Interview | Reece Ramsden (Ramsden Lawyers)
1) Why do you love being a lawyer?
To be honest with you, I never wanted to be a lawyer in the beginning. I had a far bigger passion for mental health and counselling disadvantaged youth. However, once I finished my studies in that field, I recall my brother telling me I would make a fantastic family lawyer as my other skills would come in handy. He was correct, they did and paired perfectly. I love being a lawyer (in particular, a family lawyer) due to that fact that I am able to represent so many people who genuinely need the representation so they are not walked all over and so they get an outcome they are legally entitled to. I am not the type of lawyer to straight away litigate, but I definitely can get passionate about reaching fair and amicable resolutions. I am also in a position where I offer a lot of clients (who are usually the weaker party in the relationship financially) an option where they can pay me at the end. This option gives some of my clients the ability to have representation when they do not have the means to hire a lawyer at the outset. From my experience in Legal Aid right through to being Partner in a private practice firm, I know going through a separation is one of the most emotional times in a person’s life, and knowing I can help people through that to become stronger and happier in the end is why I do it.
2) We understand you have just opened a Sydney office. What have been some of the challenges and rewards so far?
I would have to say the biggest challenge for me so far would be adjusting to the fast paced corporate lifestyle the Sydney CBD provides. It is also very obvious that to make it in a city like this, you must be very good at what you do as there is a lot of competition. Coming from the Gold Coast, the general pace of the city is much slower and relaxed. Furthermore, like any new business venture, building up a new client base down here will definitely keep me challenged and busy.
One of the biggest rewards for me is my personal life down here, I absolutely love Sydney as it is such a beautiful city with amazing restaurants, bars, shops, and natural scenery. Living in the eastern suburbs is a must to all new Sydneysiders haha. Although I think the fast paced Sydney lifestyle is a challenge, it is also a reward in the sense that I am meeting so many impressive professionals from all different industries. I believe centering myself around other professionals will keep me motivated to keep on succeeding as a lawyer.
With the Sydney office in its infancy stage, I am sure I have a lot of challenges and rewards to come!
3) What has pushed you to practice all aspects of family law?
Although some family lawyers choose to practice very specific parts of family law, I love how absolutely diverse it is and it keeps me continually interested. Family law encompasses things such as property settlements, parenting disputes, private agreements, spousal / child support, domestic violence, grandparent rights, surrogacy and adoption. Each day I will be focusing on something different from this wide scope and you would be amazed at the different people I deal with through these different sub practice areas.
In addition, with my tertiary background and experience in counselling, almost all of my meetings with new clients is a mixture of counselling and law. I love that my clients are able to feel comfortable enough with me to open up about some of their most private issues.
4) You promote a focus on LGBTI+ clients. Why do you think this is important?
When dealing with any family law issue, sometimes clients can get a little bit nervous to see a lawyer knowing they are usually going to have to be open about their sexuality with them. Although practically every lawyer I know is supportive of all sexualities, there still remains some lawyers who may not necessarily know how to handle a situation professionally when a client has a family system / sexuality that falls within the LGBTI+ scope. I promote a completely non-judgemental confidential service where anyone can be themselves with me. In the last few years I have seen a rise in relationship breakdowns due to one party to the relationship changing sexuality and knowing my clients feel safe and comfortable to discuss this with me, makes me know I am doing the right thing as a progressive family lawyer.
5) What are some ways you think Ramsden Lawyers really uses technology to its advantage?
As Ramsden Lawyers is only approximately 15 years old and the Managing Partner in his early 40’s, the firm utilises all new technology platforms possible.
Some examples are:
All sections are paperless;
All lawyers have surface pros for court and meetings;
We have payment portals online and automated billing processes;
The website uses portals to upload documents;
Our boardrooms are all set up with amazing video conferencing systems for interstate employees and clients;
We use the legal software ‘Practice Evolve’ which was designed uniquely for the firm over 6 months and it reduces the need for support staff with features such as auto brief compiling etc.;
All clients forms are filled out electronically prior to or at the appointment and all clients are provided iPad’s in reception;
Faxes are a thing of the past (lol);
We use cloud servers;
Our lawyers can all log in remotely to their desktop on any device and it will be as though they are at their work desk.
6) What is your legal forecast? Where will the legal industry be in 5 years?
I think in the future there may be a shift toward the development of automated online lawyers and / or seeing as it is a big ‘sharing economy’ these days, hiring a lawyer in your suburb through an app where the client and lawyer rate each other. Law is becoming more and more competitive every day so I know law firms are regularly trying to find ways to use technology to their advantage to be cost effective. Even the Family Courts are taking a proactive approach with technology, with almost all applications now filed online, and all divorces are now completed through an online portal. It will be interesting to see what becomes in the coming years.
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