More women than men have been graduating with law degrees for decades, but the numbers don’t add up when it comes to the number of female partners and leaders in large law firms.
At the same time, women are starting new business in greater numbers than ever before. We’re also seeing the proliferation of groups and communities that connect women, encouraging us to do business with each other and purchase goods and services from women-led providers.
Sherika Ponniah is aiming to connect all of the above. She’s just launched My Legal Marketplace, offering a niche marketplace of women lawyers offering specific legal services for a fixed fees.
She believe women are now leading the charge on starting solo law firms, often after leaving larger workplaces in order to take control of how they’re working, and to access more flexibility.
But it can be challenging going solo, especially when it comes to the associated costs such as insurance, as well as the marketing and business development you need to keep the work coming in. Her marketplace aims to make it easier – while also helping customers easily access the legal services they need, from vetted female lawyers.
Sherika has worked as a sole practitioner herself, particularly while raising her three children. She said continuing in family law in a larger firm was difficult, given the flexibility she needed. “In areas where there is a lot of litigation, you do have to go to court, that can tough with kids.”
“But I also found that being on your own in the one practice area is hard,” she says. “You need to do marketing, constantly. So that’s why I came up with the idea of forming the one spot where all those women could come together, with a range of different areas of law in the one place, and all being offered to clients at a fixed rate.”
The firm has started with four areas including divorce, conveyancing, wills and employment, and will soon expand into small business needs, and other areas.
Sherika is also determined to keep the services on offer fixed fee. “I’ve had a few lawyers asking if they can sell block hourly rats, but I’ve said no. I want to keep it fixed so that clients can have that certainty.”
My Legal Marketplace will also donate 5% of all revenue to the Katrina Dawson Foundation, helping the foundation to find, fund and mentor young women.