Disrupting the traditional work and model of lawyers
For UTS business and law alumna, Carly Stebbing, the legal profession needs a big shakeup. That’s why she decided to take a leap of faith to leave behind her successful career as a partner of a commercial law firm and launch her own legal tech startup, Resolution123.
It was March 2017 when the Law Society of NSW handed down the Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession Report (the FLIP report). The same year, UTS business and law alumna, Carly Stebbing decided to leave behind her successful career as Partner at a commercial law firm and take a leap of faith to start her own business.
“It had been on the backburner for a while … but [the report] validated everything about my business idea,” said Carly.
“Clients are demanding quicker, simpler and more affordable legal services and this requires new methods of legal service delivery using technology.”
From traditional work to startup founder
During her time working in traditional legal practice, Carly Stebbing witnessed the problems present in our legal system and knew something needed to change. But it wasn’t until she became a mother that she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“For me, going on maternity leave was transformational … It’s actually a really great time to stop and think about whether you want your career to continue on the trajectory that it’s on or whether there’s some other path for you.”
As a mother trying to re-enter the workforce, Carly also got a first-hand taste of the inaccessibility and inflexibility of traditional legal work.
“As a lawyer, the idea that would just work part-time and work three fixed days a week for example – that doesn’t fit in the profession,” she said.
“Women are not equally represented in senior legal positions because the system wasn't made to accommodate primary carers.”
Carly Stebbing went on to co-found Resolution123, a startup that offers quick, simple and affordable employment law advice to employees.
Resolution123 uses intuitive technology to identify if an employee is eligible to make an unfair dismissal, general protections, or a workplace bullying claim. The app helps employees to build their case and matches them with experienced employment lawyers.
With the help of the UTS Startups community, Carly was able to access the support and resources she needed to balance entrepreneurship with motherhood.
“The UTS Startups community has provided a place that I can come to which is out of the house which is really great and it’s meant that I can leave my kids when I need to and have a space to work that’s not in the home,” she said.
Carly says she’s often asked by other law professionals whether they too should leave traditional legal work and pursue a career in entrepreneurship.
“One of the most invaluable things about being part of this community is you’re constantly taught to stop and question why you’re doing this, what’s the problem you’re solving, what’s your unique solution, have you validated it, where’s the market for it, is it sustainable, is it profitable?”
“My overriding advice to anyone asking whether they should take the leap is not an unequivocal yes, it’s why? Why do you want to do it?”
Carly’s ‘why’ was the ability to work flexibly and continue a career that was fulfilling, exciting and meaningful.
The future of the legal profession
Having tried, tested and succeeded in a traditional law career, Carly Stebbing says that technology and entrepreneurship is the future of the legal profession and the ability for current students to embrace innovation and look for opportunities is the key to success.
“When I was admitted to practice in 2008 the career path was exactly as it had been for decades before that,” she said.
“If you are not across the use of AI in law and open to embracing it you are going to find it very hard to find work at the end of your degree. If you embrace technology and continuously challenge the traditional law model, you will thrive,” she says.
Running a business, building your own career and raising children is no mean feat but Carly Stebbing says that it’s been well worth the effort.
“Is it hard? Yes. But being a lawyer is hard. Being the partner of a law firm is really hard. So, the flexibilities and benefits gained by going out on your own as an entrepreneur can be great.”
Think there might be another path for you? Take charge of your future with UTS Startups.