April is a structured finance lawyer with experience gained at Allen & Overy in their Capital Markets department (securitisation team) as well as eight years in-house with RBS providing general legal support to the structured debt business.
Can you describe your experience of working through Obelisk?
I’m currently in my very first role through Obelisk, working for a government-owned business development bank. The bank has been integral in supporting the UK government’s economic response to the shocks caused by the global pandemic. They needed an extra pair of hands on deck at the height of the pandemic to help with extending the reach of their emergency loan schemes so as to increase the supply of credit to struggling small and medium enterprises. Joining a team remotely has its challenges but a combination of a very welcoming team at the bank as well as the efficiency of Obelisk made the whole transition very smooth.
What makes your expertise unique?
I started my legal career as a securitisation lawyer in private practice during the early 2000s when there was a real boom in the economic cycle, which gave me exposure to a wide range of complex financial structures. I then spent the next chunk of my career working in-house at an investment bank during a period of restructuring and change in the financial services industry in the wake of the global financial crisis. The juxtaposition of those two things makes the breadth of my experience quite unique.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of flexible working as a lawyer?
Remote and part-time working (I currently work 4 days a week) has enabled me to be more present for my two young kids. It has also allowed me the freedom to pursue my other interests on my day off – when the schools are open!
What’s the most challenging?
Over the last year, with remote working and schools being closed, the biggest challenge has definitely been balancing working and home-schooling simultaneously. I feel like I have acquired multiple additional jobs overnight (teaching was one but also having to feed a house full of people that seem to be constantly hungry)!
What are your proudest professional and personal achievements so far?
I like to live in the moment so I’ll say, from a professional perspective, I’m pretty proud of the work I’m doing in my current role in helping the bank with the Covid emergency loan schemes (which has allowed for multiple accredited lenders to extend finance to so many struggling businesses during this crisis) and now with the recent launch of the Recovery Loan Scheme which will hopefully help businesses recover and grow as we emerge out of the pandemic.
Inspired by my lived experiences of disability through my eldest daughter, on a personal level I am proud of the platform that I created on Instagram called “Portraits of Grit” which aims to raise disability awareness and connect communities through the power of conversation and storytelling. Essentially it is a human library of stories and experiences of disability and, in addition to being online, has also been displayed in various cultural institutions including at the Lyric Hammersmith and at private events such as at The Wallace Collection.
How do you find the right work/life balance?
I’m still looking for the perfect balance! I’m not sure I believe there is such thing as having the perfect work/life balance as those two things constantly evolve and so your needs also fluctuate. It helps me to just be conscious of that.
What are your words of advice to other legal consultants?
Not to lose sight of the reason you chose to become a consultant in the first place, whatever that may be.
How do you start and end your day?
Doing my other job – parenting! Right now that means getting the kids up in the morning and, at the end of the day, making sure we’re ready for the next morning.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Being able to create the gift of time!