University of Southern Queensland led study to help law firms thrive in changing landscapes
Although the past few years have been filled with change and uncertainty, Queensland lawyers have risen to the challenge, adapting their practices and preparing for the future.
Now, a team of researchers led by the University of Southern Queensland’s Professor Caroline Hart, together with University of Queensland Associate Professor Francesca Bartlett, are investigating how smaller law firms can better survive and thrive in this climate of dynamic change.
Upon request from the Queensland Law Society, the team is delving into the inner workings of regional/rural/suburban sole, micro, small and medium sized law firms by releasing the Future Ready Survey.
The survey will focus on a wide range of factors influencing the profession, including COVID, technology, weather events and intergenerational impacts.
“Not everyone is aware of how important regional and small law firms are for our Queensland communities,” Professor Hart said.
“Our Queensland lawyers don’t just provide legal advice, they also play an important and vital role in our community, offering volunteer support to places such as hospitals, schools, sporting clubs, and rural fire services, as well as many social justice organisations.
“They are at the heart of our local communities, so it’s essential that we get involved in working with them to find out what they need to carry out this pivotal role so that they can prosper now and into the future.”
Professor Hart said the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Law and Justice has been researching regional and small law firms for over a decade.
“We understand the demands upon lawyers working in this environment,” she said.
“After a hectic schedule of taking care of clients, there’s rarely much time left over for anticipating what new challenges are on the horizon.
“In recent times, we’ve all realised that none of us can anticipate these challenges.
“And this is where the university can be most useful to the Queensland legal profession – to engage with lawyers and to carry out the research to work out what resources are needed and to get those resources out into the profession.”
“We want to hear from as many Queensland lawyers as possible – especially if you’re working as a sole practitioner, or in a small or medium law firm, or in a community legal centre,” Professor Hart said.
“We particularly need to hear from as many regional, rural and remote lawyers as possible, so that we can get a real sense of how challenges are being experienced, and what support and resources are needed.
“All the research we carry out is confidential and de-identified and bound by national standards.”
Professor Hart added the survey takes around 25 to complete.
“Yes, it is quite a detailed survey, but it is about finding out directly from you – the lawyer – about the challenges and barriers, as well as things that have worked for you. And that takes time.”
To register for the Future Ready Survey, click here.