Virtual Legal Founder Katie Richards is an entrepreneur, lawyer, educator, author and Innovator. Here, we ask her about her career and what a typical day looks like.
I grew up in a small country town where there was a fairly significant divide between the wealthy families in own and the rest of town. Unless you were from a wealthy family, it was just an the way that you would not have the same opportunities as other people and would never have access to a lawyer to protect yourself or invest in your future. People wouldn’t have the confidence to change their stripes because it was just not done. The help was not there and in any event, there was one lawyer in town to look at contracts and they couldn’t act for everyone, so they just worked for the wealthy. I decided a long time ago that if I was going to do my bit to enhance mankind, that I needed to address the inability for everyday Australians to access assistance with legal questions, so that each person would have the chance to improve their own lot in life if they wanted to. That’s why I built Virtual Legal.
Virtual Legal is an online law firm causing significant disruption to the legal industry in an effort to ensure all Australians have access to legal services regardless of where they live or what they earn. Effectively, the company is known for running everyday legal transactions such as conveyancing, leasing, business/franchise purchases and sales, wills and estate planning, drafting business contracts and providing start-up packages. We use DISC profiling to match client personalities to lawyers for a natural click. We also use online technology and an app to ensure all parties in a transaction are on the same page and receive live notifications.
We operate in a ‘cookie-cutter’ style for standard transactions and provide ‘outcome-based’ fixed fee billing so that clients can budget for costs and trust that they won’t increase if and when issues arise in the transaction – we just get it done and delight our clients with service over and above all expectations. The next 12 months will see our practice roll out in Northern Territory and South Australia, and we will be looking to introduce gamification into the transaction process to make education and staff targets fun. We are also preparing to launch in New Zealand in January 2016.
I had to learn to take better care of myself as I have always worked very long hours and tirelessly, but this doesn’t always produce the best results. So the hardest thing for me to learn was to slow down, take good care of myself in terms of taking time out and engaging in mindfulness, so that I could turn up as the best version of myself and be more productive in less hours.
I get to help people change their own lives. We generally have people come to us very nervous with big dreams and no idea how to execute, and we equip them with education, support, advice and risk protection, plus practical advice for future planning. By the end of the transaction, they are focused and confident and we receive some of the most heart-warming emails telling us what a difference we have made for them. What we do is not always easy but seeing that positive change makes it worth it.
I don’t think diversification should be contained to gender. I believe a strong business has diversification of thought and skills and we should be looking for the right person for that role, ensuring that there is an open and equal opportunity for people of either sex, race, background, etc to make a contribution and to be supported to become the best versions of themselves.
I am in the 5am Club with several of my crowd from The Entourage so my day starts at 4:50am so that I can dial in or check in at 5am, then spend 30 mins doing self-development and journaling, then exercise. I get to the office around 7am and my day can go in any which direction. It generally starts with checking emails and Google Alerts to check articles written around the world about online technologies so that we can stay at the cutting edge to provide exceptional outcomes without ever meeting our clients. My staff are empowered to manage their own files so we meet at 8am to discuss workloads and critical dates then work is reallocated if necessary. My day usually then moves into working on strategy for commercial transactions and having meetings with other referrers, clients via skype, preparing blogs, writing content for social media and online videos, creating precedents, motivating staff and then of course planning, forecasting and reporting.
I don’t really have a favourite travel destination. I travel around the world racing marathons so my next three are Rio on 29 May 2016 then Antarctica in March 2016, then my final continent being South Africa next June to race the incredible Comrades race (89km).
I have other businesses so I would be doing those but I also love cooking so I’d love to do something in relation to food and flavour creation.
I grew up in a small town environment where it was rare for women to have careers or business aspirations. So being a part of the Australian Women’s Network gives me the confidence that women can achieve anything and we now live in a world where the support and encouragement is openly provided not only by the Network but by those connected in some way to the Network. Let’s face it – who doesn’t want to see their fellow comrades hit their goals and become the best version of themselves.
The Australian Women’s Network provides a platform to network with other leading business owners, learn from their inspirational success stories and learn valuable tactics that you can apply in the running of your own business to bring about your dream outcome.
A global network of intelligent, successful and interesting women, we campaign for lasting change by bringing together the best brains and the most dynamic and visionary thinkers across a diverse range of industries.
Our mission is to help women develop their leadership qualities, and empower them through wide-lens leadership development.
For more information please contact Sarah – Customer Service Director on firstname.lastname@example.org