Running the Risk: Would You Start Your Own Law
The prospect of starting a law firm seems tempting to some particularly adventurous lawyers, but for most it is a dream that seems too risky to pursue.
For Richard Prangell it was a risk that he was willing to take, and only 5 years out from graduation he is now the director of his own boutique law firm, Viridian Lawyers.
“Starting my own practice has been the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m working on exciting projects, with interesting people, and I’m doing it on my own time. It does come with extra responsibilities and risks, but so far it’s been very satisfying,” said Richard.
An entrepreneur by nature, Richard was involved in the creation of popular student resource surviveLaw.com along with colleagues from the UTS:Law Student’s Society, before he’d even completed his studies.
Following his graduation from a UTS Bachelor of Laws in 2011, Richard began work as a solicitor at top-tier commercial law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, an experience that shaped his career path in a way that he could not have imagined.
“Norton Rose was a real eye-opening experience for me. I realised that I didn’t want to take the chance that I would be doing 12 hour days, never seeing my wife, missing out on getting to know my future children, and then be knocked back for partnership in 15 or 20 years… Essentially all my decision making from there on out was with the end goal of, at some point, opening my own practice,” said Richard.
Following his departure from Norton Rose, Richard worked as a solicitor at Kreisson Legal, a boutique law firm specialising in commercial advisory.
“What was fantastic about working at Kreisson Legal was that I was able to work directly with the Partner that I was reporting to, and I was able to work directly with clients. Over time I was able to build up my own client base which was very satisfying, and I felt I was able to actually assist my clients in a meaningful way,” said Richard.
Having developed his professional skills, Richard decided the time was right to start Viridian Lawyers - a move that has provided him with fantastic opportunities, as well as a number of challenges.
“As a director of your own firm one of the difficulties is managing your life when you’re always on the clock; you will probably be taking phone calls when you’re on holidays… But the upside of that is that you are able to manage your own time, and you can try to maintain the work-life balance that you want,” said Richard.
Richard encourages aspiring lawyers and graduates to consider having a goal of starting their own firm, and to be confident in the skills that they have acquired.
“Many law graduates don’t actually realise how much they know, and how many problems they’re capable of solving. I think the average law student would be well served to keep opening their own law firm in the back of their mind as an option, because it is something that’s achievable, and that’s definitely within the scope of their ability.”
Story by: Jessie Goldie
Photo: Richard Prangell
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