Aussie NewLaw firm infiltrates NZ market

by Samantha Woodhill22 Jun 2016
Aussie NewLaw firm lexvoco has gone Trans-Tasman, opening up shop in New Zealand.

The firm, which seconds in-house legal talent at a lower cost to traditional outsourcing, is the only NewLaw firm currently operating in both Australia and New Zealand.

Former GC Stephen Mullins has been appointed NZ general manager and senior legal counsel.  He said the similarities between the markets are surprising given the small number of NewLaw firms infiltrate the legal market.

“Because we are really the first of our kind to really come here, there is less knowledge of NewLaw in the market,” he told Australasian Lawyer.

“Over the past 6-8 weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time meeting with prospective clients, really to sound them out on what we do in Australia and therefore what we are looking to do here in New Zealand and that’s been met with a lot of enthusiasm.”

“It seems that legal teams here, just as they are in Australia are pretty much facing this more for less challenge, being demanded to provide more legal services at less cost with lower head count.”

Anthony Wright, principal of lexvoco, said the launch of a New Zealand office came from the demand from Australian clients, enquiring whether the firm could do work in New Zealand.

“There are not many businesses from Australia that can justify a New Zealand in-house lawyer and often the Australian legal team would have to try and do the work,” Wright told Australasian Lawyer.

“Most of the time that was ok, but the fact is they are not New Zealand lawyers so they would have to brief it out to the top firms anyway.

“So we were starting to get enquires from our Australian clients about whether we can help them do New Zealand work.”

The firm will look to expand into other parts of the Asia-Pacific legal market over the next 12 month period.