Created with Peerpoint

A global career with flexibility and high-calibre work from the comfort of home

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By Anuja Venkataramani on

A sneak peek into the world of legal consulting at Allen & Overy’s Peerpoint

Having international exposure as part of one’s career is crucial. Not only does it open up new opportunities, it also builds awareness through navigating different cultures and working styles in international teams. Peerpoint allows lawyers to acquire valuable international experience without sacrificing personal and family commitments.  

Peerpoint provides its legal consultants with the opportunity to access global opportunities without the need to relocate. It is open to lawyers with upwards of three years of post-qualification experience, and is focused on providing its legal consultants with a career that allows them to balance fulfilment in their personal and professional lives. Some of Peerpoint’s teams from the UK, Australia, the UAE and Singapore sat down with Legal Cheek to speak about the opportunities it can offer its consultants.

Lucy Hamblin, Senior Resourcing Manager at Peerpoint UK

Hamblin tells me that with A&O being the first Magic Circle firm to establish a legal consulting platform in the UK, Peerpoint has been in the market for ten years now. “This makes us well-versed at understanding the pros and cons of a consulting career and what support consultants need to be successful in this way of working”. Being part of A&O, Peerpoint’s consultants are able to benefit from technical assistance, career coaching and softer skills training, giving them well-rounded support.

Hamblin explains that current client needs are pointing to a demand for legal consultants at the level of two to seven years PQE. “This is a product of lots of in-house functions being relatively top heavy, having budget constraints and a difficulty in sourcing typical secondees from law firms”, she details. In terms of the types of practice areas where this demand is most likely to come from, Hamblin earmarks corporate and capital markets as far as the UK is concerned, noting that this follows a period of substantial market uncertainty.

Peerpoint’s legal consultants benefit from the platform’s flexibility, both in terms of geographical location and between personal and professional projects. It currently has a UK-based consultant on assignment with an energy client based in the Middle East, supporting the negotiation of their infrastructure contracts and general land matters. In addition to some travel to the region, the consultant is working a local Sunday to Thursday week. In another example, a Hong Kong-based consultant is supporting a UK client by providing legal support on a broad array of M&A transactional work and other corporate matters. They are working fully remotely and flexing to UK hours, without the need for relocation.

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The increased flexibility enables consultants to pursue their personal goals and interests. For example a Hong Kong-based Corporate and M&A lawyer who trains and competes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu when not working; an Australia-based regulatory lawyer passionate about yoga, who is on the board of Yoga Australia and pursuing a bespoke tailoring qualification; and a UK-based lawyer who has used the flexibility offered by Peerpoint to pursue a PhD.

Hamblin summarises Peerpoint’s offerings for its legal consultants in three words: “variety”, “flexibility” and “support”.

Rachel Carter, Head of Peerpoint Australia

Carter explains that Peerpoint was the first law firm-backed flexible resourcing platform to launch in the Australian market. “Five of the ‘Big Six’ law firms in Australia now have platforms like Peerpoint. One thing that sets Peerpoint apart from the others is its ability to offer Australian lawyers unique international work opportunities”, she points out. “Peerpoint now has on-the-ground operations in the UK, US, UAE, Middle East and Asia, and the Peerpoint management team in Australia has visibility of the work opportunities available in each of those markets at any one time, so that we can bring those opportunities to our consultants in a really meaningful way.”

Carter notes that in initial meetings with lawyers interested in joining Peerpoint, the focus is on gauging their level of interest in international opportunities — on a remote, fly-in/fly-out or a relocation basis. This, combined with an understanding of the markets they are interested in working in, then allows Peerpoint to tap into A&O’s extensive global client network to identify opportunities aligned with their preferences. “We have Peerpoint consultants based across Australia and they have remotely supported a wide range of projects. From the New York-based securitised products team of a global investment bank, to the operations of a Qatar-based energy company and a California-based solar panel manufacturer”, Carter details.

