Janis - I can see that you specialise in Family Law and Wills & Estates, what made you choose these two areas of law?
Lilly - When Andrew started Capelin Law he always had the vision of it being a boutique personal service firm that only practiced in specific areas of the law and did those areas really well.
Family Law and Wills and Estates go hand in hand. We find that most of our family law clients also need to review and update their Estate Planning to reflect their changed circumstances. The issues you deal with in each area are similar- family issues. It seemed logical that we would offer this service as well and so this allows us to act as a one-stop shop for our clients.
Janis - I note that you offer collaborative practice, what does that mean, and why did you feel that it was a good fit for your firm?
Lilly – Collaborative practice is a process whereby both parties agree to work together with their lawyers over a series of meetings to find solutions and reach workable agreements about the future, with the promise not to resort to court. The process is voluntary and the parties are supported by a collaborative coach and some times other professionals, such as financial advisors. It allows the parties to work together moving through the process as a team rather than on opposing “sides”.
A traditional family law experience can be slow, stressful and emotionally and financially costly as there are significant delays associated with court. We try to offer our clients a better and more family-focused solution, with court as a last resort rather than a first stop. Collaborative practice moves away from the traditional adversarial approach to family law.
Offering this process to means that we can provide our clients with more options. It also aligns with our Capelin Law ethos and our own family values.
Janis - While we haven’t been in total lock down in Sydney we have certainly seen a number of changes, were you already mostly online or did Covid make that happen more quickly?
Lilly – We were already a mostly paperless firm utilising a lot of legal tech platforms, like FamilyProperty and Josef to improve our workflows and client experience.
While we have continued to offer our client’s the option of face to face meetings Covid has definitely increased the number of meetings that we have been taking online, even though we had already been meeting our clients online for some time. The introduction of new digital signing amendments in NSW has also meant that our clients can execute their wills and family law documents digitally without necessarily needing to come into the office.
Janis - What made you first notice FamilyProperty, why did you think it would be a good fit for your firm?
Lilly – Andrew and I have always been interested in legal tech and as a small firm it is easy for us to test and implement new platforms quickly. Because of this, we’re always on the lookout for new systems that can streamline our processes, such as disclosure for us and our clients.
We were already using LawSwitch on our website to help manage our client enquiries and had been receiving a lot of great feedback so when FamilyProperty launched last year, we were very excited to try it out.
We especially find value in the online questionnaire, interactive balance sheet and disclosure capability. The platform is user friendly and easy to share with our clients and other firms. We are also loving the new BankStatements add-in and find that the platform offers a more simplified way to manage financial separations.
Janis – I can see that you are still searching for tech solutions to other problems or bottle necks in your practice. Why are you so keen to keep finding other legaltech?
Lilly – Legaltech is always evolving, so we think our practice should be too. We’re motivated to keep searching for tech solutions and improving on the platforms that we use so that we can keep up to date with recent developments.
As society continues to become more reliant on screens, especially in a post covid world it’s really important to us that our clients can engage with us easily and access our services whenever from wherever they are. Capelin Law operates completely fixed fee so we try to streamline our workflows where we can so that we can spend more time with our clients and what really matters to them.
Janis - what changes are you looking forward to making over the next year, either in your business or in your personal life, (perhaps following on from question 2?)
Lilly – As a firm, we are looking forward to engaging with our community more over the next year through our growing social media platforms. We have sponsorship arrangements with the North Sydney Brothers Junior Rugby League Club and have a new affiliation with the Northbridge Golf Club. We hope to build on those community-based associations.
We are also excited to be expanding our team and office. We have recently put on a new staff member, Chloe, and have acquired some extra office space that we have turned into a casual and relaxed meeting room.
Personally, I am most looking forward to building on the tech that we already have and use at Capelin Law. I’m really interested in this area, particularly in how it can improve family law and support and improve client experience. I was admitted as a Lawyer earlier this year so I am also excited to continue to learn and grow professionally in 2021.
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