Lawyers raise the bar

FIRM BELIEFS: Dan Simmonds and Allison Bruce in Albury ahead of the opening of a Harwood Andrews office in David Street on February 8. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Albury will gain its first B Corporation and the biggest on the Border when law firm Harwood Andrews opens an office within weeks.

The largest regional Victorian legal firm will set up a branch in David Street on February 8.

The parent company of law firms Harwood Andrews and Sladen Legal, Lantern Legal Group,was certified as aB Corporation in March 2015.

Harwood Andrews managing principal Dan Simmonds said the Albury office was the first foray into NSW for the firm which had offices at Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

Mr Simmonds said the firm would extend its reach for commercially-focused law to the Border.

“Our four key areas are property, commercial law, wills and estates orsuccession planning and family law,” he said.

Mr Simmonds said the B Corporation certification –requiring companies to meetsocial sustainabilityand environmental performance standards –aligned with the values of Harwood Andrews and Sladen Legal, which now employed 173 staff.

He said lawyers had historicallyhelped theircommunities outside the workplace.

“Our staff provide support to the not-for-profit sector,through pro-bono legal services, sitting on boards and through helping with governance,” he said.

“This reinforces support for the community.”

Mr Simmonds said the firm tooka proactive approach to protecting the environment.

“Our internal greening committeefocuses on improving our environmental impact and we are active members of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA),” he said.

The AusLSA promotes sustainable practices across the legal sector.

Of the firm’s25principals, two-thirds are younger than 45, 38 per cent are women and more than 30 per cent work flexible working arrangements.

Albury wills/estates law specialistAllison Bruce will headthe Borderoffice, which will initially employ three.

Having spentsix years withRobb and Associates and previously as a family law mediator, Ms Bruce looked forward to the new post.

“It’s a progressive and innovative firm with really good technology,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to the level of expertise I’ll have access to for myself and clientsand all the efficiencies you get from a large firm.”

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