Australia's first non-profit law firm has opened a Gold Coast office.
Australia's first non-profit law firm has opened a Gold Coast office. ER09

Offering a New Way through non-profit law firm

AUSTRALIA'S first non-profit law firm has opened a Gold Coast office.

When CEO Carolyn Devries established New Way Lawyers as Australia's first non-profit law firm in 2009, the most common response she received was "a non-profit law firm - is that even possible?"

More than 3500 clients later and with a third office just opened at Treetops Square, Burleigh Waters, people continue to respond to the firm's unique operating model with a mixture of surprise and enthusiasm.

New Way Lawyers is recognised and registered as both a non-profit organisation and a law firm, with the vision that the practice of law will become more about people and less about profit.

The operating model addresses the growing gap in legal service provision where people may not qualify for government-funded legal services but then cannot afford the cost of a private law firm operating on a commercial basis.

Unlike normal law firms, New Way Lawyers does not have any partners or shareholders and there is also no financial benefit for individuals who serve on the board of directors. This means the fees charged for services are simply to cover operating costs rather than to generate profit.

Generally, New Way Lawyers fees are about a third less than those charged by normal law firms. In addition to providing more affordable legal services, New Way Lawyers' unique non- profit model also encourages a more genuine culture of client care than other service provision models.

"In the absence of pressure from investors and the restrictions of government funding," Carolyn said, "the lawyers at New Way Lawyers are free to be involved in complimentary client care activities, such as referring clients to appropriate support services, which can ultimately result in more holistic and personalised outcomes."

In 2012, Carolyn was announced a triple finalist in Telstra Queensland Business Women's Awards, the White Pages Community and Government Award, the Nokia Innovation Award and the Marie Claire Young Business Women's Award, for her work in establishing New Way Lawyers. She was subsequently announced the winner of the White Pages Community and Government Award.

The New Way Lawyers' team has grown to nine lawyers between offices at Corinda, Capalaba and now Burleigh Waters. As a community service, the firm also offers free legal education and information sessions to local community groups who wish to learn about topics relating to family law or estate law.

Community groups are welcome to call the New Way lawyers office to book a session facilitated by one of their lawyers.

Details about New Way Lawyers' new Gold Coast office or to schedule an interview, contact Carolyn Devries by email at carolyn@newwaylawyers.com.au or by calling 0458 912 324.


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