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Five minutes with Talya Faigenbaum, Principal Lawyer & Director, Nest Legal

As Principal Lawyer and Director at Nest Legal, Talya Faigenbaum advocates for holistic solutions focused on achieving the best possible outcome for separating families. Talya began working as a family lawyer in 2009, and has extensive experience as a family lawyer, including in property settlements, asset division, financial agreement, and negotiating parenting arrangements.

We sat down with Talya to talk about all things Family Law, and what she loves about FamilyProperty.

Tell us about your career in family law. What is your “why”?

Working with separating couples isn’t easy. There are no quick fixes or one-off solutions. It’s a journey you take with your clients allowing you to cultivate deep relationships and to draw on a range of skills. Creativity, empathy, legal reasoning, patience and deep problem solving are all part of the toolkit. No journey is the same and each is enriching and rewarding in a different way.

What led you to Nest Legal?

I was drawn to Nest’s three key values that are that core of everything we do:

1. ‘Making it easy’ which is about prioritising the client experience and taking the extra time to talk a client’s anxieties through with them rather than tracking the billable units of each phone conversation.

2. ‘Strong team, strong foundations’ means jumping in to help each other with deadlines, lending a hand so that everyone can get out the door at 5pm and using our collective minds to brainstorm, work through problems and find solutions where they didn’t seem to exist before.

3. ‘Finding a better way’ is about continually thinking about creative ways to do things better. Everyone in the team - from leadership to the front desk - is always looking at ways we can apply new technologies or developments in the profession to improve our service (and we make sure to celebrate when someone puts forward an idea that helps with that)!

All three of these are integral to a holistic and service-driven family law practice.

What has been your most memorable matter to date?

Honestly, every client story has its own memorable moments.

What has been the most rewarding and testing aspect of practising family law?

At its core, relationship breakdown is not a legal issue – it is human drama in microcosm. The challenge of family law practice is that we are grappling with the emotional struggles of our clients, like heartbreak and grief, and trying to fit them into inflexible legal rules and systems.

Yet this is also where family law practitioners can find the most rewarding experiences. By being conscious of the innate humanness of our clients we can have a profound impact on their lives (and in the process, our own humanity).

What do you think the most common challenge is for family law clients at the moment? What is the underlying theme?

The added financial and psychological pressures of the COVID and post-COVID experience is deeply challenging for families. We’re at a unique moment in history, where collectively and personally we’ve had to deal with the pressures of repeated lock downs, disruptions to family life, and in tragic cases, the death of loved ones. All this has heightened the emotional stressors of a relationship breakdown.

Has COVID-19 presented your practice with any challenges? If so, what are they and how do you plan to overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges during the repeated COVID-19 shutdowns was making sure each member of our team was doing ok. We implemented daily team huddles where we’d log in to Zoom first thing each morning to talk about the day ahead and reallocate tasks to share the workload around.

We also introduced regular one on one wellness check-ins to provide a safe space for each individual to share their struggles, assess their happiness score out of 10 and to work through barriers or hurdles as best we could. Both were fundamental in keeping our team connected and cared for, and we’ve continued doing these as we’ve returned to the physical office.

What do you think everyone involved in family law matters can do better?

Be responsive to your clients, be courteous to your colleagues, and be kind to yourself.

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 of FamilyProperty for family lawyers?

Our team loves using the interactive balance sheet to model different property settlement options in real time for our clients. The smart forms and automated document functions are also an integral time-saving feature that means our practitioners can spend more time on the strategic high-level problem-solving aspects of family law practice, rather than manual data entry and form-filling.

What other technology do you use in your business?

What don’t we use?

· Smokeball is our central practice management system

· Communicate (Smokeball’s messaging function) for file-related conversations

· Acuity for client-conference scheduling

· Employment Hero for team wellness check-ins and goal tracking

· Settify for client engagement and initial information gathering

· Team meetings in Whereby and Zoom

· Lastpass for security and password management

· Formsite for online forms and generating instant fee quotes for services

· Twilio for client text messaging reminders + alerts

· WhatsApp for team-based chats and brainstorming.

· ClickUp to project manage

· Canva for business development content

· Mailchimp for client newsletters

What are you most looking forward to in the next year? Professionally and personally?

Meeting new Zoom friends, colleagues, and clients in real life!

Talya Faigenbaum is the Principal Lawyer and Director at Nest Legal.

Talya is also a guest speaker at the upcoming FamilyProperty and Smokeball State of Family Law Conference in Melbourne on 16 June 2022 at the Melbourne Arts Centre | 11:30am - 5pm AEST.

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