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Lawyer stories:
Football, family and flexibility: the magic combination

When Nadia (LOD HQ, Lawyer Care and Development) asked LOD lawyer Amir Fitzhugh to “write a few words about yourself”, Amir thought it sounded easy enough. However trying to think of things to say that didn’t sound like a CV or legal advice, was not as easy as he first thought! After a bit of creative thinking, Amir has given us a truly motivational story of his life and career, explaining why LOD is really working for him. Find out more about his untraditional career path.

I qualified at the age of thirty, relatively late in the legal world. During my twenties I ran my own catering business and when I felt I needed a more worthwhile and challenging career, I was given a ‘tip’ to look at what I enjoyed reading in the newspaper for inspiration. It was the late 1990s; I would read the sports pages first (I was too old to be a contender, so that career path was out), followed by the national news and in particular, the stories of lawyers uncovering institutional abuse in the North East and Wales. Law seemed the perfect way to contribute to society and help the vulnerable and unrepresented, it was an easy decision to follow this route.

Go forward ten years, after spending time as a Corporate and Commercial lawyer in the UK and Australia, I did sometimes wonder (and not in a good way…) how on earth I’d ended up where I was?

Returning from Australia in 2012, with my wife and three daughters, to our house in Devon, I knew I wanted something to change and went back to that ‘tip’ of looking at what I enjoyed reading in the newspaper. Still, the sports pages were the first thing I looked at. In Australia I’d had a taste of sports law, advising Manly Sea Eagles rugby league club and a local football club where I played (very badly) and managed a team (quite badly).

I liked the influence sports clubs have on the community and decided this would be my new ‘direction’. Cutting a very long story short, I ended up as head of legal at a football club. Apart from the long hours, seven day working weeks and living away from home, it really was a dream job; I actually pinched myself most days as I looked back at the Stadium I worked in. I even had some “D-list” glamour, flying with the team to away matches and meeting my sticker book football heroes on Saturdays. The ‘dream job’ ended after relegation from the Premier League – I don’t expect many lawyers’ job prospects depend on how well a football team plays!

I wanted to keep working in football, but didn’t know how I could do that whilst keeping some control over my work-life and returning to live back with my family in Devon after years of working away. My youngest daughter is twelve and realistically I only have a few years left before she won’t want to spend time with her Dad camping on Dartmoor anymore! I decided to start my own football consultancy business and approached LOD to see what they could offer to work around this.

LOD really came to the rescue. Since becoming an LOD lawyer, I’ve completed an “On Site” assignment, and about a month ago started remote working from my garage/office. I’ve now got three great LOD clients – all very different in approach and type of work, so it’s always interesting. The flexibility of being an LOD lawyer gives me time to spend on my own business, and I even have my first client!

From the first meeting with Bernie (LOD HQ, Engagement Manager), I’ve been hugely impressed by everyone at LOD HQ – Bernie, Nadia, Stephanie, David, Mike and Lewis to mention just those that look after me regularly. It’s such a big part of why it’s so great being an LOD – it does feel different, the people are different, the other LODs are different. I’m busy, I’m part of something but, most importantly, I’m in control and I’m (trying not to sound smug..) really happy!

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