Elaine is a regulatory and corporate lawyer who has extensive experience in interpreting and implementing technical financial services’ regulation. She has supported the business units and legal functions of highly complex global financial services companies, helping them to identify and manage risk to meet strategic objectives in a timely, effective and cost-efficient manner. Her legal advice has covered a wide range of regulatory and corporate law matters, including global compliance programmes. Here, she shares her insights on recent experiences as an Obelisk consultant.
Can you describe your experience of working through Obelisk?
I have really enjoyed my work experiences through Obelisk. I have met some terrific people, both client-side and at Obelisk. Aside from working with these inspiring people, I enjoy using my skillset and experience to widen my horizons and learn about new areas of practice. I have over 20 years of experience as a corporate and financial services lawyer. Hence, I am always striving to apply the knowledge and experience I have gleaned over the years to new areas of the law.
What makes your expertise unique?
I do think it is useful to have gained experience both in private practice and in-house. This makes my approach to, and application of the law more practical. I also have experience of working on projects to create efficiencies through tech solutions and I relish the challenge of keeping things as user-friendly and as simple as possible. I am a great believer in common sense, which can often save the day. I also have a wicked sense of fun and really believe that when you find time to laugh you can achieve so much more and at the same time be super productive.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of flexible working as a lawyer?
When life starts moving more again, there are a great deal of advantages to working freelance. The big appeal for me is that I can be more mobile. I can choose to spend time during school holidays with my family. For me, this means quality time spent in rural Suffolk or on a golf course in Portugal. As a farmer’s daughter, the flexibility of being able to escape London, heading to rural open spaces and green fields as often as possible, is most rewarding.
What’s the most challenging?
Certainly, the most challenging aspect for me is the lack of predictability. If you work in-house or in private practice, it is often easier to manage workloads, but this can be more difficult if you are working on a ‘one person’ assignment. However, in my experience the pros comfortably outweigh the cons.
What are your proudest professional and personal achievements so far?
On reflection, I look back and I am proud to have qualified and learned a great work ethic at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. It was at times very challenging and with long hours in the office. Nevertheless, I believe that the ‘office’ is really important for those training and learning the ropes in the legal profession. Having the ability to drop by and talk things over with a colleague is so valuable, especially in those early days.
Personally, I am so lucky and proud to have a such a wonderfully supportive family who make me laugh everyday in the best possible way.
How do you find the right work/life balance?
This can be difficult, but it is work in progress. The balance can often change and depends on different circumstances not always within one’s control. That said, I would always rather be too frantically busy than not have enough to do.
What are your words of advice to other legal consultants?
Whenever you have a chance, try and take the time to read into areas of the law you might not be so familiar with as well as those areas you are expert in. This doesn’t have to be too onerous a task. Nowadays there are so many accessible and different ways to do this. Blogs, social media and podcasts can provide accessible ways to learn about legal developments. For instance, in financial services, I find following legal developments in the U.S. can provide useful insights into where the law may be heading in a post-Brexit UK.
How do you start and end your day?
Walking my Puggle – Icarus. He is a cross between a pug and a beagle. This means he needs to sniff absolutely everything. So it’s not usually a brisk walk but more of a slow meander. Anyway, it’s the best way to reflect at the start and end of the day.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Definitely teleportation! Living in central London means it is arguably the most useful superpower one could imagine having. Trying to escape from London in order to get to the glorious Suffolk countryside is more often than not a battle. If I had this superpower, it would also do wonders for my blood pressure!