Legal Awards 2017

16 APAC / Legal Awards 2017 , Over the last 20 years of a 30 year career, Michael Owens has steadily built up a Native Title and Cultural Heritage practice, where he has always acted for indigenous clients. The development of that practice has enabled him to solely specialise in those areas of law over the past 10 years, as Michael explains below. “Within my practice, I provide advice, assist in the negotiation of agreements, draft negotiate and settle agreements and assist in conflict resolution including regular appearances in the Federal Court and the National Native Title Tribunal.” Going into further detail regarding the firm’s practice areas and how it came to define these, Michael tells us what particular opportunities have arisen from when he practised as a property and commercial lawyer throughout the early years of his career. LG170016 Best Cultural Heritage Law Firm - Australia Michael Owens – Lawyer and Consultant is the legal office of Michael Owens, a lawyer and a consultant who provides a variety of services within the law industry. We invitedMichael to tell us more about the firmand howhe helps his clients. “Having practised as a property and commercial lawyer throughout the early years of my career, enabled me to transition those skills to the development of a Native Title and Cultural Heritage practice. With a property and commercial law background to draw upon, I was able to provide a more nuanced experience.” Perhaps one of the most important factors in becoming a successful law practice is how a lawyer approaches his client. Providing a unique take on each case for each individual client is something Michael is keen to talk to us about, as he places significant emphasis on gaining the clients trust and maintaining it. “Gaining the trust of my clients, is the most important aspect of being able to successfully act for the large numbers of people found in indigenous claimant groups and native title holders. Retaining that trust, is achieved by providing a high level of personalised service to all members of the claimant group or native title holders. Providing such a highly personalised service entails making oneself accessible and taking the time to have meaningful discussions with people, talking them through their issues so that they understand the issues at hand and they understand that their opinions and views are valued and of importance.” Following on from Michael discussing how important trust was for his business, he goes on to clarify the culture that has been established within the company, again, one of trust. Michael and the staff at his firm work hard to trust each other, respect each other and act with dignity towards staff and clients. “The culture of the firm is one of providing high levels of trust, respect, dignity and understanding to all clients in circumstances where they have rarely enjoyed that from anyone else throughout their lives.” Protecting their cultural heritage and obtaining a native title determination gives indigenous people a great sense of recognition, pride and achievment. Being able to assist them to achieve that is what is most rewarding for Michael and his firm. That, along with assisting people in what is a unique and individual process for each of them is what helps Michael mark his practice out as the best possible option for clients. My ability to provide a highly developed personalised service with an intimate understanding of how my clients think and understand the sector helps to make us truly special as a law practice. Regarding the plans for the companies’ future, Michael is planning to expand the range of services he offers to clients: “I have been providing corporate governance advice to my clients for a long period of time. I am now extending the range, scope and depth of those services to Prescribed Bodies Corporate as more claimant groups obtain a native title determination. He then signs off by predicting what developments he foresees in the wider legal market and how he thinks these might affect Michael Owens – Lawyer and Consultant. “With the use of modern technology other forms of service delivery have become accessible. As a result, I foresee a higher level of specialisation taking place as smaller specialised Firms adapt in a highly competitive, cost conscious environment. Since they are closer to the client, their point of difference is that they can quickly respond to the specific needs of the client by consistently delivering a high quality, cost effective and specialised service to a wider range of clients.”