A budding Sydney-based law firm has strengthened its footprint in Victoria after acquiring longstanding Melbourne Family Lawyers for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition is a first for Justice Family Lawyers, and will see its founder Hayder Shkara run a second firm after Melbourne Family Lawyers principal Silvio Auditore announced he was retiring from practice.
Shkara, a former taekwondo athlete who competed in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, shared with Business News Australia how the buyout ticked all the right boxes.
“What I wanted to do with the firm was to expand and grow - that was very important to me,” he said.
“I felt like the best way to do that was by purchasing an existing firm that's got a strong client base, strong brand and strong reputation. That's why this particular firm appealed to me.”
“I'm hoping through this [acquisition], it will really accelerate my learning curve. If the transition is successful, then I would be certainly looking at acquiring another in the near future.”
Founded in 2017, Justice Family Lawyers provides legal assistance for divorce, child custody, property settlement, child support and domestic violence cases. The acquisition will see a total of eight lawyers under Shkara’s leadership, effectively doubling his team.
The deal, which was finalised within 48 hours of the stakeholders meeting, was brokered by Gatehouse Business Brokers, the sister company of Gatehouse Legal Recruitment.
“After having established the reputation of Melbourne Family Lawyers by providing honest advice, guidance and representation to our clients over the past 40 or so years, my job is done,” Melbourne Family Lawyers founder Silvio Auditore said.
“I am happy to retire knowing that all current staff will be able to continue in their role in the law practice with Hayder Shkara as the new principal, further consolidating the reputation of Melbourne Family Lawyers into the future.”
While his firm is based in the Sydney CBD, he also set up shared offices in nearby Barangaroo and Melbourne in 2019, which are only booked if a client prefers to meet in person. Shkara noted this was an easy solution that kept expenses low whilst allowing the firm to "quickly expand" interstate.
It was this choice, alongside developing an online footprint, that enabled the firm to operate smoothly even when the pandemic struck.
“I made sure that I was constantly in touch with people that were good referral sources,” he said.
“I have a strong emphasis on social media - making sure that I've got a strong presence there.
“We were getting a lot of enquiries from people interstate - particularly from Melbourne. We thought that if we start offering services there, which we were previously rejecting, we would see how we would cope."
He also added his three-year journey as an Olympic taekwondo athlete helped instil “a competitive edge” that helps him thrive in the business world.
“It becomes a lot about improving yourself and on a very minute scale, every single day. That is really what you're trying to focus on when you're doing sport at a high level,” he said.
“Those lessons were very good [for the] transition over to the legal and business world where you're constantly trying to improve processes, make things more efficient, and expand growths.
“The thrills and the ups and downs of sport really crossed over to the business world and it enabled me to understand that sometimes you take some wins, sometimes you take some losses, but consistency is key.”
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