I arrived in the UK in June 2002, the start of what I thought was a six month stay. Thirteen years later, I am still here, married to a fellow trainee, with a beautiful baby boy, two damn horses and working happily as an LOD lawyer. Along the way, I’ve blagged rides from Mexico City to Caracus and throughout most of East Africa, been woken up by the breath of a hippo (no, a real one), poked a tiger shark in the eye, been politely robbed at gun point and rudely at knife point, detained against my will for things I didn’t do and held hostage for a day…all along the way!
My training contract started in London in September 2005. I arrived from Caracus the day before, kicked on a mate’s door; shower, shave, shampoo, terrible night’s sleep and off… to meet an altogether different type of shark and hostage taker! I jest…mostly. My training contract was a lot of fun. I had some great mentors, and my fellow trainees enjoyed a drink and boogie as much as I did. Good times! There were, of course, aspects I didn’t get along with – being occasionally bitten and held hostage on more than one weekend, for example. With hindsight, one of the aspects that appealed most was the six monthly rotation, and the change in routine that this brought. The LOD writing was on the wall…
I qualified into the projects team, before moving to a commercial team at another City firm. A scholarship opportunity to do an MBA then came up and a truly incredible year ensued. MBAs are case-study orientated, and students from all manner of professions, countries and cultures are asked to work together to solve complex business problems. Among other professionals, my first work group was made up of a Russian oil guy, an Italian engineer and an Indian mathematician. I was astounded by the different, yet equally meritus, approaches to the same problems. It was incredibly stimulating and got me thinking – could working in industry be more interesting than working in a law firm?
I graduated and took a job in a renewable energy start-up, putting a lot of what I had learned into practice as Head of Legal and Business Operations. Two years later, I raised money to fund the development of four solar farm projects through my own company – an incredibly worthwhile and exciting experience. Unfortunately, a Tory majority spelt the beginning of the end for new renewable energy projects in the UK and, alas, my company’s balance sheet isn’t big enough to frack up England’s green and pleasant land. So, what to do?
I’m currently on my third LOD assignment. As a lawyer who is as interested in business as law, the opportunity to work in a variety of roles in the energy sector has been incredible. The support from LOD has been amazing, and every opportunity to progress my career in the way that I want has been afforded. It’s a fantastically flexible and interesting way to work, and I have no doubt that LOD will continue to go from strength to strength as more lawyers discover a better way to work and a better way to live.
So, after thirteen years, I’m an LOD lawyer with a handful of half decent yarns and enough free time to go kite-surfing, get my pilots licence and relax with my beautiful wife and bubbly baby boy – it could be worse.