It’s difficult not to be swept up by the excitement in Paula Yakas’ voice as she explains the changes happening at The Law Shop.
“In some ways, it feels like we’re coming full circle,” she says.
“I bought The Law Shop on 1 September 2008. Fifteen years on, on 1 September 2023, we are moving to a new office in Rotorua.
“We’ve been in our existing offices for seven years, but we decided the time is right for a change now.
But there’s more behind the excitement than simply the new premises. Paula explains that their team is going through a major reset.
Having bought The Law Shop in 2008, she teamed up with fellow director Stephanie Northey in 2014 to expand The Law Shop’s service as the business grew.
Paula and Stephanie went on to buy a Tauranga law firm in 2017 and open an office in Tauranga.
Although they subsequently made the call to close the Greerton, Tauranga office in 2019, they retained the Tauranga clients with whom they had built strong relationships.
“We still work with our Tauranga clients daily and meet with them on a regular basis.”
While not always an effective substitute for face-to-face meetings, The Law Shop team are able to do a lot of their meetings on-line, often saving clients time and reducing stress.
“Along the way we’ve been confronted with an array of business and personal challenges, from babies and cancer to Covid lockdowns and an uncertain economic environment.
“I think overcoming those difficult challenges has given us empathy and an appreciation of what our clients have to deal with – I think the challenges have made us relatable.
“We’ve always adopted a no-fuss approach to legal matters and combined it with a friendly, open communication style,” says Paula.
Stephanie and Paula have a special working relationship.
“We’re like best friends, and that’s why I’m so excited for Stephanie’s upcoming change.
“Stephanie specialises in family law – an area of law she’s passionate about – and from July she’s moving on to another Rotorua firm where she will be continuing with family law but more importantly, moving into working on legal issues that affect Māori.
“We’re so excited that she’s taken this opportunity, even if it is tinged with a little sadness for us both.
“But it’s the right move for her – we 100% support her, and I know she 100% supports us at The Law Shop.”
Stephanie’s move is only one part of The Law Shop’s ‘reset’.
Paula says she’s excited about the on-going evolution of The Law Shop: her ‘property team’ is going back to ‘grass roots’.
“We are now well positioned to focus in particular back on property law; it’s a space we’re strong in and our team has a wealth of experience.”
They will still cover property conveyancing, business acquisition and sales, leases, wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration as well as relationship property.
In terms of the ‘reset’, Paula sees the shift to the new office in September as ‘the icing on the cake’:
“We’ll be slightly out of the city in Rotorua, we’ll be easy to find, and there will be ample customer parking.
“It’s going to be great.”