Better Lawyers Group Welcomes Donaldson Law as Foundation Brand

Better Lawyers Group Welcomes Donaldson Law as Foundation Brand

A bold vision for a new standard of excellence in both client and staff experience in the law has been realised with the creation of Better Lawyers Group, a new home and support network for innovative firms and individuals who want to push past outdated beliefs stifling the profession.

Managing Director Peta Gray said she has always been driven by the belief things can be done better and wanted to make a positive impact on the legal industry beyond her own multi-award winning firm, Enterprise Legal.

Tired of hearing ‘it’s always been that way’ or ‘that’s just how it’s done’, in 2017 at 27 years of age she co-founded Enterprise Legal and worked to redefine what’s possible in a regional law firm, from embracing a predominantly fixed fee structure to offering genuine wellness and flexibility options for staff.

“It’s one thing to say it can be done differently; no one believed us until we did it. Firms in our region did not think that fixed-fee billing could work until we did it. We absolutely smashed it out of the ballpark in those first 18 months,” Ms Gray said.

“I felt like we had conquered a lot, we’re an option that people can use if they want a different approach to legal services or if they want to work in a different law firm to other traditional firms, but it felt like a small impact. We’re one firm, so I think for the last few years it’s been apparent to me that to spread that impact, we need to go bigger.”

After waiting for the right firm to acquire as a foundation brand under her Better Lawyers Group umbrella, Ms Gray said she was excited to announce alongside her close colleague Adair Donaldson, that his firm Donaldson Law had joined the Better Lawyers fold.

She said both businesses had proven it’s possible to adopt modern and innovative practices, policies and incentives usually associated with top-tier capital city firms, in a smaller and regional setting.

“I can’t think of a better firm than Donaldson Law to be the first firm to join with Enterprise Legal to be the founding brands, they’re so aligned,” Ms Gray said.

“The Better Lawyers Group is a plan I’ve had for years and I was waiting for the right firm to become available - it has the ability to be very impactful within the legal sector. Donaldson Law, who’s already had all those impacts under Adair, is perfect. That is exactly aligned in terms of what we want.”

Adair Donaldson said from his point of view, the sale was a “perfect fit”.
Donaldson Law specialises in abuse claims and landholder compensation cases, with a focus on a trauma-informed approach to achieving out of court solutions whenever possible.

“We always had a vision when we created Donaldson Law that we wanted to be doing law differently,” Mr Donaldson said.

“We wanted to be innovative, we didn’t want to be like any other law firm.”

He said while many personal injury firms talked about being “trauma informed”, Donaldson Law walked the walk with an approach which prioritised the needs of particularly vulnerable clients. 

"Based in regional Queensland, we developed a national practice here where we have been at the forefront of issues involving abuse in the Australian Defence Force, advocating for landholders impacted by PFAS contamination and land resumptions,” he said.

Practice Manager and wife Samantha Donaldson said while Donaldson Law had been approached by other firms, selling to Better Lawyers Group under Peta Gray’s leadership offered the best outcome for their staff and clients.

“We are entrusting this firm that we’ve poured our heart and soul into, to Peta,” Samantha said.

“We wanted it to have longevity and be successful, and with Peta all those things align. Finding any lawyer who is both an extremely knowledgeable and excellent lawyer but also a good manager of a business and a law firm - to get those two skills in one person is really rare.”

With Mr Donaldson looking to take on new projects including mediation work and education and advocacy around gendered violence, he said he was ready for someone else to take Donaldson Law to “the next level”.

“More than anything we wanted not only a safe place for our clients, a place where our clients were going to be looked after because they’re the most vulnerable people, we wanted somewhere that understood trauma, someone who got what we were trying to achieve,” Mr Donaldson said.

“We wanted to make sure that our staff were going to a place where they would be respected. We wanted that legacy to live on and that meant finding someone with the same values. I’m a huge fan of Peta. Words I’d use to describe her are courageous, innovative, assertive, book smart, street smart, go-getter, fearless.”

Mr Donaldson said he still reflects on the first time the pair met for coffee in Toowoomba, where they are both proudly based.

“For someone 27 years of age, a young mum with a son who’d just turned one, to take that risk and go out by herself - that was wow,” he said.

“I’ve watched her, and we’ve watched each other as close colleagues, because it’s tough being in business. Very few people these days want to take the risk of going and creating their own business, so for someone to go and do that they deserve tremendous respect.”

Those risks are another challenge Peta Gray wants to help rural and regional solicitors overcome, by tapping into the Better Lawyers Group’s collective resources and knowledge base.

“The long term vision for Better Lawyers Group is that we can act as a network,” she said.

“You don’t even necessarily have to be a fully-owned brand under it, my long term goal is to offer a network of support to regional and rural firms so if you do want to go back to your home town and start a firm, but you don’t know the business side of how to do that, they’re the kinds of things you can tap into as part of the Better Lawyers Group.”

Ms Gray said local solicitors could refer clients to Better Lawyers Group for larger matters, without the risk of losing those clients and all their business to capital city firms.

“That’s getting better outcomes for everyone, because we can’t have the only people doing law being people in metro areas, but it’s trending towards that,” she said.

“The message is absolutely, you can do it differently. Don’t be disillusioned, look around. It is easier now than when I did it 10 years ago and when Adair did it 20 years ago but the thing you can’t sub out is hard work.”


For further comment and interview opportunities contact:

PETA GRAY: 0427 034 600
ADAIR DONALDSON: 0427 625 977


Better Lawyers Group

PO Box 817, Toowoomba QLD 4350
Level 1, 11 Annand Street, Toowoomba QLD 4350

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation. Enterprise Legal (Qld) Trading Pty Ltd ACN 621 481 507 t/a Enterprise Legal Qld ABN 75 621 481 507