International law firm Pinsent Masons has officially launched Vario, its flexible resourcing hub, in the Australian market following extensive research on the freelancing appetites of lawyers and needs of corporates.
Dovetailing with the announcement of Vario’s impressive revenue growth for FY17 in the UK of 30% and the number of high-quality, legal professionals increasing to over , the Australian launch marks Vario’s first step in an ambitious plan to grow its best-of-breed contract lawyering service internationally.
David Rennick, Head of Pinsent Masons in Australia, said a number of the firm’s key clients were keen to tap into Vario’s flexible service and, as a result, Pinsent Masons planned to hire between 50 to 80 Australian ‘Varios’ by April 2018 even with Vario’s stringent application process.
“Vario is unlike any other freelancing service in the market as it looks specifically at finding and placing candidates with the right legal skills sets, values and behaviours with the right clients. Simply put, Vario is about providing the best possible fit of lawyer so they can hit the ground running from day one,” he said.
“Australia is a strategically important market for Pinsent Masons and this is why it’s essential to bring the best of disruptive innovation across global legal markets to our clients here. Vario complements Pinsent Masons’ other innovative services in the Australian market and helps to set us apart from our competitors.
“Furthermore, the professional services sector is changing and catching on to the modern way of working, which offers more flexibility and choice. When it comes to working in a different way as a lawyer, the contract model Vario offers is an interesting option,” said Mr Rennick.
Matt Kay, Director Vario, said despite the huge success of Vario in the UK, rolling out the mirror service offering in Australia was never an option.
“We’ve done a great deal of research to ensure Vario’s offering works for the Australian market. As part of this process, a business psychology company has carefully revised Vario’s personality test for Australian lawyers to apply to joinn Vario.”
Interestingly, being a successful freelance lawyer in Australia and UK requires some specific personality traits such as being good under pressure, socially confident and having strong emotional intelligence alongside being a top-quality lawyer with former experience working in a leading firm.
“Certainly, Varios in both the UK and Australia are relaxed, resilient and flexible; however there are some small but important differences. Our research shows that: Australian lawyers are more straight-forward in their communication style; and a more relaxed, collegial -style culture pervades corporate Australia, meaning hierarchy is less accepted,” said Mr Kay.
What motivates lawyers to go freelance?
The benefits that appeal to freelance lawyers who want to rebalance their lives by joining Vario include:
- Access to a variety of legal work
- Achieving work-life integration
- Building new and diverse working relationships
- Learning new skills
- Achieving a balance between children and work
- Pursuing a passion or interest
- Building a start-up business on the side
- Avoiding office politics.
According to Pinsent Masons, the types of lawyers who are well suited to contract lawyering include: experienced lawyers looking for a different pace of life; parents choosing a balance between children and work; a junior lawyer who realises the traditional legal career path isn’t for them; as well as entrepreneurs and explorers looking to fund their dreams, to name but a few.
“In the short term, as we have significant client demand for the type of services Vario offers, it’s natural that our Varios will initially align with Pinsent Masons’ core focus sectors of infrastructure and energy in Australia,” said Mr Rennick
“Then, we’ll be actively looking for high-quality lawyers with solid experience in CAD, real estate, property, planning, corporate, IP, employment and TMT who are interested in working across a diverse range of companies operating in a broad scope of sectors but who all want the assurance of Pinsent Masons’ client-centric focus.”
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