Australian economy. Telstra Business specialises in meeting their unique communication needs and enabling them to get the most from today’s amazing technology. To do this Telstra has tailored a range of technology products and services which keep businesses connected to their customers. These include compelling fixed line, broadband and mobile services as well as the latest cloud computing solutions.

To be there to support small and medium business when they need assistance, Telstra has dedicated business consultants available on the phone or online via a live internet chat team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Across Australia there is a network of Telstra Business Centres, who are small businesses themselves, to provide communication and technology advice for small businesses in their local area. For medium to large businesses, Telstra has dedicated account teams to look after their unique technology needs.

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