July 24 2020
A Job that Works Around You
Bonjour! Whether you wish to work from the French Alps (as I currently am), the sandy beaches of the Bahamas, or a busy city office, as long as you have an internet connection, F-LEX is able to offer you exactly that! As a freelance lawyer, F-LEX provides you with the flexibility to work when, where and upon what you please (as long as you meet the deadlines!).
At the age of 16, I knew that I wanted to become a Barrister, and I set upon a path to achieve this. It was clear; I would complete my GCSE’s, go on to do A-Levels, study for an LLB before completing the BPTC and obtaining Pupillage. It didn’t quite go to plan. But at the age of 16 did I think that I would be writing a blog post to you whilst looking at snowy mountain peaks? Short answer: No. So how did I get here? Well, this is my story.
I started early. Taking on work experience in a local Chambers at 16 gave me my first insight into life at the Bar. Quickly, there were a number of attractions to be seen: 1) The thrill of the courtroom; 2) The challenge of persuasion; and 3) The freedom of self-employment, an element that I now enjoy as a contractor.
I continued through my education, choosing subjects that I thought would help me along the way (History, English Literature, mixing it up with Mathematics and Chemistry which still have an element of logic and calculation) before commencing my LLB at the University of Southampton. Whilst at University, I joined the Innocence Project, where I climbed the ranks to become President of the society. Taking on a real case, with a desperate client, it was paramount that I was able to manage my time effectively, a skill that has since proven valuable (as you will see) and has allowed me to work as I do today.
I succeeded on my LLB, graduating to a scholarship from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple to complete the beast of the BPTC at The City Law School. Being Called to the Bar a year later, no Pupillage in sight, I returned home and balanced a number of placements: a job at a medico-legal agency (where I became manager), an internship at a solicitor firm, and volunteering at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Although these experiences provided valuable life lessons, I needed to jump back onto the path to the Bar. Obtaining Pupillage still proving tricky, my love of learning took me back to studying, and I completed an LLM in Islamic Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Again, time management was key as along-side my full-time studies, I worked part-time as an in-house lawyer at an accountancy firm, a position that became full-time once my studies had concluded.
I continued working in-house until my life took another turn - I got married! Again, time-management was crucial. Not only did I have to settle into a new personal life, but the marriage took me out of London resulting in a commute time triple to what it was prior. On top of this, I had a house to renovate. I therefore had to put my negotiation skills into practice and managed to reduce my office hours whilst keeping the same pay. This freed up some time and provided me with the opportunity to make another move - into the world of freelance lawyering.
The lovely people at F-LEX were on the case for me straight away, and it wasn’t long before I was completing work for a legal-500 firm from home. The work was perfect. I was back working in litigation, I was able to manage the workload myself against my other professional and personal commitments, and I was learning.
Starting with F-LEX back in November was a blessing in disguise when the Coronavirus hit. With a long commute via train and tube into the office, which was beginning to take its toll anyway, it was time to say goodbye to the city life and move “in-home”.
So far flexible working has been perfect. Not only have I been able to earn a wage through this challenging time, but the ability to choose when I work, together with no longer having a commute, I have been able to renovate a house, continue learning by completing online courses with prestigious universities and stay healthy by carving out time for exercise - creating the ideal work-life balance. I have also had the opportunity to work with a variety of people, from solicitor firms, to in-house teams, to sole practitioners, which has certainly provided me with the diversity that I crave. Best of all, I am not boxed into a single practice area, having had the chance to work on different areas of the law. So far, the flexible working lifestyle has proven to be a dream, and I couldn’t thank the team at F-LEX more for setting this up.