09:36, July 14 53 0

2017-07-14 09:36:10
Vario launches growth target in Australia as Paul Garth leads recruitment drive

Pinsent Masons has set a recruitment target of 50 to 80 lawyers to join Vario in Australia by April 2018.

The firm announced in March that it would be launching its flexible-working hub in its Sydney and Melbourne offices.

Pinsent Masons also brought in account manager Paul Garth from GRM Search last month to head up the operation. He is now tasked with reaching this number in roughly 10 months.

While Vario does not release its financial figures, it recorded 30 per cent growth in turnover last year following on from the 40 per cent growth it registered in 2015/16. Lawyers using Vario also grew to over 300.

Vario director Matthew Kay said that the service would not mirror operations in the UK, instead they would be operating a “tailored and culturally-relevant” service which includes a personality test due to a difference in culture between the UK and Australia.

Kay said: “Certainly, Varios in both the UK and Australia are relaxed, resilient and flexible; however there are some small but important differences.

“Our research shows that Australian lawyers are more straight-forward in their communication style, and a more relaxed, collegial-style culture pervades corporate Australia meaning hierarchy is less accepted.”

Speaking to The Lawyer, Kay confirmed that he was currently interviewing for a new account manager to expand the team and that Australia was “just the first ‘next’ country”.

While Vario has traditionally been a model for more established lawyers, it has seen an increasing shift over the last 18 months with more junior solicitors joining.

Kay said: “It’s been adopted by the more senior lawyers, those in private practice for 10 years or more, and they’ve decided to not pursue a partnership position.

“Now, we’re seeing it become every more attractive to junior lawyers, those with three years post-qualification experience. We’re living in a gig economy and it helps younger generations who are looking for more control.”

This follows turnover growth of 11 per cent to £432.1m as well as rapid international expansion as four new offices opened their doors in the last 18 months.

In 2015, a three-partner hire, including head of Australia David Rennick, announced the firm’s arrival in the market and that Vario would operate out of its Sydney and Melbourne offices.

Vario’s opening reaffirms Pinsent Masons’ commitment to technology after the firm saw partner and Vario co-founder Alison Bond depart while Kay entered last year. Lindsey Meredith also joined as an account manager in January.

Pinsent Masons are joined in the freelance lawyer market by Addleshaw Goddard’s AG Integrate, Allen & Overy’s Peerpoint, Freshfields’ Continuum and Simmons & Simmons’ Adaptive.