One of life’s great pleasures is watching people from different parts of your life develop and grow. Today’s Ruby Slipper Business Ninja is one of these people I am excited to have watched develop. I met Laura Vickers – head honcheroo of Nest Legal – back in the days when we were forming ourselves from a clay of undergraduate degrees at the University of Melbourne and weekend shifts at David Jones. I took to her immediately – she is an earnest, sweet woman with unmissable curly hair and a joyful kind of attitude. Over a decade on, and now we’re both business owners kickin’ butt and takin’ names.
Laura has worked as a Principal Solicitor with the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and has serious legal chops – she represented the State of Victoria in the constitutional challenge to chaplains in schools and was the legal advisor to the Victorian Floods Review, assisting former Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie AO, APM. Now she’s a Business Ninja to watch, as Principal of Nest Legal. This is a true problem-solving business, delivering ‘peace of mind, home delivered’. This means legal services including wills, conveyancing and more at a time and venue that suits you. Sounds good? Meet Laura.
RS: What makes your legal business ‘magical’, setting you apart from other lawyers?
Laura: We home-deliver legal services to busy people, outside business hours. Using Skype, email and secure webforms, we offer wills, conveyancing and legal advice at a time and place that suits, but with the level of personal attention that you’d expect from a top boutique firm. You can get started with our webforms at any time and we state our fixed costs on our website so you don’t need to call for a quote.
RS: What are your maddest ‘business ninja skillz’?
Laura: I make complicated things easy to understand. There’s this attitude amongst lawyers that you need to use complex language to show off how clever you are. I take the opposite approach and people really appreciate it. Whether it is using a colourful diagram to convince a Magistrate of my case, telling stories to explain concepts to my students (I used to teach undergraduate law) or, most importantly, sitting down with a client and talking through an issue until it makes sense to their lives – everyone prefers a plain-talkin’ lawyer!
RS. How did your lightbulb moment in creating your business come about?
Laura: At a meeting with an accountant. I was juggling a screaming 6 month old while the accountant slowly typed my details off a paper form into his computer. It made me realise how few professional service providers had considered the needs of their working family clients. Anything that depended on me making an appointment during business hours was a nightmare, whereas items on my to-do list that could be done online once my son was in bed were quickly crossed off. But I didn’t want to compromise on quality for the important things like professional advice so why would anyone else?
RS. What is your earliest memory?
Laura: Making a strong case to my mother (with evidence!) about what time I should be allowed to go to bed.
RS. What would your last meal be?
Laura: A dozen oysters by the water outside the Dunalley Fish Shop on the Tasman Peninsula, washed down with a longneck of Cascade Pale Ale.
RS. What is your best tip for choosing working partners?
Laura: Well mine is my husband and I chose him because he’s cute and funny! But it turns out we are also the perfect business match. He’s the big picture dreamer whereas I’m all about the details.
RS. What is your favourite sound?
Laura: My husband and son splashing and laughing in the bath together.
RS: Who would you like to invite to dinner?
Laura: Lena Dunham, Jarvis Cocker and Hilary Clinton (to keep us all in line)
RS. Who has inspired you to be a better ‘Business Ninja’?
Laura: Funnily enough, my biggest business inspiration remains my old boss Dennis Paphitis of Aesop rather than anyone within the law (Laura and I actually first met 12 years ago working the Sunday shift on the DJs cosmetics floor!). He turned the skincare industry on his head, creating products that are a pleasure to use but value the customer’s intelligence, knowing exactly who his market is and not trying to please everyone, providing exceptional customer service, and not being afraid to have fun whilst staying true to the values of his business.