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Legal Consultant Profile: "The Flexible Explorer" Richard Dormer.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a New Zealander, with a love of travel, and have been lucky enough to combine that with my career. I’ve travelled to over 100 countries, and have enjoyed living and working as a lawyer in New Zealand, London, South Africa, Mozambique, Singapore and Hong Kong.

2. What path led you to be attracted to the legal consulting path and the flexible work model?

Over the years I’ve sought a work/life balance that is difficult to achieve in BigLaw, particularly the ability to take a month or two off between assignments.

But the main reason for taking this path is the continual variety and challenge of starting a fresh assignment with new clients, in a different industry, with a different culture, and new experiences. The learning curves are steep and challenging, and always interesting.

3. 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?

Aside from specific and technical legal skills, I’ve found that clients are best served by a consultant who is open to stretching themselves, and to taking on new and varying roles and responsibilities within an assignment. It’s often an ability to learn and a breadth of experience that adds most value, with an enthusiasm and ability to hit the ground running.

4. Was it challenging transitioning from BigLaw to NewLaw? How did you overcome the challenge?

It was challenging in that it was very different to my previous long term in-house and private practice roles. However, even before making the switch 5 years ago I was always confident that NewLaw was by nature the right direction for me.

5. Do you have any tips for consultants looking into joining the flexible workforce?

At a practical level, I would say just do it, give it a go and back yourself. NewLaw firms and the flexible workforce will continue to grow and grow, ultimately due to the value and savings they deliver to clients. It’s a long term career option, and the dynamic is innovative and enthusiastic. Equally, I have many friends and colleagues who have tried NewLaw for a year or two and then returned to a traditional in-house role, and have been the better for it.