“It is fantastic to be able to provide a useful service despite lifestyle changes, and to be valued for what you can contribute.”
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am an ex-city asset finance lawyer, happily living on the Sussex coast, wife to my childhood sweetheart and mum to Podge the house rabbit, an uber-intelligent autistic 8 year old son and my ballerina/vet/future prime minister 5 year old daughter.
Why did you decide to go freelance and work for Obelisk?
I have been with Obelisk for about two and a half years. I moved into freelance work because combining family life and my city work pattern was becoming impossible. After a short career break I felt that dipping a toe into freelance work through Obelisk might just work, and two and half years later it still is!
What has working in this way enabled you to do differently?
I work completely differently to conventional work patterns, working at any time during a 24-hour period and fully remotely. This means I can do the school run, help with homework, have a life and still commit to the number of hours of work a day my clients require.
What roles have you had during this time?
Through Obelisk I have been placed in 7 different roles, three of which are still on-going. I have worked for IT, media and telecoms companies and also for a large online retailer. My roles have included everything from large due diligence projects, holiday cover, ad hoc support and projects spanning several months. My work is incredibly varied, and my role for my clients varies from being their sole legal resource to being part of large team of in-house lawyers, to everything in between.
How do you work with clients?
I work fully remotely (with the occasional trip into London for a client meeting), and I prefer to work part-time for several clients at a time. In terms of how we communicate, on one of my placements we had a weekly “team meeting” which everyone dialled into, to update the team on their current matters and seek help/advice as needed. That system worked very well for me, as being remote it is important to link into the wider team you are supporting. Another of my clients Skypes me for regular chats and to give instructions, which again enables me to participate in a similar way as I would in an office environment
Have you been able develop skills or extend your experience into other areas?
My skills and experience are unrecognisable from those of the specialist city lawyer I used to be. I have learnt to research things I need the answer to, draft without precedents and understand business need quickly. My city-experience was 11 years of asset finance, but now I am also confident to review and advise on IT/media/telecoms and retail matters, which is an opportunity I would never have had in city private practice. As a result, I am a much more well-rounded lawyer.
How has the legal services market changed over the course of your professional career?
It is unrecognisable since I did my first city vacation placement in 1998. There was one career path then: you either moved up to the next PQE level, or you left. Equally for clients, they had very little choice in terms of the legal services available to them, having to pay for lawyers’ office overheads and services which were not necessarily tailored for their needs, or hire full time permanent in-house lawyers. Now there are so many paths available to lawyers, and clients have so many more flexible options for how to resource their legal needs. So many of us find that our ambitions and lives change during the course of our careers, it is fantastic to be able to provide a useful service despite lifestyle changes, and to be valued for what you can contribute, using your life experience as well as legal experience.