Eve Cornwell leaves fee-earning to take legal tech product manager role

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By Aishah Hussain on

Linklaters junior lawyer and YouTube sensation takes career in new direction

Eve Cornwell — image credit: @gabsek (Instagram)

Linklaters junior lawyer and YouTube sensation Eve Cornwell is taking her career in a new direction, leaving legal practice for a role in legal tech.

The magic circle lawyer revealed in a lengthy post on LinkedIn on Tuesday that she has decided to join the firm’s in-house contract automation platform CreateiQ as a full-time product manager.

“This year starts a new chapter for me, as I pivot out of legal practice and into full-time tech as a product manager at CreateiQ,” wrote Cornwell. “I think this officially makes me a woman in STEM!”.

Cornwell, who started her YouTube channel in 2013 and is closing in on 400,000 subscribers and 22 million views, has documented her path to becoming a lawyer through regular ‘vlogs’; from studying law at Bristol University to completing the LPC at ULaw and training and qualifying as a solicitor at Linklaters.

“As students we often discuss how difficult it can be to enter the legal industry, but we rarely discuss how difficult it can also be to leave,” Cornwell continued in the post. “As a junior lawyer, with 5+ years of study and work under my belt, the idea of walking away from a career that had become merged with my sense of purpose, self-identity and achievement was terrifying.”

Cornwell qualified as a solicitor at Linklaters in September 2021, specialising in corporate M&A. During her training contract, she went on secondment to the firm’s in-house legal tech start-up, Nakhoda, which developed CreateiQ.

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She went on to explain how she made the career move. “The first (and immediate) tough question was whether I wanted my career to remain in legal practice — i.e., do you still want to be a lawyer?”, Cornwell explained. “This was a lengthy consideration that came down to the following assessment: do I want to advise or build? As my early-stage lego sets could have predicted, the latter suits me best. As a result, in mid/late 2021, I decided to apply to the tech sector — but made the commitment to only apply for non-practice and fully tech-discipline roles.”

“Entering 2022 in product management challenges me to design, build and most importantly — disrupt. After 2+ years working within practice, I’m now building the tech that automates and improves legal processes. Satisfyingly full circle,” she wrote, adding:

“I hope this post motivates at least one person to pursue a passion, and like me — apply to a job they think they will never get!”

Cornwell received congratulatory comments from several of her connections, including fellow ‘lawfluencer’ Chrissie Wolfe, who left her role as a med neg lawyer at Irwin Mitchell to freelance in the autumn last year. “Making the leap out of practice is nerve wracking but it sounds like you’ve made exactly the right decision and I’m sure you won’t regret it!”, she said.

Meanwhile, aspiring lawyer Elizabeth Durughian said, “it’s so nice to see you moving, developing and doing what you like”, adding: “I was inspired by you to go into law… And now, before even starting university, you inspire me to research the field further”.

Cornwell’s career move could well inspire the next gen of lawyers looking to branch out into ‘new law’ roles.

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