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Catherine Brooks is a good lawyer
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I'm reading
Catherine Brooks is a good lawyer
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I'm reading
Catherine Brooks is a good lawyer
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"I explain to people I’m not a 'normal' lawyer and that our approach is to offer strategic, practical, commercial guidance as well as legal advice."
Profiling our partners
1 August 2015

Catherine Brooks is a good lawyer

Interview by Dianne Cotter
Photography by Amandine Thomas

Meeting Catherine...

It was so refreshing to sit with Catherine, principal and business development director at Moores Legal, and talk about how a law firm can work with clients to create positive change using a values-based approach.

This story originally ran in issue #44 of Dumbo Feather

DIANNE COTTER: What do you love about law?

CATHERINE BROOKS: Two things. One, that you feel like you’re helping someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s an organisation or the owner of a business: you’re making a difference to what they do. The second is that you get to be creative—even though it’s not creative artistically, it’s creative in helping people solve problems, and that’s really rewarding. You could be drafting a black and white document that looks boring, however you’re actually creating a merger and acquisitions deal, assisting a philanthropist create something amazing or even helping a shareholder with a new start-up.

I would never have expected you to say creative! Where do you find purpose in your work?

Moores is all about contributing to social good. So our family lawyers work in helping victims escape domestic violence, our Estate planning team help private wealth individuals set up wealth distribution vehicles to benefit their family and charities. We represent for-profit, for-purpose organisations to help ensure they’re running sustainably. That’s hugely rewarding.

And what’s unusual for a law firm is that you have a pre-agreed approach with your pricing.

Yes. In July 2012, we completely got rid of the billable hour across the entire firm. David Wells, our managing principal, was a real leader in this. What Moores has done is very disruptive, in both the legal and accounting sectors. We communicate with our clients to determine the scope of work and agree on a price together relating to the value of that work.

This story originally ran in issue #44 of Dumbo Feather

This story originally ran in issue #44 of Dumbo Feather

We don’t believe time necessarily reflects value, our lawyers aren’t watching the clock and billing in that six-minute increment manner.

Tell us about the Not-for-Profit Assist Legal Membership Service.

It’s about trying to share more of our intellectual property with the for-purpose sector. If someone signs up, they can call us at any time and access our lawyers who are experts in a range of legal areas. There’s no cap on the number of times an organisation can call or how long they can speak to us for. Our members also love our 30-minute response time.

What challenges do you face given people’s cynicism towards lawyers?

We do sometimes get pushback from clients asking, “Why do we have to involve lawyers?” It comes down to communicating that we do things differently.

We’re about building a relationship with our clients that is supportive. I explain to people I’m not a “normal” lawyer and that our approach is to offer strategic, practical, commercial guidance as well as legal advice.

Describe the world you want to live in.

I believe all children deserve access to education, and that there shouldn’t be a single homeless person in Australia. I want to live in a world where there’s greater social equity. I think the values of Moores really reflect that as well.

Dumbo Feather partners

At Dumbo Feather, we only partner with businesses that are values-aligned. This means—for starters—that they demonstrate a commitment to positively impacting the world.
Read more about how we partner.

Dianne Cotter

Dianne’s media experience started at Style Counsel during Uni. Since then, Dianne has worked with globally significant brands including Gourmet Traveller, MTV, Nickelodeon and The Difference. Dianne’s passion for creating meaning for brands is evident in her approach to sales and marketing—so give her a buzz to discuss how you can get involved with Dumbo Feather.

Photography by Amandine Thomas

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