‘If you can dream it, you can do it’ – Lawyers Weekly interview

Whilst starting a new firm can be a daunting feat, this award-winning boutique has shown that breaking through mental barriers can result in continued growth and success.

Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell was recently crowned Boutique Firm of the Year at this year’s Australian Law Awards. In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, co-founder and director Danielle Snell said she was “immensely proud” of the firm and how far it has come.

“It took a continued belief in the Elit vision to break away from the status quo and challenge the traditional law firm model. As a mother, friend, wife and professional who was pregnant at the time I co-founded this firm with Robert McGirr,” she said.

“It is truly an honour to be recognised for our progressive work practices and initiatives to facilitate change in the legal industry not only for our clients but also for women and the future generations of legal professionals.

“We take great pride in our social enterprise model, which does things differently, primarily related to transparency between lawyers and clients, a personalised empathetic approach towards clients and gender equality and diversity and inclusion in terms of professional opportunities,” Ms Snell continued.

“We emerged during the COVID pandemic to break down the barriers as lawyers and end stereotypes, shedding light on archaic practices in a long-standing legal profession, highlighting levels of inflexibility and issues that need immediate attention and change.”

Ms Snell started Elit Lawyers whilst she was 30 weeks pregnant, with the firm growing from the two founders to a team of 11 in eight months — and said there were a number of challenges from the onset.

“Getting our firm off the ground came with challenges, such as choosing a name to suit our bespoke technology solutions. Amongst the rest, one of the biggest hurdles was launching a new aged website which was different to the usual law firm website! Apart from these ephemeral professional roadblocks, on a personal level, I was met with some scepticism being 30 weeks pregnant and trying to start my own law firm,” she added.

“That being said, I was also immensely supported by my mentors, supporters and staff with similar work ethic, values, and desire to challenge the status quo. I recognised that changing the legal landscape amidst the COVID-19 pandemic was a unique opportunity to achieve greater personal and professional fulfilment by creating an electronic model where the team and I are empowered to elect when and where we want to work. Despite challenges arising along the Elit journey, we very quickly established ourselves within a boutique niche. Our progressive way of working has been very attractive to prospective employees and clients and other law firms who regularly brief us when conflicts arise. This helped us grow incredibly fast.”

Over a year and a half since launching the firm, Elit has continued to grow.

“It has been inspiring to see how fast Elit has grown, and we are constantly striving to expand and develop to provide our clients with the most efficient and empowering experience. We are proud to continue representing a diverse client base and collaborate with other industry professionals to achieve the best outcome for each client,” Ms Snell said.

“As a social enterprise, we have always taken a value-based approach toward our clients and employees. In the future, we would like to continue living our values, especially transparency, diversity, inclusion and gender equality, in our work and industry-based collaborations. It is important to us to be able to deliver our services, reflecting our values and mission.”

In terms of what other firms can learn from Elit, Ms Snell said that boutiques should adopt more legal-tech practices and have confidence in their vision.

“By utilising technology in boutique firms, we can offer clients personalised support that larger scale firms may not provide. Cost and time savings make a firm like us more accessible to a variety of potential clients, whilst enhancing communication and understanding for quality outcomes.

“As litigation is inherently stressful, boutique firms should strive to adopt technological [practices] that provide clients with greater accessibility to their lawyer and legal documents. Providing great levels of transparency can allow boutique firms to connect with clients in a deeper and more meaningful way than ever before,” she added.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. While every vision has its challenges in the early stages of bringing to life, it is within all of us to break down those mental barriers that can get in the way of our aspirations becoming our reality.

“I have been there firsthand, where a knock on my confidence caused a downward spiral; however, with perseverance, I was able to make it to the other side and realise that all the challenges were worth it. I have never felt more fulfilled in my legal career.”

Share
Email
Print

Get in touch

With us personally, it is just one more way we’re different.

Danielle Snell

CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER

.

Robert McGirr

CO-FOUNDER AND PARTNER

.

"

"I just wanted to thank you all for the hard work and dedication you put into my Workcover case. A special thanks to Aggie whom I'm glad I chose to support me."

Personal Injury

Shane

I just wanted to thank you all for the hard work and dedication you put into my Workcover case.

A special thanks to Aggie whom I’m glad I chose to support me and give me the step by step instructions on how to go about proving my case for a result in my favour.

Thanks again for all your advice.

"

"Aggie is the best lawyer in Common Law Claims I have ever worked with. Aggie helped me achieve an extraordinary outcome."

Common Law Claim

Ian

Aggie is the best lawyer in Common Law Claims I have ever worked with. Having seen a couple of large Law Firms l felt let down, being quickly shown the front door. Luckily for me a friend suggested seeing Aggie Vlahos (Partner).

Having engaged Aggie Vlahos gave me the confidence to continue with the injuries l knew were caused by heavy physical and repetitive work. I am also indebted to Brendan Johnson (Barrister) for his outstanding efforts!

She explained everything in a way I could easily understand and always got back to me quickly when I had questions even outside her working hours.

Aggie helped me achieve an extraordinary outcome. However, only charged fair fees.

If someone is seeking a legal help, I highly recommend Aggie Vlahos and Elit Lawyers.

P.S. Thanks to you so much Aggie

"

"I had the good luck to be recommended to Aggie Vlahos for handling my Estate Litigation Case. Through Aggie I achieved a very satisfying result."

Estate Litigation

Jan

I had the good luck to be recommended to Aggie Vlahos for handling my Estate Litigation Case. She was always available to me, no matter how big or small my concern was. She was kind, patient, easy to talk to and very understanding regarding my troubles.

The case was resolved within only 5 months, which I was grateful for. Through Aggie I achieved a very satisfying result.

I would have no hesitation in recommending her to others.

 

"

"If you want a safe, caring, professional group of lawyers and company, look no further than Aggie Vlahos and Elit Lawyers."

Family Law Matter

Michael

Thank you to Aggie Vlahos (Partner) and the staff at Elit Law, also James Eley (Barrister). You did a marvelous job in representing me in relation to my family matter and most importantly caring about me and providing a secure environment for me to navigate a very difficult situation.

The result you achieved was nothing short of amazing. The professionalism displayed on the day by Aggie and James blew me away. With their invaluable guidance and support we achieved a extremely favourable result.

If you want a safe, caring, professional group of lawyers and company, look no further than Elit Lawyers.

Great people, Great Service, Great Company.

 

"

"The best of the best plaintiff lawyers against insurance companies. We had a very tough and complex case and Danielle and her team settled with the insurance company for an optimal outcome."

Insurance Policy Holder

Home owner

The best of the best plaintiff lawyers team against insurance companies.

We had a very tough and complex case against insurance company that we lost our home and contents.  After disappointing and frustrating process from another law firm and firing them we found Danielle Snell and her team.

They are very dedicated, knowledgeable, passionate and possess great communication skills.  We couldn’t ask for more and settled with a optimal outcome.

"

"It’s great to be able to confidently refer clients to someone who can help and support them, and to feel that they are receiving the best service."

Senior Adviser

Financial Planner

We are so glad to have you in our referral channel.

It’s great to be able to confidently refer clients to someone who can help and support them, and to feel that they are receiving the best service.

Previous
Next

Can't find what you're looking for?