1) Why have you chosen to do this rather than work in private practice or a permanent in-house role?
Easy – hours, pay and flexibility. I enjoy my career (and enjoyed my time in private practice!) but I enjoy my life more – and this is something I have never had to hide from LOD. I find working for LOD clients to be a much more rewarding experience – I have worked with some huge brands supporting the teams on the ground and making a direct impact on the business. I find this provides higher levels of career satisfaction compared to a more behind the scenes law firm role. Clients’ (or firms’) service expectations are often unrealistic and unreasonable – with too many late nights spent trying to meet them! Or, filling in timesheets or attending business development meetings with companies I didn’t always believe in!
2) How do you justify the risks of working in a new and innovative way?
For me, it depends on how you view “risk”. Yes, if you have a mortgage (as I do) then a full-time position with a known amount of income coming in every month is probably less risk. But that kind of lifestyle can also mean a risk that you get complacent in your role or a risk that you work all the hours without any flexibility to enjoy the other parts of your life. Being an LOD lawyer helps negate those types of risks by providing the opportunity to work in a range of different businesses on as flexible a basis as you want! And, for me, that is a lot less “risky” than watching my life pass me by in a law firm. That all said, I haven’t had a gap in work whilst being signed up to LOD (all of my “gaps” have been at my request to travel) as there have always been so many great assignments on offer – therefore, my LOD career has been a full-time role.
3) Why LOD?
I had watched LOD closely from when I was a trainee, quietly thinking “this is such a good idea, I am definitely going to do this.” Six years (and a lot of late private practice nights) later I signed up – and I haven’t looked back. LOD and all those that work there are friendly, helpful, enthusiastic and understanding, which makes being an LOD so easy.
4) Benefits for you to work in this way?
Freedom! And for me, that means freedom to travel! With the comfort that I can usually line up my next LOD assignment before I am even back from the beach. Plus, other types of freedom – freedom to work for the companies I choose and which align with both my previous experience and expertise but also on a more ethical and moral basis (something you don’t get in a law firm when forced to work with the firm’s clients). I am my own brand (co-branded with LOD!) and no-one else’s. As well as freedom to work in the way I want – whether that be four days a week, from home or whatever – it also involves a very competitive pay structure.
5) Advice for someone thinking about making the jump?
Think about what you really want from your life. Some people want to stay in law firms and climb the ladder to partner but not everyone has to do that. If you want an in-house role with the opportunity to work with great companies then LOD can definitely provide that. If you can be confident, adaptable and just throw yourself into it and you enjoy meeting new people and working with different styles, then you’ll be a very successful LOD lawyer. To make the most of LOD life, I’d say the key thing is that you have to be organised – both with your day to day in-house workload but also in your personal life. That’s so that the LOD team can fit you into available assignments and also, importantly, so you can manage your own company finances. If you can do all of this then LOD is a really good option and the rewards definitely (for me) far outweigh the (perceived) risk of being a contractor.