You might find this lawyer wearing a suit to court, but in the office, Ben Twomey is decked out in a t-shirt and jeans.
Even since wielding a gavel in a sixth-grade play, Ben has wanted to be a lawyer and if embroiled in a dispute, you’ll want his robust legal advice in your corner.
Previously a partner at a large corporate law firm for over five years, Ben went out on his own in late 2019.
Initially working solo from a shipping container at the Gold Coast Creative House, Ben now employs 11 people and the only thing stopping the business from growing, is finding staff.
“We’ve moved four times in 18 months because we keep outgrowing the space and we’re going to have to remodel our current premises so that we can fit more people,” says Ben.
Within the next two to three months, Ben plans to bring on an additional four people.
Twomey Dispute Lawyers was established on the premise of maximising efficiency and gearing up a law firm to offer top-tier advice for disputes and commercial litigation.
Whether or not a trend towards specialist law firms takes off, Ben believes there’s a better understanding within the marketplace among clients.
“I think people have realised that specialist lawyers do specialist things,” he says.
“They are dealing with one aspect of law and their whole business is built around the thing they are doing for you.
“In order to enable me to maximise the efficiencies that I wanted to; it was better to be a specialist firm.”
The way a litigation business can run at its most efficient, won’t necessarily align with the objectives of another, so Twomey Dispute Lawyers stay in their lane and concentrate on what they do best.
“I wanted to establish a firm that focused on efficiencies and create a more accessible, value-based experience for the client, while also rewarding team members with attractive packages, with bonus structures and flexible working conditions” he says.
Disputes are nothing new, they have been around for a long time, as have lawyers, often credited with being one of the oldest professions, among others.
“People are always fighting about something, it’s just what they are fighting about that’s different and that changes depending on what cycle the economy is in,” he says.
“When COVID first hit, there was a lot of employment claims, when times are good people dispute certain things, it’s the same for when things are bad.”
While the courts traditionally prefer proceedings to happen in person, COVID has certainly forced their hand to adopt greater use of technologies, a positive in way litigation runs.
“Courts are now more accessible and where things were previously less instantaneous, a dispute can now escalate really quickly,” says Ben.
“This has streamlined legal processes to a degree and certain aspects of the process have become much less time consuming and costly.”
Operating out of a converted warehouse, clients are put at ease with the company’s relaxed atmosphere, which Ben describes as anything but a law office.
“A lot of our clients are in the construction business and when they visit us it’s in a familiar environment,” he says.
“When people see us wearing a t-shirt and jeans, they immediately relax, they can ask us what they need to and have an honest discussion about the various directions of where their case might go.
“Clients are generally dealing with us when they’ve got problems they would prefer not to come and see us about.
“If you could make a decision whether or not you wanted to go and see a litigation lawyer, most people would rather not.”
For those seeking Twomey Dispute Lawyers’ services, it’s a need rather than a want.
“What we’ve done is create an atmosphere where they are comfortable with us,” says Ben.
“We’re giving them complicated advice about things they don’t necessarily understand, and it can be difficult for them to make good and informed decisions if they’re in an uncomfortable environment.”
As a member of the advisory board for LIVIN, a mental health awareness organisation, this is a strong focus of Ben’s, particularly in the legal profession.
“It would be very rare to have a firm of high performing litigation lawyers where everybody is happy and for it to not be a successful business,” he says.
“I’m really proud of the culture we’ve got, the way we do things is guided by achieving positive mental health outcomes.
“The best way to do that is promoting a culture where everyone cares about everybody.
“The financial aspects are obviously a part of it, but I’ll never sacrifice the culture of a place for financial gain.”
A common tale told among lawyers is you’ve got to leave the Gold Coast and go elsewhere for good legal work, but Ben disputes this.
“When it comes to practising law on the coast, it’s a hive of activity coupled with an enviable lifestyle,” he says.
“The Gold Coast is a thriving place of commerce in general and the more commercial activity, the more legal work there is and there’s no shortage of amazing work here.
“We live in a very entrepreneurial place, there’s lots of positive energy in the business community and being in the legal field means you can be a part of that.”