Small firm, Big dreams
The new kid on the block. Established only in 2018, Hamilton Locke, along with several other law-firm adjacent companies (e.g. trade mark services, cosec services etc) form part of a large corporate Group, headed by its holding company, Halo Group Holdings. Unique, we know, but these entities combined are able to provide a relatively broad range of services to its clients.
Hamilton Locke’s decision (we’re talking about the law firm now) to operate as an incorporated legal practice is not one that hasn’t been seen before (think Slater & Gordon). In fact, the firm has even revealed plans that listing (its holding company) on the ASX is part of its future. Let’s hope it goes better than HWLE’s bungled attempt. Whilst this might rub off a bit on it ever becoming something of a prestigious partnership, it does show that the firm is open to doing things differently.
The firm’s growth has been phenomenal, with just one office in Sydney in 2018, to now having another three in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. It has also taken its “partnership” to 37, and a total of over 100 staff (as of March 2022). Not a large firm by any means but hey, growth is growth. A small cohort generally also means a more tight-knit office environment, with someone saying that the “juniors and mid-levels are fun” and the partners “less d*ckheady than usual”. Overall, the culture is collaborative, social and the people, down to earth.
As with any small firm, you shouldn’t expect any flashy perks. Pay is pretty average (below or at market) and you will work hard for your pay check. Depending on which team you are in, we have heard of 10 hour days and sometimes weekend work. On the brighter side, we have been told that everyone gets a half-day for birthday leave, as well as leave for “taking up a new hobby”. We have no idea how “hobby leave” works precisely, but hell, any kind of free leave is a good thing.
The other big perk that we can’t omit is the firm ESOP. Because Hamilton Locke is not a traditional partnership and is rather, a corporation, all employees are invited to participate in an employee share plan where they are awarded shares. With an IPO in its long-term plan, you might be left with a tidy bonus one of these years.
Whilst you aren’t going to see Hamilton Locke’s name any time soon in Chambers for its Band 1 capabilities, it is a solid contender in the legal mid-market. Specifically, it has a reputation in banking & finance as well as sell-side M&A. The firm also has a “burgeoning” New Energy team that has set its sights on big things.
On training, you should not expect this to be even close to rivalling what you might receive at a top-tier law firm. However, we have been told that formal training is still “decent” and access to “partners” generally isn’t usually an issue.
Hamilton Locke touts itself as “an exception to the rule”. Let’s hope like many firms of like mind that had great hopes on an IPO, that it will in fact succeed where others have not