Helix Legal is Not Another Law Firm
Helix Legal is part of the Helix Group of companies that exclusively service the construction industry. If it needs to be built, we are ready to jump in and help. From high rise apartments to sewerage treatment facilities and everything in between. We meet the usual expectations of a construction firm but with a lot of enhancements… we assist with legal due diligence through Diligence by Helix and regulatory and financial challenges through Helix Compliance.
In an industry full of tradition, we started in 2016 with only one fixed idea: how can we do better. Better for the clients we work with and better for ourselves. Our forward thinking approach earnt us a top spot on the LexisNexis 2017 Innovation index, in 2018 we were finalists for NewLaw firm of the year and in 2021 we won Innovator of the Year (Firm).
In 2019 I spoke to Lucy Dickens on her “Doing Law Differently” podcast about the Helix operational rule book and our 5 New Breed Rules:
We still hold these close now in 2022.
What we do at Helix
We built Helix Legal to more closely reflect the way that the industry we service does business. When a contractor builds for you, you understand there are stages involved in the construction. There is also a cost for each stage, a date of completion, and finishes you expect. When clients wanted the same from us as their lawyers, we decided that was not too much to ask. By changing our approach to fit our clients, we have made it easier for them to do business with us. We have established well-earnt trust and loyalty.
The value of the global construction market is expected to reach USD 14.41 trillion by 2030 but industry experts have expressed concern that this rate of growth will be hampered by an increasing costly burden on the sector – contract disputes. At Helix we work with clients to use all the skills we have at our disposal to avoid disputes while holding the experience necessary to take the resolution to a judge where required. With Helix Legal, the industry is able to better access lawyers to assist in navigating any dispute resolution process.
One of our key areas of specialisation is Adjudication. Adjudication provides a fast and effective dispute resolution option in all States and Territories of Australia. As a lawyer I have to say that this work is some of the most exhilarating I have done in my career. I love to project manage our team and the client team to achieve the best possible result in the tight time frames allowed. We offer a unique opportunity for our clients to know before heading to adjudication, where the amount in dispute is under $750K, the exact amount of legal fees it will take to get to a result.
The team at Helix are always actively working to find innovative and new solutions for the industry. We want to find solutions that can allow better decisions to be made and disputes reduced. As the construction industry evolves, we are determined to keep up to date with it. We believe that in order to do so, a strong culture of innovation must be entrenched in all levels of the business.
This includes hiring the right open-minded people who are eager to make a different way of doing things centre stage.
Our Helix Humans
We decided early on that people who work in law firms are just as entitled to joy, excitement, and happiness from their careers as any other industry. The proposition that lawyers should accept a little misery as being part and parcel with the job is not acceptable to us. We established the infrastructure that supports the humans of Helix with this in mind. Our firm culture and the Helix Humans are at the forefront of all that we do.
We pride ourselves on celebrating all achievements, big or small, business or personal. We celebrate admissions, engagements and new puppies, not end of month billing or exceeding budget. In the past 6 years, we found that if we celebrate each other and our clients, profitability flows from there.
Happy Helix Humans = happy clients, simple as that.
Since launching in 2016, our team has worked hard to ensure we maintain flexibility in our workspace. Anything a Helix Human can do in the office, they can do in any other location (as long as there is a secure network). We are fortunate to now have Helix Humans from all across Queensland working together. In the past our firm has even operated out of the UK, Germany, and France. Contrary to what some of our nay-saying colleagues sprout, we’ve found that being flexible is one of our greatest strengths. It’s allowed us to build a team without the limitations of a traditional firm.
When people step into Helix headquarters in Bakery Lane, they’re surprised by the complete omission of pomp and pretence. Whatever the complete opposite of what you imagine a law firm is, that’s Helix HQ. No corner offices, no fishbowl glass walls, no partitioned existence, and not one manila folder in sight.
A huge focus in our firm is implementing innovative solutions, not only for our clients but for our internal processes too. Within our firm, we adopt technology for the joy and fun it brings, as well as for efficiency and profitability.
We have selected suppliers who are happy to work outside the box. We have selected suppliers who have taken the time to get to know our business and its unique requirements. Our accountant for example has been with us from “idea” all the way through assisting us to navigate the COVID crisis. They have supported us to identify and monitor our key measures of success. This is entirely different to a traditional law firm because we:
- have no overdraft;
- have next to no bad debts in our 6 years;
- use standard 14 day terms;
- never carry WIP over;
- bill when we have done what we said we would do for how much we said it would be. Not at the end of the month and not to meet a budget.
Not only do we do traditional legal work, our firm focuses on the importance of education and awareness. Whether you are reading an article on Helix Insight, or joining in a conversation with us on LinkedIn, excellence through education is a high priority in our business.
Over the past 6 years we have developed our own home grown technology. We are keen to grow our ‘stack’ in the future.
Working Outside of Tradition
Of all of our achievements in the past 6 years, the one I am most proud of is the assemblage of Helix Humans that form the foundation of everything else we do. We operate within networks on projects, rather than adhering to a hierarchy. Ideas can come from anywhere, and anyone, and we’re fostering a company culture where everyone is responsible for collaboration and innovation – not just the IT department or the innovation partner.
Our culture of innovation means we are all identifying gaps or challenges and putting our heads together to develop solutions. We run a multidisciplinary practice where the contribution of construction industry professionals is valued along with that of specialist lawyers. We believe that sometimes the best solution to a client’s problem is not the black letter law answer, rather the expertise of the entire Helix Legal team is used to find the best answer for the specific client.
Doing Law Differently
Helix Legal is 6 years old and we “do law differently” in a way that is more effective, efficient and fun. We have done this to date by:
- ignoring all that is traditional law and setting up IT systems that are forward thinking and not necessarily used generally in law;
- actively embracing working remotely across all business and client projects;
- focusing on the value from our work – really understanding our clients and focusing on what the client wants, not what we want to give the client;
- providing products instead of just services;
- value pricing our services – we sell an outcome, a solution, a product;
- only working with clients that we believe in and like, and only employing and working with consultants that have the same values as us.
If you are thinking of doing something new, take the first step today. I spent 6 years as a partner as a national law firm and don’t get me wrong, the climb to equity partnership was hard but running your own firm is a different kind of hard. There are no excuses, if something goes wrong, it’s from your poor choice or your failure to prepare. This is also the most empowering thing about taking the leap, because when things go well and they often do the elation of what the team has created and what you have achieved is like nothing else. I am proud of the team we have built, and I am excited for our growth in 2023.
I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul – William Ernest Henley
We are looking to grow in 2023
If you have an interest in knowing more about Helix, please reach out. We are looking for excellent lawyers who want more from their legal career.
- Sure that there must be something better out there for you?
- Looking to use your degree in a rewarding environment?
- Keen to turn the clock off and collaborate in a team with shared goals?
- An excellent lawyer with a passion for progress
- Up for working with some of Queensland’s best and brightest in the Construction game?