It seems there is nothing like the development of a new website to prompt a deep period of reflection across an organisation. Over the past few months we have contemplated all the usual questions: What is our history? What are our values, our objectives for the future? Is that font too serious, too playful or just unreadable?
Before we developed this new website, we embarked on a lengthy consultation process with clients and with staff. We wanted to better understand the changing needs of our clients going forward and we saw in this process the opportunity to reflect on how our interests and expertise, as a team of lawyers, might best respond to those client needs. The result is, we believe, a clear vision for the kind of workplaces our clients want to achieve and a service offering that will help them to realise and maintain those workplaces into the future.
Justitia commenced as a law firm only eleven years ago. We were a small employment law firm with new ideas about the way legal services could be delivered and how our work could be done. We knew our clients wanted their legal advisors to be nimble, practical and knowledgeable, but we also had a sense that they wanted to see a law firm with a healthy workplace culture too.
Since that time, Justitia has grown in size and reputation to become a fixture of the employment law landscape in Australia and something of a champion for healthy workplace cultures.
We have been recipients of numerous awards, including ‘Law Firm of the Year’, awarded by the Law Institute of Victoria in 2013, and the ‘Sir Ken Robinson Award for Workforce Flexibility’, awarded by the Australian Human Resource Institute in 2014. Other organisations, such as the University of Sydney Business School and the Victorian Workplace Mental Wellbeing Collaboration, have profiled Justitia as a case study for businesses interested in promoting inclusion and diversity at work. Our lawyers are frequently asked to speak at conferences, to legal and non-legal audiences, about sustainable lawyering, flexible work practices and best practice strategies for supporting wellbeing at work. We see these accolades and opportunities as recognition that at Justitia we are doing something different, and doing it well.
At Justitia, we want to work with our clients to create workplaces that are progressive, healthy, commercial and sustainable. We know from our own journey that when organisations dedicate themselves to these objectives they achieve greater employee engagement, higher productivity and, ultimately, business success.
At the request of a colleague who felt our flexible working model could do with a new name, I recently returned to Yvon Chouinard’s classic memoir, ‘Let My People Go Surfing – The Education of a Reluctant Businessman’. Chouinard, the founder of outdoor gear company Patagonia, has much advice to offer to those who are looking to create exceptional workplaces. He advocates a flatter, democratic management structure, a movement of common belief amongst staff and customers alike, and a new approach to supporting staff in pursuing their own interests. The theory, in essence, is that a happy workforce produces a happy and productive organisation.
At one point in the memoir, Chouinard quotes Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand, who said:
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
I consider that thought to be an excellent starting point for Justitia’s next journey, heralded by this new website. I hope you like what we have produced.
Sarah Rey is the Managing Partner at Justitia. To view Sarah’s profile, click here.