My career path has been an unusual one - I left London to do a masters degree in the US, then joined a New York law firm for several years, started my own fashion tech company, learned to code, led business development at a Y Combinator backed startup and am now working in London at an early stage technology accelerator run by Techstars and Virgin Media. I’ve been very lucky to be a part of many incredible communities which have all added a unique perspective to my professional development.
Of my class of 100 who started out at the law firm, a handful made partner at the firm but the vast majority moved on. Their stories are rich and diverse. From my cohort alone, ex-colleagues are working at the NFL, the Guggenheim Foundation, heading up strategy at Spartan Racing, running venture capital funds, leading human rights organizations and some are now stay-at-home parents who are also running their own businesses. I’m sad to admit that I’m not in regular contact with the vast majority of them. My team and I will forever share a common bond: strong friendships fostered by working with fascinating clients on headline-grabbing deals in a high-pressure environment. Despite good intentions, we rarely get together and many of us aren’t in the same city and so we can’t attend the alumni events that the firm organizes a couple of times a year.
As my starting class trajectory shows, it’s no longer taboo or uncommon for lawyers to move away from the legal profession into other careers. As lawyers explore and become successful in other sectors, their need for legal services arises. Being able to reach out to lawyers that they’ve already worked with, and know and trust, can make things much smoother. In my current role at the tech accelerator, the companies I am working with have endless legal questions as they embark on fundraising, negotiate partnership deals, hire employees, protect their IP and create defensible businesses. Some of these startups will go on to become high-growth companies and one or two may even get acquired. It’s really exciting to be a part of this family and I can’t wait to see what happens.
In a couple of months, the accelerator will be over and I will be figuring out my next steps. I would love to be able to chat with some of my old colleagues whom I haven’t been able to keep in touch with and bounce ideas off them. Frankly, given that we haven’t been in touch for so long, there isn’t a natural or organic way to make that happen which is a lost opportunity for me and ultimately for all of us in the network.