Lawyer stories:
Melanie Hebbron

Melanie turned to LOD in the hope of finding a better balance in life. With three small children, a demanding full-time job and a long commute, Melanie wanted to find a part-time role that would allow her to spend more time with her family.

 

 

1. Why did you join LOD?

With a full-time job and a three-to-four-hour daily commute, I was seeing my three small children virtually only at weekends and paying almost everything I earned to my nanny and HMRC. I loved my demanding and varied role as sole UK Employment Counsel for a large FMCG organisation, but instinctively I knew there had to be a way to better balance my legal career with the children who needed more of me than my job allowed.  My dream local, part-time legal role was proving elusive, so instead I started talking to LOD. I haven’t looked back!

2. What are the best things about being a LOD?

I get to choose where I work, who I work for and what hours I work. Clients needing short-term help are more willing to agree to flexible hours and this hasn’t been an obstacle for me in finding interesting work. After 10 years in FMCG, my LOD career has already allowed me to gain experience in both Defence and Media; next stop Tech?

3. What advice do you have for a new LOD starting out?

The best advice someone gave me was to look for the role that would offer the experience I most wanted to add to my CV, and not assume that I could only apply for roles that matched my current experience. Clients are less focused on career development for contractors, so you need to take charge of this yourself and plan your own career from one assignment to the next.

When you’re contracting, you are expected to hit the ground running and you need the confidence and adaptability to take that in your stride. You also need to be careful to set yourself up from the beginning as a senior adviser, not just the “extra pair of hands” that will accept the work the permanent members of the team don’t want to do.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Ah, that old chestnut. Well, the Matthew Taylor Report and the forthcoming changes to the IR35 regime are likely to bring about some fairly major changes regarding contractor rights and taxation in the coming months and years, but I am confident that having worked as a LOD I’ll have the breadth and depth of skills and the flexibility to embrace whatever changes lie ahead. I’m learning loads in my current assignment and can’t wait to see where LOD sends me next. Bring it on!

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