Having practiced most of my legal career as an in-house lawyer with a specialism in competition and regulatory law, about a year ago I decided to review my career and work on a plan for the future. While I wanted to continue working within a commercial enterprise, I was keen to explore doing something new.
Competition law continues to be an area of law I find stimulating. The mix of issues under consideration for a competition lawyer, interpreting and applying the law on the basis of economic analysis and the underlying public policy interest in ensuring markets ultimately work for the benefit of consumers has meant that the commercial and legal principles would always be interesting. However, over the last few years I have been interested to learn about new areas of law and business, gain broader experience of different industries and perhaps trying something entrepreneurial. Maybe even outside the law. I have also wondered whether I would enjoy working for myself.
The big appeal for me of working in-house has always been the close involvement of lawyers in the day to day running of a business. Being as much a commercial sounding board as a pragmatic legal advisor. Taking on a business management role outside the law is something I would consider.
As part of my career development process, a career coach has challenged me to really think about what I have enjoyed in my career to date and what I may want to try in the future. If I decided to embark on an entrepreneurial venture, my coach has challenged me to think about what that might look like and how I might get there.
LOD is playing an important part in my career development process. They have been great about proposing interesting assignments in industries of which I have no previous experience. These assignments have been special projects with genuinely novel legal and commercial challenges to resolve, i.e. planning for Brexit when no one knows what Brexit will look like. As a freelance lawyer, the opportunity to work on these unique projects, which have been separate from the day to day work of the client’s in-house team, has been stimulating and challenging. My experience is that the clients in these matters have been very open minded about considering a lawyer’s transferrable skill set and their willingness and resilience of diving into new areas of law in a new industry. Through LOD, I am beginning to gain an appreciation of how I might use my experience to develop new career opportunities and the self-belief to take on a new challenge outside of my comfort zone.
Through LOD I have also found that I really enjoy the freedom of working freelance. It has given me the incentive to consider doing something more entrepreneurial in the future. At the moment, I am not sure what that is. But LOD has provided me with some great opportunities to stretch myself, be challenged by new ideas and help me shape a long-term career plan.