Canberra law firm recognised for explosive growth and people-centric workplace

James Coleman 29 November 2021
Reception at Chamberlains Law Firm

The reception at Chamberlains Law Firm on Bunda Street in the Canberra city. Photo: Chamberlains Law Firm.

A Canberra law firm has recently been named as one of Australia’s fastest growing and most people-centric law firms in two separate lists by Australasian Lawyer magazine.

In this year’s ‘Fast Firms’ report, Australasian Lawyer honours the 15 law firms that showed the highest degree of resilience and momentum during the challenging COVID-19 period.

Chamberlains Law Firm has been named in third place.

The firm was also top of Australasian Lawyer‘s Employer of Choice 2021 list for those with one to 99 employees.

Founded in 2006 on Bunda Street in Civic, Chamberlains has more than doubled in size during the past 18 months to become one of the biggest law firms in the ACT in terms of headcount, transforming from a local law firm to a mid-tier firm with national presence.

A milestone in achieving this growth was combining forces with another Canberra law firm, Howes Kaye Halpin Solicitors (HKH) in October 2020.

HKH had been on the local scene for 40 years and the merger saw it integrated under the Chamberlains banner.

Chamberlains Law Firm managing director Stipe Vuleta

Chamberlains Law Firm managing director Stipe Vuleta. Photo: Chamberlains Law Firm.

Chamberlains also has offices in Sydney, Newcastle and Perth, but managing director Stipe Vuleta describes Canberra as the “cultural heart” of the firm.

Stipe started on his journey into law after considering architecture and design, but he was drawn to the opportunities that law offers for meeting people from all walks of life.

“The law is quite a traditional area, whereas we have found that excellence is about those really basic customer service things such as being empathetic, caring, understanding what they need, whether they be a company, an individual, or a big multinational,” he says.

Since January 2021, Chamberlains has taken onboard an additional seven solicitors so the firm has “specialists in every area”, says Stipe.

On top of the growth in headcount, revenue and locations, the firm has expanded its service offerings to include multiple new practice areas such as family law, intellectual property and personal injury.

It has also expanded to take on work in several growing niche sectors such as cryptocurrency, cannabis and equine law. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chamberlains has taken a fresh approach to its social media channels and online offerings.

Throughout the year, Chamberlains broadcasts several live sessions on different topics aimed at educating other professionals and the general public on different legal topics.

Several local small businesses signed up to its subscriber retainer package during COVID-19 lockdown, which aims to help businesses with legal work.

Chamberlains has also expanded on its wills platform, which is offered free of charge to frontline workers and multiple charities.

Tandem bike on display at Chamberlains Law Firm

Tandem bike on display at Chamberlains Law Firm in Canberra. Photo: Chamberlains Law Firm.

The firm also launched an online tool for startup businesses to determine if they could qualify for tax advantages, and added another tool for potential injury and compensation clients to check their eligibility for compensation.

Chamberlains was appointed to two government panels throughout 2020, and the firm and its staff were recognised in five different nominations and awards. Mr Vuleta took home two of these as a finalist for ‘Law Firm Leader’ in the Australian Law Awards, and Australasian Lawyer Rising Stars 2020.

But it isn’t all about numbers and titles. During the past 18 months, mental health became a top concern for Chamberlains, which ramped up its efforts to ensure staff wellbeing.

Stipe says his staff engaged in a few collective activities that helped them get through lockdown such as gift-giving, producing funny videos for one another, and playing music together.

“The pandemic has most deeply affected our culture in that it has allowed us to grow more empathetic as an organisation and has seen our staff rally together despite the negative impacts of isolation and uncertainty,” he says.

“You can really make an impact on people’s lives in law, and I find that really satisfying.”

For more information, visit Chamberlains Law Firm.

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