Brevity Law stands as testament that a law firm can be the antithesis of the aforementioned negativity. Invigorated by a recent rebrand, they reside on the third floor of Cartel House. We caught up with founders Shelley Mackay-Davidson and Juliette Thirsk to find out how things are going.
Brevity, in layman's terms, means to use words in writing or speech concisely; exactly as you mean them to be understood. A sound fit for a law firm, but is the definition the only motivation for the choice? After all, Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet famously said that "Brevity is the soul of wit."
We like the sound of it. It's punchy and speaks to our ethos. We consider ourselves to be a bit different and not your run-of-the-mill law firm. The rebrand catches the eye, the name rolls off the tongue and it's easy to remember. It just fits. The vowels collaborate beautifully. It has gravitas. You can't be concise without being precise. It's harder to say something accurately in fewer words.
What was the motivation for the change from Bannister Legal?
With the old brand, we were part of a bigger group. Upon becoming independent, we felt that we weren't accurately represented by the old name and CI. It didn't appeal to us personally or professionally. It failed to reflect where we were going.
A rebrand was always on the cards. Unfortunately, we spent a lot of money rebranding under Bannister Legal before realising we didn't like the name. But, here we are, and we couldn't be happier.
It is unusual for a law firm to operate in a space like Cartel House. How is it working for you so far?
We used to operate from a small house on Kloof Street, but there was no sense of belonging. We felt isolated and decided a move would be best. We wanted to be in the heart of the city, amongst the vibe and the atmosphere. Where the dynamic people and businesses are. We investigated multiple locations but we saw Cartel House and fell in love.
We're networking here. We've met great people and that has energised us. Walking out on the street and feeling like we're part of it is such a refreshing feeling. Our clients love the space as well. We're different as lawyers and Cartel House enhances that. It's a pleasure to be here.
Our perceived service offering is far more appealing and dynamic due to the space. The vibe is premium and entrepreneurial, which is wonderful. The space is invigorating and our clients immediately understand that we're not an average law firm.
You are happy to assist any type of client, from startups to established corporations. How do the challenges differ across that spectrum?
Without meaning to sound derogatory, startups are usually a bit less sophisticated. Understandably, there are often budget constraints. Startups may lack an appreciation of the importance of legal advice. "I'll sort the legal stuff out later, when I need it" usually doesn't work. Investing in us to help set up legal structures prevents you from getting hurt later. It's money well spent.
Established corporations are more difficult in terms of making them aware of us. We came from big corporate law firms and possess significant experience of that scene. Enough to be confident that our value proposition is far more comprehensive. You have to build your reputation. We'll get there.
The team is experienced, but the firm is young. Does it take time to gain traction in the scene and earn people's trust?
The thing about lawyers is that you earn the trust of individuals. We've been on the scene a long time and clients have followed us. A lot of work comes from referrals and word of mouth. If people have a positive experience with you, they'll pass on the message.
Your LinkedIn profile lists you as a company of between 1-10 people. Does the small size of your team affect the scale or type of work you can take on?
Certainly not. We have a large network of people that have experience at the big firms but operate independently. When we need to increase our capacity, we can utilise these professionals. If there's an issue that we feel someone we know can deal with better then we can, we don't hesitate to outsource.
Do you have any specific goals that you'd like to achieve by the end of the year?
We would like to be millionaires! Kidding. Sort of.
Our goal for the year is to develop a into bit of a rockstar law firm. We want our brand to become established enough that people know who we are.
We enjoy getting to know our clients and being a part of their journey. We're excited to be a part of a future with dynamic individuals.
We're also exploring various ways of offering new legal services. We're getting creative in terms of what we can and can't provide and we're constantly looking to innovate. There's always a new and improved way to do something, if you look carefully enough. That's our aim.