Justin Rickard has worked as a lawyer for more than 30 years, most of it as a sole practitioner and most recently from his home in Wentworth Falls.
But it was a chance conversation he overheard in a local coffee shop that sparked an idea in his head.
“I wasn’t trying to listen in on their conversation but they were sitting right behind me,” he said.
One of them was a lawyer with small children. Her husband, also a lawyer, had to regularly commute to Sydney to court
He thought about what opportunities they would find in the Mountains and thought that someone like himself, with so much experience, might be able to pass it on.
“This woman would have had four or five years’ experience at the most. They would probably like to work with someone like me and make some money from home doing what they’re good at.”
Mr Rickard, who specialises in immigration law, said he employs lawyers from time to time to help with case work. He has had a man in Yeppoon and a woman in Noosa, who also work from home.
It’s an idea that might also benefit other professionals in the area, he thought.
“It’d be a similar situation with architects and all sorts. A lot of people don’t want to have to go to Sydney four days a week but they don’t just want to do crap work because they have skills.
“Working from home is great but it has a lot of drawbacks, one of which is isolation. If you don’t deal with other professionals you can lose your edge. When you interact with other professionals it sharpens you up.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of other benefits to knowing there are other people around you.”
Mr Rickard said he often wondered how many other lawyers he might have sat beside or travelled opposite from on a train, without knowing their profession
“It’s pretty surreal to have all these other lawyers around and you’re passing them in the street and they’re thinking I wish I could get some more work and I’m thinking I wish I could find someone when I want to go on holiday.”
He is convinced there would be qualified young mothers who would want “good quality work from me as and when it suits”.
So Mr Rickard is starting his own very small network. He’ll think of a Facebook page in time but for now, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.