Back at the start of 2020, when Corona was just a brand of beer and we all still worked in an office, I spoke to today’s guest Helen Kay about her plans to start her business, borne out of her frustrations with traditional law. Today, I’m incredibly proud of Helen who is now the owner and manager of Rise Legal and that self-described ‘crazy person who started a law firm during COVID’.  

In today’s episode, Helen Kay and I sit down and bring the conventional legal world to rights, starting with the toxic cultural norms that foster a general mistrust in lawyers. 

After years of working in top-tier law firms in Australia and the UK, Helen was fed up with the obstacles that prevent lawyers from really engaging with their clients and the systems that encourage lawyers to take advantage of their clients’ precarious situations. Receptionists, hourly billing and long letters of advice are all habits that have gone unchecked in the legal industry for years and they can all lead to – to put it bluntly – bad lawyering. 

Client feedback is everything and Helen’s clients have said that Helen is easy to work with and ‘not like a typical lawyer’. How, then, has she achieved this?  

In this episode, Helen gives us a rundown of loads of simple, practical ways to reduce stress and be more transparent with clients, from choosing the right software (find links to everything Helen mentions at the end of these notes) to learning to scope.  

Scoping, in particular, is a big deal for Rise Legal where they try their darndest to figure out a client’s end goal and meticulously plan for all possible options. The key, according to Helen, is to prove your value to your client, a radical idea that flips the whole thing on its head and ultimately de-centres lawyers from the legal process.  

In Helen’s own words, “Business savvy makes you stand out, not how good you are at law because that’s basic.” Listen to the podcast for an insightful reading of traditional law practice and invaluable advice that we could all benefit from hearing.  

Our conversation boiled down to several topics: 

  • The shortcomings of traditional law that led Helen to starting her own firm. 
  • Practical ways to humanise your law firm; eliminating legalities from client letters, scoping and using technology to your advantage (to name a few). 
  • Why it’s important to keep your client’s end goal at the forefront of your mind – Helen even names her files after this. 

Helen’s software recommendations (chronologically): 

About Helen Kay

Helen is an experienced commercial lawyer. She has worked in top-tier firms in the UK and Australia, headed up various commercial practices in boutique firms and now she runs her own legal practice (again). Helen helps business owners from start up to sale to get where they need to go by completing their commercial contracts so they can get on with running their business. 

Rise Legal is a commercial law firm (with a heart). They assist small and medium-sized businesses in solving their commercial legal issues. More than that, they take the time to really understand their clients’ unique circumstances because they know that business owners rely on commercial lawyers to help them avoid unnecessary risks and, at the same time, expect that they understand their industry and the unique problems they face. 

Helen Kay quotes 

  • “Look at everything and question it, is there a better way to do this, can I bring someone else in to help with this, if I have to do it more than once can I automate it?” 
  • “The client has to come first and everything else will slot into place.”

Find Helen Kay and Rise Legal online 

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