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Beyond Law co-founders Anthony Lieu and Max Burke met whilst studying law at the Australian National University and working at the Australian Law Students’ Association – the peak national representative body for all 34,000 Australian law students. Outside Beyond Law, Anthony currently works at an online law firm start-up, whilst Max works at a top-tier management consulting firm.
Founded in January 2014, Beyond Law is a job-search and resources website for law students, graduates and young lawyers. It promotes a breadth of job opportunities, ranging from community legal centre positions to legal internships at the United Nations. In the past year, Beyond Law has raised sufficient capital through key partnerships to provide enough runway for the next 2-3 years, with plans to continue its expansion nationally and explore further international opportunities.
We are constantly coming up with crazy and innovative ideas that we save away and present at our frequent Strategy Days. This is where we open a bottle of wine, pitch ideas to one another and see whether each option has legs. If you can’t sell it in two sentences, it generally isn’t worth it!
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
With 12,000 law graduates entering the employment market each year, we recognised the need to promote the plethora of career opportunities for law students outside the traditional corporate law path (only 5-7% end up in large law firms). We founded Beyond Law to not only address this need, but also to reshape the dialogue surrounding how students perceive and pursue success. Previously, there was no platform available to law students and graduates to find national and international opportunities specifically focused on law. University job boards were inadequate, and law student societies only offered limited local and short-term roles.
We set out to create a solution to address the difficulties facing law students in not only accessing job opportunities, but also realising the breadth of opportunity available. Within three months of launch, Beyond Law’s growth skyrocketed and this momentum has not slowed down since.
Today, Beyond Law is Australia’s leading job-search site for law students, graduates and young lawyers with over 5000 jobseekers accessing our website weekly.
Can you please explain your business model?
We never charge our jobseekers to access or apply for jobs as we identify that this is as an equity barrier. We believe employers should have access to the best legal talent, and this should not be limited by jobseekers that can afford to pay a premium to have access to the same opportunities. We also do not charge non-profit organisations (charities, law courts, NGOs), or organisations looking to hire interns, volunteers and fulfil practical legal training placements.
Beyond Law’s capital raising is currently obtained through two major B2B avenues – agreements with key partners, and the listing fees for organisations to post a job. Our partnership agreements are what we are most proud of. These tailored agreements have offered a range of organisations the ability to effectively engage with our niche user base and to develop meaningful relationships and increase brand awareness through content marketing. The majority of financing has been achieved through this channel, and has provided initial capital for the business in lieu of a formal seed round. This has significantly benefited our growth as a bootstrapped start-up.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
Having increased our headcount this month, we are excited about building our features for our jobseekers, enhancing the user experience and continuing our A/B testing. One new resource has been our Guest Blog, where we have asked thought leaders and inspiring young lawyers to write a piece which reaches out to thousands of law students and graduates nationally.
In the next three months, we are focused on consolidating the tremendous growth from 2014 and building upon the effective relationships we have with employers to provide more jobs. Now that we have an expansive student engagement base, we are excited to begin a comprehensive dialogue with employers to show not only what we have built, but also how we can assist them find new and emerging legal talent in an innovative way. Having recently met new partners in London and Brussels, we are also seeking to expand international opportunities for our jobseekers.
We’ve dabbled at the idea of using the same model in different disciplines such as engineering, journalism and science. However, we want to continue to focus on our one niche and become the leaders in that niche with our brand. It’s important not to get greedy. We believe it’s the reason most quit – by spreading themselves too thin.
How do you make ideas happen?
Two words – Strategy Days. We are constantly coming up with crazy and innovative ideas that we save away and present at our frequent Strategy Days. This is where we open a bottle of wine, pitch ideas to one another and see whether each option has legs. If you can’t sell it in two sentences, it generally isn’t worth it!
What does your typical day look like?
Coffee, inbox zero, pitching ideas, growth hacking. Rinse, repeat.
We’re big fans of Asana, Dropbox and Uber.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
We strongly believe it is important to get into a business where you can be a change agent and where you can make a difference for the better. On top of this, we think it’s great to partner with a charitable organisation that aligns well with your vision and values.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to know about and give some support?
We are currently in talks with Batyr, a social enterprise that focuses on preventative education in the area of young people’s mental health. They provide programs that train young people to speak about their personal experience with mental ill health and start a conversation in their community.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
- TED Ideas: http://ideas.ted.com
- Esquire: http://esquire.co.uk
- Information is Beautiful: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
- Evan O’Hanlon: Australia’s Fastest Paralympian
- James Farrell: OAM, lawyer and human rights advocate
- Alternative Law Journal: Australia’s leading independent human rights, social justice & law reform journal
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
We’re always open to meeting new people (especially mentors) and hearing new ideas, especially in the legal or recruitment space. We have other start-up ideas in the legal space in the works and keen to bring new minds on board.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
We want to know everything there is about option pools and vesting for start-ups.
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Max: Eau de Vie (229 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010)
Anthony: Kepos Street Kitchen (96 Kepos Street, Redfern NSW 2016)