On Friday 17th May, I was privileged to attend the Law Institute Awards night as a finalist, and win my category! It really feels like validation. But these awards don’t just drop from the sky – you need to actively seek out the awards that you want to win, and then you need to craft your submission.
Here’s my submission to this award category:
1. The nominee has made outstanding contributions to the local and/or regional community:
Jacqueline Brauman has made outstanding contributions to Central Victoria through her various volunteer community roles and business sponsorship. As a professional in a regional community, Jacqueline finds fulfilment by being of service to the community through providing her time and expertise in ways that will improve the local economy, and asset community engagement.
Jacqueline was the president of the Nagambie Lakes Tourism & Commerce Inc (the local chamber of commerce) for nearly 3 years, and wrote the Economic Development Strategy that was adopted by local government – Strathbogie Shire Council. During her time as president, she also commenced the first project with the chamber of commerce in rival town Euroa, to run the Strathbogie Shire Business awards. These have now been running for 3 years, with the aim of having businesses proud of their achievements and think of the business plans in making their submissions for recognition.
Jacqueline commenced and organised the first Seymour Business Awards and gala dinner in June 2018. It was a sell-out event. She also organises quarter business breakfasts for Seymour, rotating the venue each time and arranging guest speakers that will inform and inspire local businesses. The view is to improve the morale of small business owners and hence the economy of the region.
In terms of other contributions, the whole team at TBA Law participated in the Seymour Relay of Life in 2018, after the suggestion by Jacqueline. The team complete 106km between them, and raising over $2,400 for cancer research. The team won the best baton award, and featured twice in location publications for the event. TBA Law also sponsors the Wallan Magpies Football Club, the Seymour Lions Football Club, the Wandong Warriors Juniors Football Club, and the WOW Women One Day Event for scholarships for regional girls in the Goulburn Valley region.
2. The nominee has demonstrated professional excellence in legal practice through examples of quality legal services, client relations, innovative programs and use of technology or innovation to deliver legal services:
As a sole practitioner, Jacqueline Brauman completed her Masters Degree in Applied Law through the College of Law, and then successfully completed the LIV accreditation program for the area of Wills and Estates. The main motivation was to bring recognised quality service to Central Victoria, where there was no female accredited specialist. But also, as a way of demonstrating to the community that local services are as good, or better, than city services – to try to alleviate that perception.
Jacqueline’s delivery of service has gradually evolved to include providing lots of free information through articles, newsletters, checklists, published guides, downloads, automated email sequences, and webinars. Technology is utilised to provide these services, through web development, database management software, email automation software, webinar software, and the use of Facebook Live. Jacqueline’s services are also packaged into standard services, to streamline the provision, and she has created a visual model for the process of working with her which is used in marketing materials.
Other technology that helps provide quality services include Zoom and Skype. These video communications services are utilised for remote appointments, so that trust can still be developed through seeing body language, rather than just resorting to telephone conversations.
TBA Law was the winner of the NAB Professional Services Awards for Victoria at the end of 2017, based on client survey responses, demonstrating client relations and satisfaction.
3. The nominee has promoted or advocated the benefit of pursuing a legal career in regional areas:
Jacqueline Brauman has appeared with a stall at the careers expo at the Seymour College, and was a guest speaker for the Years 11 and 12 students about university and a career in law. She regularly has high school students for work experience, as well as having a number of university students complete their compulsory experiences hours with her.
Jacqueline has also hired a graduate lawyer in Sept 2017, who lives locally, and who has a disability. And she also hired a trainee solicitor to guide through the traineeship process in July 2018.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Seymour, Jacqui is the representative of the legal profession in her club. She was also one of three women on the panel on the WOW Women One Day Event in Shepparton, which raised scholarship funds to send regional girls to university. The panel spoke about the challenges and rewards of being a female professional and business woman in a regional area.
To help demonstrate the useful knowledge to the community, and hence demonstrate benefits of the legal profession, Jacqueline also writes regular infotorial articles for local publications including Seymour Telegraph, Mountain Monthly, and the Nagambie Voice.
For those in the legal profession, Jacqueline is a demonstration of being able to promote high quality service, and have rewarding career and family life in a regional area.
4. The nominee has demonstrated outstanding leadership or innovation to assist lawyers in regional areas:
The growth of Jacqueline’s business and leadership in her industry has created jobs for 3 regional solicitors that wouldn’t otherwise be able to work close to where they live. The continued growth and diversity of her business is creating career development opportunities for the solicitors that she currently employs, and the future solicitors she anticipates to employe. The way that Jacqueline includes employees in the strategic planning of her firm, and their opportunities to learn about business, as well as law, is innovative and advantageous to the industry.
Jacqueline’s Romsey office was the coordinator for the Macedon Ranges Lawyers group until September 2018, organising a dinner and a guest speaker for CLE every two months. This would not otherwise be available to those regional practitioners, without the leadership demonstrated by Jacqueline getting her staff to make the necessary arrangements and supporting the initiative.
As further demonstration of leadership in the industry by a regional practitioner, Jacqueline has been asked by Television Education Network to write a paper and present a two-hour national webinar on “Estate Planning, Client Understanding and Solicitor Liability” which was delivered in October 2018.
Jacqueline’s progressive use of technology and marketing tactics are a demonstration to other regional firms of the professionalism and growth that can be achieved, regardless of location. Her use of writing books, lead magnets and email marketing, engagement in Facebook communities, and building of strategic alliances for referrals is at the forefront of industry marketing.
Here’s my acceptance speech:
“The last few years have been the happiest and most fulfilling of my working life. I suppose happiness helps you to achieve.
I’ve worked in other small firms, I’ve worked in-house, and I’ve worked in mid-tier firms, but the safe and progressive work place I’ve been able to create at TBA Law is the most rewarding.
My team has grown from 4 to 10 over the last two years, and three of my solicitors are here with me tonight. We’ve gone from 2 locations to 5, and we’re a predominantly female workforce.
I was reflecting this morning, as I had time to run along the Great Victorian Rail Trail before work, that I really have Time, Tech and Talent where I run my business. The gap between city and regional firms has decreased significantly over the last decade.
I’m an accredited specialist, and I get really interesting work. We work for international businesses and some of the Rich List that have their country estates where we work. We are surrounded by wineries, large agricultural businesses, and horse studs.
For those of you who didn’t row during your school days, Nagambie is only about an hour and a half up the Hume freeway. So it was easy to have our weekly staff meeting this afternoon, and then leave by 4pm to get ready for tonight.
Technology is helping us a lot – we use cloud servers so we can work from home, or any of our locations. WE have voip phones which also make us mobile. as for marketing, we do monthly webinars, weekly Facebook live videos, we do appointments over Zoom, and I’ve just launched a podcast – IQ meets EQ.
So tree changers can specialise. We have the best tech, and fabulous clients, and not a single traffic light on the way to work.
I hope everyone is enjoying their night, and congratulations to everyone for being at the pinnacle of their industry.”