Ivan: Corporate & Commercial Lawyer

Ivan is a senior corporate/commercial lawyer with a wealth of in-house experience. His career includes time spent with some of the world’s largest brands and law firms. Ivan also holds a PhD in corporate governance and is a successful musician. 


Can you describe your experience of working through Obelisk?

Working through Obelisk has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to remain in the market as a senior legal professional in a model that is flexible and beneficial for both the client and myself. It allows me to maintain a much needed sense of belonging to a team, while at the same time being properly looked after as a person and as an independent professional.


What makes your expertise unique?

I have had the wonderful opportunity during my career, to be a senior in-house lawyer and global general counsel for many years, having an international outreach in large organisations where my skills as a lawyer and as a senior manager were put to the test, always to a successful outcome. I suspect that I am as a professional the result of the collision of two worlds. From one side you have all my formation as a lawyer in Latin America, working in Spanish, under Civil Law and being exposed to that tradition not only culturally but also legally. On the other side, which amounts to the last 20 years of my professional life in the UK, I have achieved excellence as an academic, which was complemented by all the working experience I have accumulated over the years as a corporate/commercial lawyer in the role of head of legal and senior general counsel. This mix of skills, and experience has positioned me well as a very effective global general counsel. But I guess that beyond any academic or professional qualifications, what has always made a difference to me is that I am a people’s person! I enjoy being part of a team and I am always determined to enjoy what we do!


What’s the most rewarding aspect of flexible working as a lawyer?

My true passion is music and I am an active concert pianist! So, having a working model (through Obelisk) that allows me to render my services in a flexible manner, has allowed me to continue with all my music activity, which is a very important part of my life!


What’s the most challenging?

The challenge is to deal with the uncertainty around a project coming to an end and not knowing for sure when there will be a new project. However, I must say that all the team at Obelisk has always been amazing at keeping an eye for new opportunities to keep me busy!


What are your proudest professional and personal achievements so far?

Professionally I am particularly proud of the moment when I was awarded the doctorate degree in law by Cambridge University after a few long years researching  the area of law and economics of corporate groups’ regulation. Personally, it has been a great achievement for me to have been able to combine my professional life as a lawyer with my life as an artist (professional pianist) both at a very top level, and both interacting very positively to my benefit through the years!


How do you find the right work/life balance?

It is a recipe that involves good time-management skills, with a lot of good team work, the good sense to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent, and discipline not to breach the quality and attention to time that is me-time, and the time that is work-time.


What are your words of advice to other legal consultants?

My advice is that working as a legal consultant is a wonderful model, especially when you are a senior lawyer, letting you manage your own time, your own work-load, and devote your quality time to the things that really matter to you, both professionally and personally. The life of a legal consultant can be really rewarding because it allows you to meet a lot of interesting people, it allows you to help and feel really useful and it is a wonderful way to use your skills and experience in a very efficient manner.


How do you start and end your day?

I start my day with a 30 minute walk in the park (after the school-run) at 7.45 am. Then I start my working day at 8.45 am with a daily catch up call with the team at my client. I end my day at different times because doing M&A work, the demands of transactions can take place at any minute, especially if you are working internationally. But I normally try stop at 8pm to relax with the family and have dinner. Then sometimes I check in on a few things at around 9pm. Finally, I practise the piano for 1 hour and end my day after watching the news at 10pm.


If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I wish I could fly or simply have a way to physically transport myself anywhere in just a few seconds. Especially now that we have been in lockdown, many of us with our families so far away! The power to reduce the distance from the people or places we love and be able to find a way to be physically there within seconds is truly a power I would love to have.

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