About 18 months ago, Perpetua Kish and her business partner Jono packed their bags and left a traditional law firm to start Balance Family Law, a firm that they call an ‘evolving micro-practice’. The lovely Pepe joins me today for a frank discussion about fixed fees, the benefits of starting a micro-practice and taking a collaborative approach to family law and how she managed to build a law firm that lets her be herself.
First things first, what is a micro-practice? Essentially, it’s a small and very lean practice in which overheads can be kept extremely low. When done right, it can come with a host of other benefits for lawyers and clients alike. I particularly loved how Pepe described it in the episode, so here’s a sneak peek:
“I think of us as scurrying little mice. We’re able to get in all the nooks and crannies and learn things that the bigger animals don’t pick up on.”
Very cool. Beyond that, having her own micro-practice affords Pepe the ability to do what she loves and to leave the rest firmly in the past. She sets strong boundaries with her clients and is clear on the fact that her firm is collaborative, non-litigious and seeks to conduct proceedings in an amicable way.
Pepe goes into fabulous detail about how she instigates and facilitates a positive separation by planting good seeds, managing client expectations and leaving the legalities and financial aspects till the end of the process.
“When I talk to a client, I always say ‘I will give you legal advice at some point. But do you want it now?’ and 99.9% of the time, the client says no. They have the foresight to say ‘I want to trust this process and I only want to hear that advice once you’ve heard from the other side too.’”
She also talks about her fixed fee journey, from under-pricing at the beginning and dealing with clients seeing ‘fixed fee’ as a massive discount sign to being 18 months in and about to launch a computer system that’ll do all the scoping at the click of a button.
About midway through the episode, you’ll find a very helpful tip for what to say to clients who try to take advantage of the fixed fee model – this will be an eye-opener for anyone who’s in the earlier stages of adopting fixed pricing or simply interested in what it can look like.
About our guest
Pepe is the Director and Co-Founder of Balance Family Law.
Her goal is for kindness to be considered a strength and not a weakness in the practice of law.
She is committed to improving the way couples and families experience divorce and separation. While the law offers legal solutions, most family law issues really need a human solution. Balance Family Lawyers strive to create solutions that consider both.
Pepe has practiced exclusively in family law since mid-2010. She is trained in conﬂict management coaching, advanced collaborative law and has obtained post-graduate qualiﬁcations in Human Services.
Pepe Kish quotes
- “When I talk to a client, I always say ‘I will give you legal advice at some point. But do you want it now?’ and 99.9% of the time, the client says no. They have the foresight to say ‘I want to trust this process and I only want to hear that advice once you’ve heard from the other side too.’”
- “Balance is the law firm I dreamt of working in when I worked in more traditional firms.”
- “[On being a micro-practice] I think of us as scurrying little mice. We’re able to get in all the nooks and crannies and learn things that the bigger animals don’t pick up on.”
- “If you’re yourself, nobody can copy that.”
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This episode is brought to you by Nexus Law Group. For those seeking positive career change, Nexus Law Group offers senior lawyers the freedom of sole practice with all the support and infrastructure you need so you can focus on what you do best – practising law. Contact Nexus to find out how you can take the next step towards a more rewarding legal career. Find out more on the Join Us page at nexuslawyers.com.au.
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