Today’s guest on Doing Law Differently is commercial and litigation lawyer Matthew Karakoulakis. He is the Principal Solicitor at AMK Law, an Indigenous-owned law firm with a strong social purpose. As it often goes on DLD, our conversation runs the full gamut of law – inside and out – from technological innovations to how Matthew applies his brown belt in Jiu Jitsu to the practice of law. 

As Matthew explains, he comes from a working class, part-Aboriginal and part-Greek background and it’s very much through that experience that he’s found his purpose in law. He knows first-hand the complex problems that Indigenous people face to this day when it comes to access to justice, human rights and systemic issues and he’s working incredibly hard to close the gap. 

“I want to be able to look back on my career and see that I’ve made an impact towards encouraging more indigenous commercial lawyers, better justice for the community and for indigenous businesses. That’s the vision and the purpose of the law firm.” 

This purpose manifests itself in many ways: pro-bono work for indigenous businesses, low-cost online legal advice, workshops, mentoring, talks at universities about Black Lives Matter-related initiatives and ultimately being a role model to the communities he works with.  

Like all forward-thinking 21st Century businesses, AMK has embraced technology to maximise efficiency but, more than that, to greatly increase access to justice for people who can’t afford traditional legal fees. Matthew says that one of the main differences between an Indigenous and a non-Indigenous business is the amount of capital they start with. The best example – which Matthew explains about halfway through the episode – is AMK’s low-cost, high-quality, online legal document templates that operates through a simple but thoroughly fleshed-out question and answer system.  

“Throughout our client’s journey, how can we use technology to deliver excellent legal services in the most efficient manner possible and most cost-effectively so that we can serve our clients the way they really do deserve.”  

If you know me at all, you know that I love systems, processes and checklists. I literally can’t get enough of them! But even more than that, I love a good analogy and that’s just what Matthew leaves us with in the form of a comparison between the Japanese concept of Kaizen (the art of continuous improvement) and owning a legal business. Listen to the last 10 minutes of the podcast for a rundown of how Japanese philosophy and martial arts have influenced Matthew’s sense of discipline, work ethic and leadership style.  

What we cover in the episode: 

  • The continued plight of Indigenous people in modern Australia and how Matthew’s law firm is having a positive impact on the people and communities AMK works with. 
  • Why we should harness all of our life experiences to be better lawyers and bring our authentic selves to the table. 
  • How technology (and which technologies) can be used to streamline efficiency and create a better, fairer situation for clients. 

Other quotes

  • “I think that we can always do better in whatever field of endeavor by being our authentic self.” 
  • “Boost Legal Templates is really aimed at bringing cost effective, extremely quality driven legal products into the marketplace by enabling people to access quality legal documents almost instantaneously.” 
  • “A lot of great organisations – law firms and other types of businesses as well – can have a greater impact and they get their biggest supporters when their social purpose is communicated very clearly.” 
  • “If you can have a job that is done at an excellent level and it takes a certain amount of effort, there’s no need to unnecessarily double that effort.”
  • “We can bring all of our life experiences into our legal practice … to become and be better lawyers.”

About Matthew and AMK Law

Matthew is a commercial and litigation lawyer. He is the Principal Solicitor at AMK Law, a multi-award winning boutique law firm where his focus is on empowering businesses in all stages of the business life cycle. Matthew is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and uses martial arts principles to be a better lawyer.  

AMK Law is 100% Indigenous owned and focuses on enabling great results for clients in commercial law and litigation. Their firm vision is to be “The most innovative, efficient and effective commercial and litigation law firm working collaboratively to make our clients’ lives better.” 

Find AMK Law online 

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