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Keeping you informed on the latest NewLaw thinking and insights

Ellie Smith - Our Featured Consultant.

This month's featured Consultant; Ellie Smith - Senior Consultant at KorumLegal.

 1. What made you leave the more ‘conventional’ legal practice to join the ‘Gig Economy’ as a Consultant?

In my last role I stopped doing a lot of the things that I loved because I was getting stressed trying to fit them in, which defeated the purpose of doing them in the first place!  I started to think that I didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore but, on taking some time out when I moved to Hong Kong as a trailing spouse, I was surprised to realise that I missed being a lawyer and that it was just the work/life balance that was lacking.  

2. How has your experience outside law helped your legal skills as a consultant? - What have you found is the "value add" or "special skills" that you bring to a client as a legal consultant?

I ended up on a commercial secondment in my last role, on the other side of the legal fence, implementing an agreement I had helped negotiate.  It was a great experience and one which gave me a much better understanding of the pressures and needs of our commercial counterparts and how much, as one of them, you appreciate sound commercial advice and a willing and capable lawyer to help you navigate the road blocks rather than create them.  It’s also helped me to better manage relationships and expectations as, having worn both hats, it’s easier to find a balance of risk that keeps everyone happy.

3. Can you tell us more about the lows and highs of your career in Law so far?

I’ve been really fortunate to work with so many talented people and on projects that continue to make a positive impact on people’s lives, the roll out of the National Broadband in Australia being one of them.  In terms of the lows, there are the usual stories about workaholic partners and “deal fatigue” but I think one of the lowest (and in hindsight one of the funniest) points of my career was when I was told to abandon an online project when I was working for one of Australia’s biggest retailers because the CEO had decided that: “there was no future in online shopping…..”. That was only 6 years ago when internet shopping had been well-established for a good decade.  Sometimes, it’s hard being pushed in a direction which, as a legal advisor, you know is wrong (whether commercially or legally).

4. What would you say to lawyers in private practice or in-house who are considering a more flexible work style?

I’d say that, if you’re someone who is yearning for more flexibility, more control in your work and more diversity in your daily work and the people you work with then consultancy is definitely something you should look into.

5. Tell us two interesting truths and one white lie

I broke my left hand last year and, a month later, broke my right hand.
I completed an endurance cycle in Australia 2 years ago which involved 235km of cycling and 5,000 meters of climbing in under 12 hours
I own a 6ft albino python named Monty

Last month white lie: Tessa Whittle - I love to cook!

Read our next newsletter to find out Ellie's one white lie.