Posted in Interviews on 29 May 2019
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I did a dual English Law and French Law degree at King’s College London. I thought I would become a family lawyer and protect the rights of children, but I ended up at Ashurst where I qualified in the TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) group!
Post qualification, I was sent on secondment to Virgin.net. This is where I fell in love with working for technology companies and I never looked back.
I joined Google in 2004 and stayed for about 8 years. I left when Google had become a big corporation. At that time, my husband had just founded Cloudreach and helping him with all his legal requirements reminded me of just how much I loved working for fast growing technology startups. This is when K- Legal was born.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal sector?
It seems to me that when I was doing my A-levels there were only three options available: doctor, accountant or lawyer. I don’t like blood. I don’t love numbers. I was crazy about Allie McBeal (yes that absolutely reveals my age!). The choice was therefore a no- brainer.
Tell us a bit more about your role...
I have always seen my role as a lawyer being about making it easy or easier for my clients to do what they do best without having to worry about getting the law wrong. It’s about taking the hassle away and helping clients close deals that are good deals for them. It is about knowing the law, simplifying it and applying it in a practical and commercial way. At The Legal Pod and The Privacy Compliance Hub, we are passionate about taking the complicated and making it simpler.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the fact that I am always learning and always challenged. I enjoy thinking outside of the box and finding innovative ways of delivering legal services. I take it as a compliment when people say: “You are not a typical lawyer”.
What’s the most challenging element of your job? / Have you faced any crossroads in your career so far and if so how did you manage that?
I am passionate about the protection of personal information. At The Privacy Compliance Hub, we are technology lawyers who love innovation and new technologies but equally we recognise that organisations really need to think about how they are using people’s personal information.
Our biggest challenge is getting organisations to shift away from a mindset of: data protection is just a boring compliance exercise which involves ticking a few boxes; to: understanding why data protection matters, caring about protecting people’s personal information and then actually doing data protection - continuously.
We are on a mission to help organisations create and drive a culture of continuous privacy compliance by helping them build, maintain and ultimately own their privacy compliance story. That is not an easy mission to take-on. We are not always preaching to the converted. I am however an optimist and I am convinced that just like recycling is something that everyone just does today, soon, people will automatically incorporate privacy compliance in everything they do.
So far what has been your career highlight?
I have to say, launching and running The Privacy Compliance Hub with Nigel Jones. Our clients were finding privacy compliance hard and so we challenged ourselves to find a good, practical solution for them. It is nice to not just be talking about being innovative and disruptive - We are actually doing it!
Who or what has had the biggest influence on your professional career so far?
It is not down to one person but multiple inspirational, smart people who have taken the time to teach, lead and influence by their actions (for privacy reasons, I shall not name them!). Some were lawyers, others were the founders or CEOs of the companies I worked with. I am in awe of anyone who takes on a challenge. Any challenge. It is those people who constantly energise me.
What do you think the emerging skills are which will best equip lawyers for the future?
Technology is changing a lot of professions including the legal profession. To remain relevant in the future, lawyers need to acquire a deeper understanding of what the business they are supporting is trying to achieve, why and how. They need to get away from doing the easy stuff and focus on doing the hard stuff that requires more thinking and adds more value. The easy stuff will eventually all be done by machines, both at a lower cost and with higher accuracy.
Do you have any advice for new trainees or paralegals beginning a career in law?
Meet lots of people. Listen, learn, apply and repeat and then when you are ready, find the environment in which you thrive in (law firm, in-house - small legal team, in-house - large legal team etc...). I truly believe that you can only be good at what you do if you love what you do. And of course: Don’t be scared. Be bold. Challenge yourself.
What do you believe women in law can be doing to support the next generation of female lawyers?
Same as above: teach the next generation of female lawyers not to be scared. To be bold. To challenge and believe in themselves. As women, we also need to facilitate and promote the flexible working culture. I am a mother of three and being a good mother is as important to me as being a good lawyer and a good entrepreneur.
I think men and women should be able to do both. Be great parents and have successful careers and technology has made this possible, all we have to do is embrace it
What could you see yourself being or doing if you had not pursued a career in the legal sector?
I always wanted to work with children whose lives are a little bit hard. There is still time! I may do this later in my life. I also like the idea of being a furniture designer but that is clearly not going to happen!
What do you do to relax outside the office?
Relax? Anyone who knows me would say I am not about relaxing. I am all about doing more, seeing more, living more (I only have one shot at this thing called life!). I am a Londoner and I like to enjoy everything London has to offer: exhibitions, food, theatre, events. I am also a mother of three, very active kids, so I do (if I am honest) spend a fair amount of my weekends driving them to theatre school, sewing classes, gymnastic squad etc...
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