A message from Henry Kalus

Jul 19, 2020

With another financial year behind us the KKI crew wanted to reach out to all of you, our dear clients and friends.

But how different this time is from any other, and I’m not saying that just because I can’t go to the footy or the races with my son.
In past years if I had written to you in July, chances are you wouldn’t even read this email because you’d be on holidays in a warmer climate.
But I figure that this time I’ll get your attention.
Mainly we just wanted to reach out to say ‘Hi’ and to wish all of you, our clients and friends, good health and success in navigating these challenges.

Like everyone, people close to us have had to make adjustments.
But as tough and uncertain as it has been, there have been positives.
One positive is that when we have been able to get together with clients, friends and each other – whether in person, by Zoom, or phone – we have realised how much we enjoy each other’s company.
We have always appreciated the importance of our relationships, but in recent times, we have come to understand just how good those relationships are.
And how great it is to have clients, partners, staff and colleagues who feel like friends.
Right now the blurring of the lines between personal and professional relationships seems a good thing.

If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now, that all of us have had a part to play in making each other’s lives more manageable.
As lawyers we are aware of our extra responsibility, to be available and helpful to clients, to our staff, to our friends and to our colleagues in the professions.

Just like the early ‘90s in that ‘recession we had to have’, in these times we have an opportunity to play a positive role in people’s lives. In fact it’s an obligation.
What we learned in the early ‘90s and what many are learning now, is that in difficult times, we lawyers need to operate by a different playbook. That there is a greater need for creativity, for doggedness, for pragmatism, for out of the ordinary approaches. And outcomes can be life changing.
It’s also a time for our younger lawyers to learn those lessons, to understand how to respond when things don’t go smoothly.

We started our 2 person firm back in 1993 in a pretty tough environment and in some ways, in a business sense, these times feel similar. Back then we very deliberately set the values upon which our firm would be founded.
Recently when the pandemic struck we talked about who we wanted to be through these times. We recognized that we had a chance to make a positive difference to our clients, to our staff, to our friends and to our families.

We established three priorities:

1. To keep our staff safe;
2. To be valuable to our clients;
3. To be an even better firm when the Pandemic was over.

Personally I feel fortunate to have Partners who have all been on the same page. Primarily for us it has been about being supportive and positive.
I hope we have achieved that. We certainly have tried.

Just like in the ‘90s recession, when we took the leap to establish our firm, this time around we made the quantum leap from our old rabbit warren of an office in South Yarra to our beautiful new home at Riverside Quay.
What great timing!
I have to laugh (or I would cry) when I think of the effort that went into creating our amazing new office on Melbourne’s Yarra River. You know … that office that we can’t use … with an amazing staff Cafe that we can’t fill … over the bridge from Flinders Street station that no one wants to go to anymore!

Whilst through the incredible efforts of our devoted staff we have functioned working from home so very well, each time I have popped into our office, it has been clear that it is the real home of our firm.
Even though we have seen our staff and our clients so much less, in some ways we have seen more about who they really are.
These last few months have given us confidence that no matter what structural economic changes are thrown at us, we have the staff and the clients to ensure that there will be great work done.
I’m sure our collective instinct to be enterprising will lead to lots of activity.

Looking at our firm now I’m incredibly proud that it is so much more than it used to be, even though our DNA has never changed.
In addition to the Property team which plays such an important role in Melbourne’s Property scene, and a Disputes team which has always been so strong, we now have dedicated teams in Construction Law, Employment, Wealth Protection and Estate Planning, Structured Finance and Investment, Intellectual Property and a Commercial and Corporate Team which is a finalist in the 2020 Australian Law Awards. But more than these areas of practice, it’s our people who we are most proud of.

These difficult times do present opportunities. And I don’t mean that in a mercenary way. I mean that as lawyers and people we have the opportunity to grow through these times, to learn from our clients and from our own experiences, to become more valuable, to become the people we want to be.

But mainly I just wanted to say, on behalf of everyone at Kalus Kenny Intelex, that we hope to see you very soon. In the meantime please continue to look after yourselves and those around you.

And stay safe.

Henry Kalus