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Lawyer stories:
From playground trials to nerdy nurturing

LOD lawyer Marc Watkins finds the story of why he became a lawyer an easy one to tell. From playground trials to rules of conduct for his teenage bedroom, he was destined for the law. However, after some time in private practice and lots of work travel, a change in pace was needed. Find out how LOD fitted in perfectly to allow a variety of work on Marc’s terms.

When I am asked why I became an lawyer, it’s an easy story to tell. I’d wanted to study law ever since, as a teenager, I drafted my own intricate rules of conduct for people entering my room at home (complete with legal fictions, as I learned to call them much later). Then there were those times when I realised that the school bully could not go unpunished and so, together with some likeminded friends, held court hearings in absentia, including prosecutor, defence lawyer and judge. Sentencing was swift, just mitigated by the fact that enforcement was postponed indefinitely. In any case, it proved that there is such a thing as a law nerd… and I knew what I wanted to do later in life.

After studying law in Germany and Canada, I spent some time in private practice in Germany. Then I held various in-house positions, mostly with fintech companies in London and Berlin. Things quickly started to get busy. At one time, as Head of Legal and Compliance in a small bank, I was travelling between Malta and Munich, commuting weekends back to London where my wife was busy caring for our three children. Naturally, after a while the novelty of frequent travel wore off and I decided to look for something that better fitted my personal goals.

Back in London I wanted a different style of working, not least because I began to see a pattern: I was always moving jobs after two or three years. I wanted variety of work and didn’t feel that a ‘traditional’ career path was for me. Yet, I enjoyed team work, interaction with colleagues and being close to the business and its products. That’s where LOD fitted in perfectly. It offered high-quality work opportunities with great clients but built-in expiry dates – just my kind of thing. My first assignment was with a major bank. Initially a six month assignment, my time there turned into a year and later another six months in a different team. I’ve also worked for technology companies and a large insurer.

Being an LOD lawyer has allowed me to pursue other interests. After spending time at several start-up companies, I caught the bug and had a go at being an entrepreneur myself. With a couple of former colleagues, I started an online business in the customer verification space. We ran the company for two years, took part in an accelerator programme in Berlin and pitched to many investors. Whilst in the end we didn’t succeed with our idea, it was a fantastic experience that enriched my legal work as well.

Flexible working has also let me continue to nurture my nerdy side. Apart from prosecuting bullies, I had an early interest in physics, maths, and computers. This got lost somewhat after my school days and for many years never went beyond a hobby and working for tech companies. However, a few years ago I decided to take things more seriously again and started to study mathematics in my spare time at the Open University. Last summer I finished my last course and now I have a shiny new degree on my wall. It would not have been possible without LOD and the ability to maintain a flexible schedule.

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