I knew early on that by working in the profession I was entering a man’s world, hardly surprising when you consider that until 1919, bizarre as it may sound, women were not allowed to work as solicitors in the UK.So I was under no illusions when I started Obelisk Support in 2010. But I entered the market with a real purpose to my business; one that goes beyond making money. I am an entrepreneur and an innovator, dedicated to keeping ex-City lawyers working flexibly in a way that benefits themselves, their clients and their families – and this purpose gave me real confidence and commitment despite the male domination around me. I have turned being a woman and a mother into a competitive advantage. I have made my experience of working in a male-dominated business part of the solution that Obelisk offers to law firms and in-house legal teams within major corporates. Because I know the traditional, male-dominated legal world is increasingly not fit for purpose, and because I am flexible, open to change and new ways of working – classic female qualities you may say – I have created a legal outsourcing service that is fit for the 21st century for both the clients and the lawyers we work with. The world of work is changing, driven by the increased demand – all round – for flexibility. Corporate clients are searching for flexible and affordable solutions and more and more lawyers are deciding to step off the brutal City-law firm treadmill, known for bringing healthy financial rewards but terribly unhealthy hours that have caused untold damage to individuals and their families. At the heart of this new flexible workforce are thousands of women who trained as lawyers, worked in the City and then struggled to return to work after starting their families. I created Obelisk to provide both the technical and human platform that these corporate clients and lawyers need to connect and thrive. With our lawyers, our clients and a mantel piece already full of awards, Obelisk is fast becoming the “John Lewis” of law – always reliable, always on time, providing what you need when you need it. Today Obelisk has one of the largest, most diverse pools of legal talent in the world, with over 800 lawyers (96 per cent are parents) on our books. The business is growing fast, with turnover increasing by 200 per cent year on year. And we are consistently attracting some of the world’s most major businesses, with clients such as Goldman Sachs, BT, Thomson Reuters, Vodafone, RBS and Deutsche Bank. Read more on women in work:
- Female CEOs: Business turnaround extraordinaires?
- Five female business leaders on balancing work and and time spent with family
- Gender pay gap needs to be addressed
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