In this ALPMA member Q&A, we interview Dion Cusack, Corporate Services Manager at K&L Gates, and recently elected ALPMA Vice President, about his role and view on the legal sector.
What does your role as Corporate Services Manager entail?
My responsibility includes property, facilities, client services, office services, work place health and safety, file audits, risk, quality and business continuity for K&L Gates across Australia. Basically, it is my job to make sure that everyone at the firm is supported and safe, to keep the lights on, to minimise our risk and ensure we comply with our quality standards.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by delivering the best and most efficient services I can for the firm. This means I spend a lot of time researching, and working with other areas within the firm to ensure that we are implementing and maintaining best-practice processes and technologies that can support or enhance our service delivery. This can often involve implementing changes to how services are delivered or provided at the firm, which is challenging and rewarding. But I enjoy making things happen, bringing people along on the journey and keeping a strong, positive outlook. My focus is on doing whatever needs to be done to within my domain to ensure the firm achieves its objectives in what is quite a challenging and evolving environment at the moment.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing law firms right now?
I think firms are facing challenges on several fronts - with increased competition from global and 'New Law' firms combined with pressure from clients to introduce alternative fee arrangements, reduce overall legal spend, and for law firms to provide greater overall value to their clients. Law firms need to reduce the cost of delivering services, at a work product level, and one way to do this is by utilising technology in new ways to introduce efficiencies, as will as ensuring that other business costs are contained. Firms also need to focus on tangible ways to demonstrate their innovativeness. All firms say they deliver quality services - but firms need to be able to clearly show and articulate their unique value to their clients.
This challenge is not new, but remains ever relevant, in that firms also need to fight the war for talent and ensure they have a compelling value proposition for staff which goes beyond just remuneration. This involves looking strategically at work/life balance and introducing flexible working models for both women and men, and providing tangible support to achieve this, such as technologies that enable working from home to be practical, including supportive leave and other policies.
What are you looking forward to in your role your as ALPMA Vice President?
I am very excited by the opportunities to expand ALPMA's presence in Asia and to extend our collaboration with other bodies with a shared interest in legal practice management and managers. ALPMA is very much focused on its community, and we will continue to look for new ways to encourage engagement and interaction within our community. I think ALPMA also has a very strong role to play to as an authoritative voice to guide and lead law firms through these changing and challenging times.
If you would like to know how your firm's compensation strategy compares to similar firms and obtain compelling insights to help you shape your employee value proposition, then participate in the ALPMA Legal Industry Salary & HR Issues Survey!
Participation is free and open to all Australian and New Zealand law firms until 31 March, 2017.
About our Guest Blogger
Dion has been the Corporate Services Manager at K&L Gates for the past eight years. Prior to this, he held accountability for financial and operational management and performance across a variety of organisations and industries.
He has been a member of the ALPMA Board since 2014, and was recently elected Vice President. He also serves as the Victorian Chair of ALPMA.
A seasoned professional leader, Dion's pragmatic and critical thinking skills enable him to achieve innovative, fresh, commercial outcomes that are well calculated, timely, appropriate and original.
Complemented by skills in human resources, technology, client, brand, strategic development, governance, business improvement and change management, Dion has also acquired specialist skills in audit, compliance, insurance, risk and business continuity management, corporate and commercial law.
In his spare time, Dion is the founder of a successful real estate investment, development and management firm.