“It’s important to see the other lawyers face to face on a regular basis to help build relationships.”
What did your work life look like before Obelisk?
I trained and qualified at a City law firm, specialising in corporate recovery. At 3 years qualified I moved in-house to work in the legal team of the London branch of a European bank. When I had my first child, I moved to working 4 days a week in the office and when I had my second child I moved to a three day week, 2 days in the office and 1 at home. On moving out of London, I took a job in the banking practice of a regional law firm and subsequently set up my own practice with another solicitor, specialising in corporate and commercial work. After a short break, I signed up as an Obelisk consultant.
What led you here?
I read a letter from Dana in the letters page of the Evening Standard describing the Obelisk model and thought that this might be the solution I had been searching for! As we live outside London and my husband commutes into the City on a daily basis, I needed to find a job which would allow me to continue to manage family life and not be outside the home for long hours every day.
Describe your work with Obelisk:
Since becoming an Obelisk consultant, I have always worked for the same client. I support the legal team at the London branch of a European bank as a Standby Lawyer. The legal team send me work when they are overstretched due to conflicting deadlines or holiday absences. The majority of my work is for the Infrastructure Finance Team but I also step in wherever the legal team need extra support in advising lending services across the bank, including the network offices which the London legal team support. I work remotely but I am available on a full time basis on standby. I make monthly visits to the office to attend the lending lawyers’ team meeting as I feel it is important to see the other lawyers face to face on a regular basis to help build relationships. This also enables me to see members of the front office teams that I work with.
How does this way of working suit you and the client?
My initial short term contract with the client was on a remote basis. This has continued as it suits the client (they don’t need me in the office every day) and this also suits my need to manage family life. I take my initial instructions from a member of the legal team, usually by email. I will then communicate with the relevant front office team by phone and by email, always copying in the member of the legal team from whom I took the original instruction.
How do you feel your career has developed since joining – have you been able to develop skills or extend your experience into other areas?
Joining Obelisk has enabled me to restart my career as a finance lawyer. As I can’t commute to London, that is not an option which would have been easily available to me without the opportunities that Obelisk has offered me. I have been able to develop my experience in specialist finance areas such as Infrastructure and Transportation Finance.
What has it enabled you to do differently?
Working with Obelisk has allowed me to combine a rewarding and fulfilling career as a finance lawyer with family life. I can fit in the school run and generally be around for my children in a way that would not have been possible if I was working long hours in the City. I still work hard and for long hours as and when required but I do have a bit of flexibility, depending on the urgency of the instruction, in that I can start very early in the morning or work late into the evening to fit the work in around family life.
How has the legal services market changed over the course of your professional career?
I think the technology changes and the corresponding expectation of availability and immediate response have been the biggest change.
What do you feel is the most valuable advantage you can offer clients as an Obelisk consultant?
Responsiveness and flexibility: I make myself available at all times during the working week (including during the evening) so that I can respond very quickly to an instruction with an indication of when I will be able to complete that instruction, depending on my current workload.