Specialty Focus Gives Law Firm a Winning Edge


Fresh from acting on behalf of a Brisbane fund manager in its acquisition of a $103 million CBD office building, newly-founded specialist property law firm MSJA Lawyers has gone from strength to strength in its first year of practice.

Increasing numbers of corporate clients are choosing to retain specialist firms with key areas of interest for specific advice and MSJA’s growth has paralleled this trend in the legal services market, founding partner Sarm Jamieson says.

“You have to listen to what the industry wants, there is definitely a shift from mid-tier practices to specialist law firms because at the end of the day you can’t be everything to everyone.

“By focusing on one area of law, it allows us to deliver frank and targeted advice to our clients.”

The formation of MSJA Lawyers was a natural step for founding partners Peter McLeod, Chris Studach, Sarm Jamieson and Trent Akhurst. Between them, the four have more than 75 years’ experience in the industry,

The firm has been engaged to act in some of the most significant property deals to be transacted in Brisbane’s booming CBD office market and its surrounding fringe.

In addition to traditional boutique firms that focus on niche areas of law, more practices are concentrating on particular industry verticals — and as a result MSJA Lawyers was conceived in April 2018.

“A further benefit we have found from having a specialist practice is the strengthened service offering that we are now able to provide our client base.

“The traditional hierarchy model is a thing of the past – due to competitive market conditions, clients require real time access to partners and turnaround time for documentation is absolutely key.”

Chris Studach, who has worked alongside Peter McLeod for 15 years, said the firm has strengthened its interstate relationships.

“There is considerable capital from New South Wales and Victoria chasing more appealing returns and looking to be placed in real estate assets up here, and because of our profile and reputation we often get calls from down south,” Studach said.

“So far this year we have acted for numerous interstate fund managers on purchases ranging from $10 million to $20 million in the retail and bulky goods space and then circa $35 million in the middle market office building sector, mainly because of the improving fundamentals of the commercial leasing market.”

The firm recently on-boarded Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) to facilitate e-conveyancing, which enables stakeholders and financial institutions to transact and settle deals together online.

“We’re constantly evolving and as a specialist firm we have to remain open to embracing all forms of technology, which helps our clients at the end of the day,” Akhurst said.

“PEXA was a welcome addition to our firm’s business strategy.”

While MSJA’s client focus may be narrow, its legal expertise is comprehensive and covers all sectors of the industry – residential, commercial, retail and industrial.

“By being specialised we stand out from the crowd, and it’s easier to offer cost efficient solutions to our clients,” Jamieson said.

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