Australia faces significant public policy challenges that require dynamic, bold and defensible solutions. Just over a year ago, Synergy Law was founded to practice law with the freedom and flexibility to challenge the norm. Today, the Synergy Law team has grown to include twenty curious, iterative, and bold people who have used their knowledge and skills to uplift the capability and capacity of the clients they have worked with.
In this article, I would like to share what the vision of Synergy Law was when it was created a year ago, how we have built the foundations of a successful Commonwealth partner through our values and why we are excited to see where these relationships can go in the future.
Over a year ago, I left an established law firm to lead a legal start-up within Synergy Group. Mark Pattrick gave me the opportunity to play in a space that was previously untouched, and for that, I will be forever grateful!
My vision for Synergy Law was to create an end-to-end legal offering that worked with the APS to empower and enhance its capability and capacity. Its point of difference would be the way it partners with clients to gain a deep understanding of their drivers, and proactively supporting them to achieve their outcomes in a legally sound way.
There is no doubt that the terrain has been difficult, and while it has not always been a smooth ride, I think that’s what has made it so exciting. We have continued to march ahead with a growing and loyal team leaning in to help meet the challenges that our Public Service face today and prepare for those that are coming tomorrow.
Earlier this month, Synergy Law invited friends, family, colleagues, and clients to celebrate the beauty of being bold with Libbi Gorr. Given Synergy Law’s launch was subdued due to COVID-19 in 2021, we wanted to celebrate our 1 year anniversary in style – celebrating not only who we are, but what we represent and the values that we live.
Libbi Gorr, or Elle McFeast for those who remember, is a renowned Australian broadcaster in TV and radio, and also graduated from Melbourne Law school. There is no doubt that Libbi was a pioneer in the television industry, she made some brilliantly bold decisions that required her to venture on paths that were previously untouched. She was the perfect guest speaker for a legal team that was born out of the idea that law can be done differently.
The theme was the ‘Beauty of being Bold’ - we had a local Canberra jazz band, Canberra Distillery gin cocktails on tap, marvellous food canapes – it was a night to remember! Libbi spoke about the need to be willing to dare to dream, although dreaming would not suffice, it was the act of doing that creates positive outcomes.
Libbi then spoke about vulnerability - although we may be comfortable in an environment that we know, we need to be willing to push the boundaries of the possible to achieve greatness. It is this very idea that Synergy Law fundamentally practices – we exist in a world with wicked problems, and we know that tomorrow there will be even more complex and demanding challenges. What Australia needs is a robust APS that has the freedom to explore and create solutions in a proactive way by being progressive in the way they approach their legal operations.
I guess that is why I am so excited to see how Synergy Law can develop to continue to work with our Commonwealth clients! Budget 2022/23, the first delivered by the new Government, has painted a trying economic future. With the inflation dragon being resurrected and the cost of pandemic measures impacting the budget’s bottom line, the public service is being asked to do more with less. There have been over $22 billion found in savings, including legal expenses. This will make it difficult for internal lawyers as they may not have the capability or capacity to provide the on-tap legal support that is needed to keep mitigating risk and ensuring defensible outcomes. Knowing how hard it is to run an internal legal team on the smell of an oily rag, we are now working with legal teams on a solution that delivers a streamlined and more efficient way of doing legal business - a robust Legal Framework which provides a solid basepoint from which to do your Business of Law. My view is that if we are able to build legal teams that empower and upskill lawyers, enable them to work to real risk, General Counsels are able to better target their time and skills to help contribute to broader strategic departmental change, rather than day-to-day tasks that are time consuming and offer limited return or value.
We know that the good, the bad, and the ugly, help us learn – and with those learnings, the good can always look even better. That is how we will strive to work with the APS in the coming years, by building on our vision and working to our values to support the APS to deliver good outcomes for the Australian people.
Doing the same or bringing back the same old ways and tools to uplift capability, recruit and work is not the answer. It’s time to be bold. Time to do things differently.