A new boutique legal management consultancy formed by former Janders Dean directors Allister Spencer and Natalie Kuebler will formally launch today (20 April), focusing on legal services analysis and design, business transformation and new technology implementation.
Altruistic Ventures takes its name from the desire to provide a holistic approach to legal management consulting and Kuebler told Legal IT Insider: “When we speak to people about how we like to work they often say ‘that’s a very altruistic view’ because we’ve always had a strong view that the value of a team outweighs any individual. The outcomes we’ve seen from a highly functioning team are worlds apart from the alternative, where you have people looking out for themselves as individuals and not the ultimate benefit of the business. Altruistic Ventures is about having your heart in the right place.”
Kuebler adds: “What we’re trying to get to is that at the centre of all of this law is a service, it’s a people business, and people come to law firms with problems they need to be solved. Clients want to know what are the outcomes; what’s the critical path? Most law firms are poor at that at element but it’s really simple stuff. If we weren’t all so wound up in going to look at the new shiny thing and talking nonsense about it, we might be able to get it right.” The company will include former fellow Janders Dean employees Michelle Wilkie and Jessica Cook in Australia.
Ultimately Kuebler and Spencer want to work not just with law firms but also with their clients. They have a finance and tech background: before joining Janders Dean, Spencer was business systems manager at McCullough Robertson and spent a year as a consultant at NextLegal. Kuebler was senior engagement manager at Intapp and before that worked at Minter Ellison as a business process analyst. She also spent almost nine years at McCullough Robertson as a business analyst and business improvements and projects consultant.
As part of the launch Altruistic Ventures is announcing three initiatives. Altruistic Endeavours is a recurring invite to submit a business case with endorsement from clients to secure a retainer of Altruistic hours and Kuebler told us: “If we think the idea will bring about true change for clients of legal industry services, then we want to help deliver that initiative.”
Legal Meth Lab will involve ideas sharing. Experts will share their capability and knowledge of practice areas and the community will be invited to engage and to drive the discourse. The idea is to turn it into something of a roadshow.
And Legal Halo – taking its name from the concept of the halo effect, Legal Halo will work to unpick some of the hype around legaltech and legalops products and services. Kuebler says: “It you serve something deep fried with lettuce people will say it’s healthy because it has salad. We are looking at how does that apply in legal? People call it ‘AI’ because it has automation, it’s fascinating.”
Kuebler and Spencer have previously been heavily involved in major systemrollouts and it’s understood that at Janders Dean there was a divide of direction, with founder Justin North keen to distance the company from large tech implementation projects.
The pair are currently working on a PMS implementation, a shared services restructure, new business intake advice and some advisory work helping a vendor on product design and developing their roadmap.
Post COVID-19 many new projects have been put on ice by law firms but Kuebler said: “What we’re seeing is a lot of really rapid responses that are not a well-considered response. We’re very quickly seeing furloughing and pay cuts and negative press around what people are doing. Now is a really good time for firms to ask ‘what could we have done to avoid being in the position we are.’”
She adds: “We’ve seen for a while the need to revisit the traditional law firm organisational structure. As firms are using this time to make changes to their staff, it’s a good time to consider this in the context of their entire structure, and ask how should the new world look?”