Paying full rate for legal services is often out of the question when you’re an emerging social enterprise, or sustainable start up. One highly qualified lawyer has found ways of offering legal advice at an affordable rate, which can include exchanging payment for “sweat equity”.
Legal fees are expensive and that’s why many social enterprises or fledgling mission-led organisation end up relying on charitable legal outfits, or without any help at all.
It’s the kind of dilemma that encouraged Mick Coleman, a former partner at top tier law firm Mills Oakley, to go out on his own with a streamlined business model that allows him to provide legal and business advice at a rate these organisations can afford. How? That’s the interesting part.
Melbourne-based Box Forest Consulting has been operational only since mid-2019 but the lawyer of 25 years has already secured interesting clients such as renewable energy business DC Power, organic waste-to-energy business Pocket Rocket Pyrolysis, and land conservation not-for-profit Odonata.
Mick says Odonata is “right in his sweet spot” as a pioneer in combining commercial and biodiversity outcomes, such as a sheep farm that doubles as a conservation site for the endangered eastern barred bandicoot.
He’s also leveraging his experience working in Telstra’s legal team to service digital, technology, network and infrastructure companies, including telecommunications and energy businesses.
An avid bushwalker, Mick was always interested in conservation and this only intensified during a year-long sabbatical that involved volunteering work with Bush Heritage Australia and Environmental Justice Australia.
“Lawyers make a good living and we should be able to use our skills to support good causes, and that’s the good cause I’m interested in.”