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Australasian Lawyer: "Estate planning opportunity seized to aid progressive firm’s super-growth"

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by Sophie Schroder | 27 Aug 2014

Progressive law firm Keypoint Law has just added to estate planning to its practice repertoire after two prominent lawyers joined the firm this month.

Estate planning experts Michelle Meyer and Michael Eyers AM are the newest team members of the firm, which has no billable-hour targets and offers fee earners 70% of what they bill.

This brings the lawyer number up to eight since Keypoint launched in Australia 10 weeks ago.

Meyer is one of Australia’s leading estate planning lawyers with extensive commercial experience. Prior to joining Keypoint, she was the founder of NextGenLaw, a boutique estate planning and business succession firm with combined personal assets in excess of $1.7 billion.

The other new recruit, Eyers, is a former partner at both Blakes (now Ashurst) and Atanaskovic Hartnell, and a former director at Macquarie Corporate Finance. He’s held senior roles in both the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, including as deputy CEO of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, director of housing in NSW, and as an adviser to the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and to Infrastructure Australia.

The CEO of Keypoint Law, Warren Kalinko, told Australasian Lawyer that he’s delighted the two new appointments allow the firm to expand into the ever-important estate planning space.

“It’s an increasingly important [area] because we have an ageing population, and as Australian baby boomers move towards retirement, they are increasingly concerned about [the future],” he says. “There is more and more focus on that, so it’s a real opportunity for the firm to be involved with that and provide support to our clients about these kinds of issues.”

Kalinko says Keypoint has been growing on average by one senior lawyer a month since it opened in the Australian market.

A branch of British law firm Keystone Law, its lawyers work under a hybrid model that allows for the flexibility of sole practice, while giving the benefits of a traditional firm structure.

Although the lawyers work from their own offices for day-to-day work, the central Sydney office provides all the normal services including meeting rooms, referrals, marketing, PI insurance and invoicing.

“I think that the clients like what the firm has to offer because they’re essentially getting senior lawyers providing them with a personal service in a firm structure, with reduced overheads,” Kalinko says.

Keypoint is constantly on the lookout for senior lawyers in terms of expertise, those who are themselves interested in the firm’s model and those that have longstanding client relations, he says.

“We have a few areas where we don’t have expertise at present: We’re looking to grow property, and tax – those are the two areas that are of particular interest to us,” Kalinko says. “We’d like to offer a full service suite of services. We’ll grow as the opportunities present, but we’re keen to do it as fast as that allows us to.”

Keypoint Law’s new practice area will cover all aspects of estate planning law including wills incorporating sophisticated testamentary trusts, powers of attorney and enduring guardians, superannuation death benefit nominations, probate and administration, review of family trusts and self-managed superannuation fund trust deeds, business succession, binding financial agreements and estate litigation.