Newsletter Archive
December 2007


Marketing: Are your innovations leading to inertia?
About AustLaw: Another Kells Chairman for AustLaw
Young Lawyer Post: Retail Leases
2008 Meetings
Another Kells Chairman for AustLaw

July 2007 saw the chairman of partners at Kells The Lawyers, Roger Downs, commence his two-year term as chairman of AustLaw. He is the third Kells partner to act in the position after Malcolm Heard in 1989 and Peter Kell in 1999.

Roger explains: “This tenure is a natural progression after my service as deputy chairman for the past two years, where I had the pleasure of working closely with outgoing chairman, Praeger Batt partner, Gerard Batt. Gerard did a great job and I believe two highlights of his term was the support for the AustLaw Young Lawyers Group and the establishment of the annual AustLaw symposium. The fact Kells has offered AustLaw its support, at the highest level, on so many occasions is indicative of the high value placed on AustLaw by all the partners at Kells."

“We especially appreciate the spirit of collaboration and have seen first-hand how this has benefited Kells and all the other member firms. One striking example of this is the annual AustLaw FMRC benchmarking study where all member firms literally throw open their books and share full information … the level of trust among the members is very special and we’ve all been able to reap the rewards of learning best-practice tactics and strategies as a result of this disclosure.”

At a more personal level, Roger sees his tenure as chairman an ideal opportunity to give back to the profession. “It is no secret that this role requires quite a bit of work outside ‘normal’ office hours,” says Roger, “but the additional effort is definitely worthwhile because I really enjoy the collegiality of being involved in AustLaw at this level. One of the highlights is being able to visit member firms all around the country for our general meetings – it gives me a great opportunity to meet people at the host firm, instead of only the AustLaw liaison partner.

During the 19 years Kells has been a member of AustLaw, Roger believes the firm has benefited in many ways. “The Practice Management Group has been incredibly valuable for Kells,” explains Roger, “because we have been able to tap into the collective experience of the membership, allowing us to make critical decisions about things such as accounting software, practice management packages and marketing plans as the firm has grown and developed over the years. We also appreciate being able to send staff to CLE courses for free – thanks to AustLaw’s group-buying schemes developed and implemented by former chairman, Sam Macedone – is another great example of the benefits we enjoy.”

Looking forward, Roger believes AustLaw is facing three pressing issues:

invigorating buy-in from existing members,

gaining recognition and support from the membership, beyond the liaison partner, and

continuing to explore the expansion of member firms.

“In another two years, after my term has been completed, I hope we’ll have a few more member firms in key strategic locations,” says Roger, “and I am also looking forward to a higher degree of input to AustLaw from all levels and functional areas of the member firms!”

Pictured with Roger Downs is Kells Knowledge Manager, Helen Benge. Helen is a regular presenter at AustLaw events and has worked with several member firms on their ISO 9001 accreditations.