THE LAY-OFF THAT LED TO SUCCESS
12 November 2015, Written by Paris Faint
BEING made redundant is one of the biggest fears and setbacks for any modern professional.
Not only did Sarah Bartholomeusz lose a living, she found herself jobless 32 weeks into a pregnancy.
An ordinary person might have crumbled under the pressure, however Bartholomeusz remained resilient and saw an opportunity to kick-start YouLegal, a company that has since become a staple name in Adelaide boutique law.
"I had been made redundant when I was pregnant, and that's when I decided to begin the business," says Bartholomeusz.
"It usually isn't a great time to think about making big changes in your life but for me it was an absolutely creative time where I felt like I wanted to help other people, and I think that's exactly what we're doing."
At first there were only enough clients to keep a single lawyer occupied, and now YouLegal is at the top of its game with 14 consultants working for the company across three continents, with all staff operating entirely online.
The corporate and commercial law veteran puts her company's fast success down to streamlined client communication, access to the right workforce and also a mutual desire for work flexibility with her staff.
"We're helping clients on the one hand by giving them access to lawyers that they didn't have access to before," says Bartholomeusz.
"On the other we're giving lawyers who weren't working in a way that suited them an opportunity to work in a more balanced environment as well."
Bartholomeusz recently took out the 2015 Telstra Business Women's Start-Up Award, something she attributes to strength in the face of adversity and the dedication of her entire YouLegal team.
"I feel like the award is a great acknowledgement of the work that we've all done as a team, and I also feel like it's a great motivator for other people out there who experience setbacks in their life to feel empowered to do something they are passionate about," she says.
Adding her first book to a long list of achievements, Bartholomeusz aims to give important legal lessons to company directors in a format which is easier to swallow than the standard textbook.
Launched this week, How to Avoid a Fall From Grace provides a broad understanding of the Australian legal system and how it relates to directors and officers who may not be aware of their own management mishaps.
"I noticed that many of my clients who were directors weren't doing things in accordance with their duties, making mistakes without even knowing it," says Bartholomeusz.
"Through this book I just want to give people the confidence to approach their duties as a director with better capabilities, so that they're empowered to make decisions in business without being scared."
Bartholomeusz has been a lawyer for more than 10 years, having worked in both small and top-tier firms, including ASX listed top companies.
Words by Paris Faint, Business News Australia's reporter for local Adelaide news.
Author: Paris Faint