ReinventED Legal Business: The Case Studies

ReinventED Legal Business: The Case Studies – MELCA and Smart Separation

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On 4 April 2022, as a session in our ReinventED Legal Business: The Case Studies series, Terri Mottershead, Executive Director, Centre for Legal Innovation (Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific) chatted with Marguerite Picard, Director and Accredited Family Law Specialist at MELCA and Smart Separation.

MELCA is an interdisciplinary collaborative centre, which Marguerite established with a financial planner and a psychologist. They provide collaborative practice and mediation services for separating couples, focusing on genuine and deep resolution of conflict to support healthy separations.

Marguerite's departure from traditional legal practice came from her belief that there was a better way to practice and, that she wanted to tip divorce on its head. Her aim then and now has been to change the perception and reality of what it is to be a lawyer, and to change the system by encouraging an alternative to emerge.

The journey has been a passion project as well as a business. It has not been an overnight success. It's taken the business from Melbourne to Brisbane and Sydney and Gippsland, and online too! But, it has never wavered from a belief in interdisciplinary practice and staying true to a vision for change.

Key features of the MELCA new legal business model and practice discussed include:

  • fixed and value pricing;
  • contracting of professionals;
  • equal remuneration for professionals whether they are lawyers, social scientists or financials;
  • a described 5 step process;
  • a case managed system;
  • a client facing business; a collaborative community; and
  • a training arm.

If you would prefer to listen rather than watch this episode, you’ll find the podcast in our The Legalpreneurs Sandbox podcast series here.