Female Leader Conversations Feature Jacqui Brauman CEO and Principal Solicitor TBA Law said, “You know what’s best for you, no one else does. Take their suggestions and advice on board, but trust your gut the most.”
Jacqui Brauman bought a regional legal practice, TBA Law, six years ago. By applying ‘new law’ methods, a liberal dose of technology and digital marketing, TBA Law has grown to five locations and provides virtual services. Jacqui’s authored six books. Three are legal books on Estate Planning. The others are on the topic of women’s empowerment and success. Jacqui’s leadership and business has been recognised with a slew of awards and most recently, Victoria’s Regional Lawyer of the Year.
How did TBA Law grow to three times the size?
I bought the firm in October 2012 from a retiring male solicitor. I was initially concerned in a country town that a young female lawyer would be too much of a change. But it wasn’t. I’m frank in my advice. I do efficient work and communicate well. Getting involved in a couple of community associations helped to know locals quickly.
After two years, I had added another two staff members, we re-branded and moved to bigger premises by my third anniversary. A lot of this growth involved embracing some more modern marketing. My first book also came out and I did a lot of guest blogging at that time. It also opened doors for me to meet other professionals in complementary fields for referral relationships.
The growth has continued, not smoothly, or without staff and IT issues. I now have ten staff plus myself across five locations. Part of being able to duplicate my services into a new location is utilising cloud software and VOIP phones. Part of my success is being fairly conservative with what I spend, and making sure I put money aside for expenses and overheads. Also, having peer mentors has been really helpful, to sit with a group of women business owners every quarter to talk business has been game-changing.
DRIVEN BY VALUES
What’s your advice to future leaders?
Keep perspective, and don’t lose yourself. Make sure you’re very clear on your own values, and don’t give in to doing things in a way that doesn’t match your values.
Also, take time for yourself to recharge. Don’t succumb to decision fatigue, or burn out on your goals if things don’t happen exactly how you want. Remember, if you didn’t move towards a goal at all, you’d still be back where you were to begin with.
BOOKS AS BUSINESS CARDS
How has being an author helped you and your business?
Two books are guides for families about the importance of estate planning in different stages of life, and the third is a bit more legally technical about the importance of digital estate planning (for your online assets). I love to write. I love to educate and am able to give the books away to other professionals to give to their clients. It’s a good business card.
The other three books are to empower women to succeed. One was a very personal labour of love – The Cult of Dissatisfaction. The other two are older publicly available texts that I have re-written with a more female touch.
What is in store for the legal profession?
It will divide into full service/trusted advisor firms, and document preparer firms. We won’t be able to be generalists, but will have to specialize in a couple of areas, and have a good team of either colleagues around us, or referral partners. Firms are already outsourcing their document preparation and paralegal work to solicitors in South East Asian countries, however I won’t do this.
We will also do more appointments virtually. Location will be less of a problem.
I hope that some areas of law will become less adversarial and more collaborative, the more women that become senior in the profession.