Lawyer stories:
Rolling with the changing times

LOD lawyer Sarah arrived in 1997 to the UK from New Zealand with a backpack, £2800 and 3 years PQE. Starting out in various temporary roles, she found a home at Linklaters for nearly 9 years. Fast forward 20 years, Sarah uses LOD to navigate the changing legal market and uses the flexibility to her advantage. Read on to find out more.

When I was first asked to write this blog post my immediate thought was “who will want to read my story?” A few days later I came across a so called ‘inspirational quote’ on Pinterest which read “don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others”. That may not prove entirely accurate but here goes!

As with many lawyers, my story begins when I was a kid. Growing up in New Zealand, sport played a big role in my life, whether it was playing or watching it on TV. In the winter months it was rugby (of course!) whilst in the summer it was all about cricket. Around the time I was 13 one of the members of the NZ cricket team was a lawyer and it was this that sparked an interest in the law for me. Work experienced organised through school soon followed and the rest, they say, is history.

I arrived in London on 22 April 1997 with my backpack and 3 years PQE. I travelled over on a one way ticket with accommodation booked for one week in what was marketed as a hotel but which turned out to be a hovel(!), nowhere to stay after that, no job and £2,800 to my name. Not to be put off, I made the first of what would turn out to be many calls to recruitment consultancies just hours after my arrival.

It took a couple of months and a great deal of persistence before I landed my first job, but for the next three years I was fortunate to be able to undertake various temporary roles interspersed with many travel opportunities within the UK and abroad. In 2000 I began a three month temporary contract in the real estate team at Linklaters and left almost 9 years later following redundancy.

The recession proved to be a very testing time for real estate lawyers (amongst others). The paucity of jobs and the inevitable pressures on budgets meant that it became increasingly necessary for lawyers and clients alike to think differently with respect to the provision and delivery of legal services. Step up LOD. My previous experience having worked as a freelance lawyer meant that the flexible, innovate approach offered by LOD was a perfect fit.

My first LOD assignment was at BLP and lasted for 16 months. Thereafter followed numerous other assignments of varying durations. Between assignments I have had the freedom to pursue other interests, to travel and to enjoy extended visits home to New Zealand.

I’ve often described working as an LOD as my perfect job, and it is. The opportunity to work as and when I choose, to meet new colleagues and to undertake challenging and rewarding work, whether it be transactional in nature or more geared toward due diligence, combined with the flexibility to work either on site or from home is priceless. And the support provided by the LOD HQ team is second to none.

I don’t know whether it’s a sign of age (probably!) but the pace of change in the world seems to be increasing and this means that there is now more than ever a greater need for businesses and lawyers alike to be flexible… and LOD can help with both.

Well, this has been my story so far. I don’t know if it has inspired others or what changes and new experiences will follow but for now I’m off to find an inspirational quote to help me with the housework!

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