Updated: Nov 4, 2021
Here at FamilyProperty, we make it our business to understand our subscribers and are committed to working with them to ensure that their businesses thrive. We’re proud to shine a light on their diverse journeys. This week, FamilyProperty’s Stefanie Costi sits down for a chat with Fiona Giannakopoulos, principal and owner of FKG Law.
Stefanie: Thanks for joining us today, Fiona. Why did you decide to be a family lawyer? How long have you been a family lawyer?
Fiona: I have been practising in family law for 12 years. I love that it is an area of practice that is technical but also requires softer human skills to resolve disputes.
Stefanie: You use FamilyProperty in your practice. What is it about FamilyProperty that makes your life easier? What features do you like the most? What do you think is the best part about it for sole practitioners?
Fiona: FamilyProperty is a valuable tool in our practice. The dashboard, the modelling of proposals and the automation of documents allows us to worry less about administration and focus on lawyering. The dashboard, in particular, has proven to be a real winner with our clients. The visual element in modelling proposals makes it easier for clients to understand the effect of their proposals and their agreement.
Stefanie: What made you train as a mediator? When did you qualify as a mediator?
Fiona: I have been a qualified mediator for the last five years. The opportunity to come into a matter and use emotional intelligence skills to facilitate an agreement was a motivating factor. This has been a great bridge for me to collaborative practice. I love working as a team to resolve family disputes in a non-adversarial way and without court intervention.
Stefanie: What made you go out on your own? What has been the most rewarding and testing aspect of starting your own law firm?
Fiona: The freedom and independence of being my own boss has been the most rewarding aspect of going out on my own. Leaving it all at the office at the end of the day is probably the most testing. It takes hard work and mindfulness to not bring matters home mentally so that I can be available for my family.
Stefanie: Being a family lawyer is tough. What makes you keep doing a job that can sometimes be a thankless one?
Fiona: It is a privilege to be brought into the confidence of your client in what is usually one of the most difficult times of their lives and to be able to assist them to navigate their new reality.
Stef: What has been your most memorable family law matter to date?
Fiona: The one where a self-represented litigant sought an order for the government to budget for and commission a time-machine so that they could go back in time to spend a missed weekend with their children.
Stefanie: What do you think the most common challenge is for family law clients at the moment?
Fiona: COVID-19 was particularly challenging for family law clients especially where there has been family violence. Accessing support and services has been an obstacle for many vulnerable people and children.
Stef: What do you think everyone involved in family law and children’s law matters can do better?
Fiona: We can take a more family focused approach to resolving family law matters, not just a client-focused approach. Our industry has come a long way in the last decade and lawyers, in my experience have become more collegiate in resolving disputes.
Stefanie: Has COVID-19 presented your practice with any challenges? If so, what are they and how do you plan to overcome them?
Fiona: Not particularly. We are an adaptable practice with a focus on technology so we were able to make the switch with ease. We were cognisant (even before COVID-19) of the need to operate remotely and to be nimble. COVID-19 has been an accelerant to our flexible model.
Stefanie: What other technology do you use in your business?
Fiona: We use Zoom to meet with clients, Trello to project manage our matters across the business, LEAP for document management, Rapidpay for billing, LawTap for appointments and other cloud infrastructure extensively.
Stefanie: Binary Zen (founded by your husband Terry) was an investor in FamilyProperty. Tell me about that.
Fiona: Terry is CEO of BinaryZen, a venture capital firm that finds, funds and invests in start-ups looking to solve hard problems. As an early adopter of FamilyProperty I introduced Terry to the FamilyProperty team and the rest is history!
Stefanie: What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
Fiona: A European holiday would be nice, Stefanie. I think we'd all like that!
Fiona Giannakopoulos is the principal and owner of FKG Law. To find out more about FKG Law you can visit www.fkglaw.com.au. You can also find FKG on Facebook here.