The Entreprenurial Edge

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Artificial Intelligence Is Now Disrupting The Legal Services Industry

Article written by Graeme Wilson in Heavy Chef Publication

What is going ON in the legal service world? Law firms with names like Bell, Dewar and Hall, John & Kernick and Findlay and Tait used to be all over the place. Now they don’t even exist. Instead we hear names like Caveat Legal, Cognia Law and even Whipping The Cat. Those in the know talk about LPO, ABS, non-traditional lawyers and NewLaw.  Most recently the buzz is all about AI. So what has changed – and what changes are there likely to be in the legal service industry in 2018 and beyond? Let’s start at the top with the big players, the legal giants of the world and of South Africa. In the last few years Deneys Reitz merged with global firm Norton Rose (which merged again to create Norton Rose Fulbright), Webber Wentzel formed an alliance with powerhouse Linklaters, Baker McKenzie picked up the team from Dewey Leboeuf and launched in Johannesburg, Routlege-Modise first merged with Eversheds and more recently with Hogan Lovells. Eversheds then tied up with Mahons Attorneys. ENS and Bowmans elected to stay “independent” and embarked on an acquisition trail of their own elsewhere on the continent. Whichever way you look at it, the picture...

African Legal Awards African Law Firm of the Year – Small Practice: Whipping the Cat

Article from Legal Week

Whipping the Cat founder Graeme Wilson, with Legal Week’s Natalie Hill Finalists: AB & David (Highly Commended); Couto, Graça e Associados; GLA – Gabinete Legal Angola; Ngassam, Fansi & Mouafo Avocats Associes; TTA – Sociedade de Advogados. South Africa’s intriguingly named Whipping the Cat landed the African Small Practice Law Firm of the Year award for its efforts to provide an alternative legal service to small and medium-sized businesses. Through its use of technology, Whipping the Cat (a reference to 18th century British tailors who learned their skills on Savile Row before turning their back on the establishment and doing things their own way) is able to offer clients its services at a low pre-determined fixed cost, often through its monthly retainer facility. Since its launch in 2013, the firm has seen double-digit growth from retainer clients, including burger giant McDonald’s. Fee income increased 45% in the 12 months to February 2017, with year-to-date fee income up 21% compared to the same period last year. Much of that has been driven by growth in mid-size deals and M&A transactions, such as helping fintech startup ThisIsMe raise funds from private equity investors, and advising South African IT service provider IEIT...

#EntrepreneurMonth: A cat, a tailor and an entrepreneur walk into a bar exam…

Article written by Shan Radcliffe in Bizcommunity Online Publication

What do 18th century tailors, cats and the 21st century legal industry have to do with local entrepreneurship? Graeme Wilson, CEO of Whipping the Cat, makes the connection for us as we chat about how his firm is disrupting the local legal industry. Tell us the story behind the name “Whipping the Cat”? It’s a great story – I’ll tell you the short version. In 18th century England, emerging tailors wanting to spread their wings beyond high-end Savile Row would break away from their master tailor and offer quality services to a wider market. At the time, they coined this practice “Whipping the Cat”, and this is what inspires our name. Those tailors offered an affordable alternative and disrupted the industry. We are doing a similar thing in the legal service market through our customized – or “tailored” – legal services. What differentiates your offering from other legal firms, and what made you decide on this model? The most important differentiator is that we threw away the clock and time sheets: there is no hourly based billing at Whipping the Cat. We started the business by seeing things from the client’s perspective, and then working backwards to offer the right...

Whipping the Cat named Africa’s best small legal practice

Article by Guest PR Filed Under: General Business

On 8 September, Whipping the Cat (www.whippingthecat.com) was named the continent’s best small law practice at the African Legal Awards ceremony in Johannesburg. The awards recognise exceptional achievement within the African legal community in the last year. Receiving the title of African Law Firm of the Year – Small Practice is a nod to the significant growth of Whipping the Cat – which has been in operation for just four years – and its impact on the industry. Whipping the Cat’s entrepreneurial CEO, Graeme Wilson, founded the company in 2013 to offer an alternative to the services of traditional law firms. Whipping the Cat’s unusual name has its origin in the tailoring industry, which was disrupted by tailors breaking away from the traditional, high-end Savile Row. The company’s equally unusual billing model of fixed fees, agreed upfront, is a challenge to the traditional practice of hourly billing. Today it is a well respected NewLaw firm which enjoyed fee income growth of 45 per cent in the 2017 financial year. Wilson’s game-changing approach to offering legal services has seen Whipping the Cat rack up an extensive clientele. The company has proved a valuable partner to SMEs as they navigate the legal...

Women in Law

December issue of Without Prejudice magazine

Finding new ways for women 2016 The conversation continues. There are numerous matters to deal with and develop, amongst them: whether law serves the purposes it sets out to achieve and whether the processes are effective; whether the adversarial system of law is ideal and sustainable ; whether there is sufficient focus on the “humanising” issues of legal education and how to bring “conscious” lawyering into the curriculums and the profession; and of course, the role of women in achieving and enhancing these ideals. Read...

Franchising Law

May 2016 issue of Lawyer Monthly

In an era of global business expansion, franchising has seen a significant increase on the back of business convenience, the likelihood for success with a franchise, and the ease in training and financing the business. However, with an increase in franchising comes a dynamic legal field for this business model and its potential risks. Here, Lawyer Monthly talks to Graeme Wilson, the Founder and CEO of Whipping the Cat, a South Africa-based legal consultancy offering businesses of all sizes an alternative to traditional law firms. Read...

Africa Special Report

November 2015 issue of Lawyer Monthly

Beginning our Africa Special Report this month, Lawyer Monthly takes a look at the economic and legal issues that abound in South Africa. To this end we speak to Graeme Wilson, the founder and CEO of Whipping the Cat (www.whippingthecat.com), a South Africa-based legal consultancy offering businesses of all sizes an alternative to traditional law firms. Read...

Encouraging women to find new ways to lead in law

Article written by Niki Malherbe in Bizcommunity Online Publication

Convened by the UCT Law @ work Professional Development Project and the Centre for Integrative Law, the recent summit entitled, ‘Finding New Ways for Women to Lead in Law’, evidenced that the old traditional way of practicing law is undergoing an exciting transformation. Companies with names such as Whipping the Cat and Cognia Law were among the sponsors at the event, which was attended by more than 100 women delegates. The concept of new law is undoubtedly gaining momentum, as young lawyers take up the challenge to find new ways of leading in law. Along with a noticeably greater number of women lawyers entering the profession, there appears to be a simultaneous emergence of a more conscious, more purposeful approach to spending a life in law, which underpins the new young lawyer. The summit was initiated and conceptualised by Amanda Lamond, Director of the Centre for Integrative Law, who noted the increase of women in the legal profession, and raised the question of whether the legal profession would be transformed by the women who practice law. In an emotional sharing of inspiring stories of the various journeys of women in their legal careers, from high-powered professionals and practicing lawyers...

Working for you

September 2015 issue of Destiny Magazine

The many complexities that come with running a business often necessitate logistical support. We highlight companies that provide transport, legal and financial resources and services for entrepreneurs. Read...

On the right side of labour law

May 2015 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine

All employees have basic rights in the workplace and it’s the employer’s responsibility to toe the legal line. AS SMEs GROW, one area they tend to neglect is employees’ rights. Graeme Wilson, founder of innovative SME-focused legal firm, Whipping the Cat, says there are four key questions you should be asking to ensure you are a responsible employer. Read...