Janelle Kerrisk - In Focus

Is there a more hard-working, successful leader of NewLaw in Australia than Janelle Kerrisk? Ok, we might be hugely biased (and we really want to make her blush with that statement), but Janelle is legitimately one of the leading lights in the Australian legal industry bringing positive change to the profession.

Janelle is a founder of both Helix Legal, a successful Construction Law practice in Brisbane, and Law Lancer!

Having studied law in North Queensland and practised as a solicitor, Janelle had a meteoric rise to become the youngest female partner at a leading Australian firm. Growing a practice in construction law, Janelle understood the importance of being able to stay dynamic and constantly improve on how she could help clients.

While she was extremely successful, ultimately Janelle wanted more control over how she could develop her practice and implement a lot of the changes she saw would be important as technology shifts took hold. On top of wanting to be able to keep improving her service delivery, Janelle was motivated to create a workplace where people loved to be, that was flexible when it needed to be, and where they could develop their careers with real support. Recognising that implementing this in a large firm would be nigh on impossible, Janelle decided to start Helix Legal with her then business partner Sarah.

While she went through all the ups and downs of any new business in the first year, Janelle has navigated the course and grown Helix Legal into one of Queensland's most recognisable construction practices. Just as importantly to Janelle as her professional success, she has created a team that is one of the best groups of people you are likely to meet in the profession. From small beginnings, Helix now has offices in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns with a brand that is synonymous with innovation in a sector of the market where very little change has occurred for a long time.

As well as her amazing work ethic, a big part of her success with Helix was her embrace of technology both to deliver for clients and to market her firm. Having an open mind and seeking out better ways to do things ultimately lead to her founding Law Lancer.

Janelle has been tireless in giving her time to others in the legal profession and it was through her support of The Legal Forecast’s Disrupting Law hackathon that the idea for Law Lancer had its genesis. Janelle recognised that creating a platform where law students anywhere could get research and clerking work remotely would not only help countless law firms with a real need, but deliver opportunities to students independent of geography. Law Lancer is all about allowing firms to tap into the huge resource of law students around the country who would love the chance to do great work at a time that suits them. Launching later in 2019, Law Lancer will allow law students to get the experience they need, be fairly paid for it, and do it from wherever it suits them, all the while giving firms an on call resource that is flexible for their needs.

Leading is always tough, but Janelle is undoubtedly a leader in the legal industry in Australia. Forging a path for others, she stands as a great example of what can be achieved if you are willing to roll your sleeves up and step out of your comfort zone.