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May 7

April '21 Lawyer of the Month: Tam Irvine

Flex Lawyers

Emma McDowell

Emma McDowell

Tam Irvine, Lawyer of the Month Flex Legal

We’re really happy to declare Tam Irvine our Lawyer of the Month for April 2021! Tam has been working with Flex as a legal consultant for some time now, and has mostly worked on a prolonged placement with Allen and Overy. He’s constantly received fantastic feedback, and as this blog post demonstrates is a pleasure to work with!

We caught up with Tam to ask him about his work through Flex Legal, his career journey from New Zealand, and more:

Hi Tam, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I am a New Zealand qualified barrister and solicitor from the Hutt Valley near the capital.  I was lucky to start my career at a firm called JTLAW, a small but punchy insolvency law firm where I was able to experience a broad diet of work (ranging from court hearings to transactional work). At JTLAW I was lucky to learn from the late Justin Toebes (recognised by Chambers Global as one of NZ's leading insolvency lawyers) who taught me to rely on myself and to just get on with progressing matters.  Additionally, not having access to expensive databases (WestLaw, NexusLexis etc) 'encouraged' me to approach advocacy from a first principles basis (there not really being any other alternative), this has been invaluable in helping me adapt to contracting in a new jurisdiction.

Why did you choose to transition into interim lawyer work?

I moved to London in 2017 and found it difficult to find firms who recognised (or much cared) about my experience in a small and unheard of law firm in NZ.  This necessitated an open mind towards London's broad range of contracting opportunities.  Happily enough, I have found it highly enjoyable.  It is great to have the freedom to choose when and where I work.  In addition I have had the chance to work alongside lawyers and legal professionals from all over the world - an excellent remedy to the 'Kiwi Bubble' that I pretty much live within.

How are you finding your current role?

I am currently enjoying a fantastic placement in the banking team at A&O Belfast (working remotely). This role largely relates to syndicated lending deals and I am lucky to be presented with a reasonably varied diet of work that changes from day to day.  I owe a debt of thanks to the senior associates that I am currently working for as I really feel that this role is providing me with solid experience that adds to my capabilities as a legal professional.  I am looking forward to learning more about advising on banking matters and, hopefully, becoming an indispensable member of their banking team.

Could you tell us a bit more about your experience working through Flex Legal?

Flex Legal has been great.  They possess a responsive, friendly and helpful team of consultants who make me feel valued and respected.  Their system of identifying potential contracting opportunities is first class and I appreciate being free from the burden of writing numerous, tedious and repetitive cover letters!

What advice would you give to aspiring solicitors currently working as paralegals through Flex Legal?

When considering a role, don't get too hung up on whether it meets your professional goals right now.  I made that mistake too often when I first came to London and probably turned down a host of modest roles that, given time and application, would probably have led to much better ones after a time.  Ambition is fine - just watch out for vanity!

Finally, how are you enjoying the steady return to normality?

I am not going to lie, I had a fairly large week when the pubs first re-opened a few weeks ago.  It was fantastic to be able to catch up with my mates over a (non-canned) beer in the sun (or, more accurately, in the dark and rain).  Since then, I have been prioritising moderation, making sure my interactions are meaningful and am also looking to enjoying some sports now that I am allowed.  I've now realised the importance of seizing the moment and am busily booking activities that I was not prioritising before.  This summer will be a great time to live in London (or anywhere in the UK for that matter).

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