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Lawyer stories:
From globe-trotting to neuroscience

With one foot in Hampshire and the other in Vancouver, find out how LOD On Call has provided LOD lawyer Sophie Callander with an “out of the box” life.

Sixteen years ago I was an associate at a large international law firm in Melbourne hectically juggling a part time legal career with mothering and family life. This was back in the day when law firms restricted internet access and no one had thought of Blackberries or smartphones. However, with much family support, I was promoted to senior associate, being the first part time lawyer within the firm to receive such a promotion in our Melbourne office.

Shortly afterwards I transferred to our London office, returning to full-time work. A year later I seized the opportunity to move again, this time to Dubai. I headed up the legal team of a new asset management company in a business unit which grew from 40 to 700 people in 18 months.

In 2009, following the global financial crisis and 2 years in the Dubai role, I took a voluntary redundancy and relocated back to London with my family. This was a turning point in my career, as at that time, one of my children was diagnosed with a myriad of learning difficulties – all of which I knew absolutely nothing about. In complete shock and with a renewed sense of purpose, I decided I had to educate myself on every aspect of my daughter’s development, mastermind and oversee all of her therapies, and do everything in my power to help her overcome these difficulties.

This is when I was introduced to LOD. I started a 3 month, part time contract working within the Banking & Capital Markets department of BLP (which quickly ramped up to 5 days per week), and I have consulted for BLP through LOD ever since.

In 2013 we moved our daughter to Vancouver to complete an innovative brain changing initiative called “The Arrowsmith Program”. I was still on the rolling LOD assignment with BLP, and travelling every 3 weeks between the UK and Canada, working remotely whilst in Vancouver (partly on the UK time zone). This was unsustainable full time (the jet lag alone was almost debilitating) and so the following year I negotiated my current On Call arrangement.

The On Call arrangement is great because I can turn around work overnight London time, during the day in Vancouver. I get to work flexibly, and in turn the client gets someone who drops everything to turn work around no matter if it is midweek, the weekend or holidays.

Through my career I have realised that whilst you can’t do it all, you can certainly forge the best path for you, which doesn’t necessarily have to conform to anyone else’s expectations. Having created an enriched life where I float between 2 countries raising my kids, working, socialising, educating myself on neuroscience, and celebrating the daily transformation in my younger daughter, I feel so very grateful I can make this a reality.

I lead an “out of the box” life made possible by BLP through LOD (and some great technology!) It may not last forever, but right now I am on the path which is just right for me.

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Melanie Ng

Hong Kong

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