April 28 2020
Why I love working flexibly as a lawyer
Nathalia Trois Colognese
Not even in my wildest career dreams could I ever have imagined that I would meet so many great people and see inside so many amazing companies as I have done in three years practising law in London.
I studied and trained as a lawyer in Brazil, where I qualified. Moving to London in 2016 was a life choice much more than a career choice. It was a new beginning and I had no clue of what to expect in relation to my career, which was growing in Brazil. There, my initial goal as a law student had been to work in the public sector as it looked to me this would be the best way that I could make a difference in people’s lives. This remained my goal during many years of internships while in law school (quick fact for the curious: Brazilian LLB lasts for 5 years). When I started working as a qualified lawyer however, it became clear to me that I was shaped to do something else and that my willingness to help people could very well apply to other forms of work.
As a newly qualified in Brazil, I started in a full time law firm job as most of us usually do. Quickly that turned into providing external legal service not only for a law firm but also to other large organisations. My tasks were then performed from my own office, on my own terms and working hours. It was pure variety, freedom and motivation in the form of work (in my view, of course). Everything depended on my initiative and communication but this was never an issue for me as a person as I’ve always had a tendency to fill my days with passion and goals as quickly as a blink. Boredom is not in my vocabulary!
It turns out that there was a way for me to keep this ethos going even after moving across the ocean – this is what we nowadays call ‘flexible working’.
I love the law, I love offices and I love structure. I also love entrepreneurship, a certain freedom to work and to be able to take initiative. I believe that as flexible workers people like me with a variety of passions can find the excitement and motivation to be able to pursue a career, but with a mixture of different experiences within it. On the client’s side, the advantage a flexible workforce brings to their company is that because we’re always improving, keeping updated on the latest market and legal trends, we can add so much value to how their teams work. Accidently or not, depending on the nature of the role, we come to a new client bringing fresh eyes to often great and ambitious teams who work so hard for their businesses to grow but that sometimes can benefit from a different point of view, even when that was not the main reason for us to come into their lives.
We work on many forms and lengths of projects, but what I’ve been mostly experiencing is that whether a project is long-term or not, our previous experiences are welcome and appreciated by our clients, in a way that we can contribute to their work, even in the little time we have together. In the end, it’s all about feeling part of something and making a difference, even if only temporarily. It’s about feeling useful, productive and appreciated for helping out these amazing people that we interact with on a daily basis while on a project.
I love variety and love learning new points of view. With flexible working I am always broadening my knowledge of what work can look like within different institutions. I also love to be part of something, even if temporarily, and feel appreciated for what I do. By doing flexible work, these criteria are all met. It’s a challenging but mostly exciting job, and I am very grateful this form of working which I had left in Brazil found its way back to me through a different path in London, most recently in the form of Mary, Ben and the lovely team at Flex.
Lincoln would say “it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years”. As a Flex lawyer, I would say – it’s not the length of the project you work on; it’s the connections you make along the way, the experience you gain and the difference you make.
Thanks Flex for your trust in my work and for your continuous amazing support - you guys are GOLD!