Carter also emphasises the importance of the flexibility that Peerpoint offers its consultants. “Peerpoint consultants have complete control over the direction and development of their career. Rather than allowing their career to develop in a linear way, consulting allows lawyers to choose each of their career moves in a way that is fulfilling and meets their personal needs at the time. We recently supported, for example, a former partner with a strong disputes and insurance practice, to gain in-house experience in an interest and market growth area by securing them an engagement to assist a major bank’s technology function”, she explains.

Jenny Grotepass, Head of Peerpoint UAE

The Peerpoint UAE team is international in its own right, with colleagues based in Dubai, Sydney, London and Belfast. “The spread in locations of the team reflects the global nature of opportunities, clients and consultants they work with on a daily basis. The team often places consultants who are based in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong or Singapore with clients, not only in the UAE but also across the wider GCC region,” Grotepass explains. What this means is that the team has deep knowledge in facilitating remote support into the region.

Grotepass goes on to provide a few examples of the kinds of projects that Peerpoint UAE’s consultants can get involved with. “We work with a broad range of clients in the UAE and wider GCC region. These include international and regional financial institutions, large state-owned organisations, regional gigaprojects and exciting growing UAE-based businesses”. She notes that the projects vary in nature and can cover ongoing support, specific strategic projects, GC and deputy GC roles as well as more transactional advice, with most of these being regional in nature. With such a wide variety of work available, consultants have ample learning and development opportunities.

Find out more about Peerpoint

Grotepass also discusses how Peerpoint allows its consultants to build a global career and what she sees as the benefits of acquiring such international experience. “Peerpoint facilitates a number of remote global opportunities as well as opportunities to relocate to a new location for its legal consultants. As part of that, lawyers are able to gain the benefits of working in new countries and being exposed to different cultures: varied legal experience, new technical skills and jurisdictional know-how, and – possibly most exciting – the opportunity to learn from highly diverse teams”, she explains. Through this, Peerpoint’s legal consultants are able to operate in new cultures and grow a much broader awareness of the sheer volume of different approaches in which lawyers operate, a crucial skill in today’s world.

To finish off, Grotepass explores how the role of a practicing lawyer differs from that of a consultant lawyer, an important consideration, no doubt, for those contemplating a career change. “Firstly, legal consulting provides the flexibility to remain in the workforce without putting the rest of life on hold. Its benefits are wide-ranging — more control over your time and the ability to balance professional and personal ambitions, including family responsibilities”, she notes.

“Secondly, you are also offered more control over, and variety in, work. Legal consulting enables informed decision-making about the future direction of a lawyer’s career, offering the opportunity to work with different clients, sectors, and teams (including within Allen & Overy in some cases), including the right to accept or decline potential assignments”, Grotepass details.

Felicity Warren, Senior Client Development Manager at Peerpoint Asia

Warren explains that the Peerpoint team in Singapore has been active in the market and servicing clients across all sectors since 2016. “The market works closely with Hong Kong to service both North and South Asia, and Peerpoint consultants can often be offered opportunity to work across both locations without the need to relocate”, she says.

Discussing what features of the Asia Pacific market make it a particularly fertile ground for legal consultants to gain global exposure, Warren notes: “The interest in Asia from markets all around the world as an attractive investment destination has been sustained despite challenging global environment — ASEAN (The Association of South East Asian Nations) is due to become the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030. This creates an opportunity to work on assignments that bridge across continents and cultures, as it continues to be one of the fastest-growing regions of the global economy.”

Warren also points out that Peerpoint’s role in allowing its consultant lawyers to benefit from international opportunities is continuing and long-term, recognising the challenges of time zone differences and inter-cultural communication. “Peerpoint is here to lead on negotiating a placement structure that is both pragmatic and commercial for the consultant and the client. Placement check-ins allow us to support and guide our consultants to navigate any ongoing cultural or other challenges they might be facing”, she notes. In terms of long-term career objectives, Warren provides the example of a lawyer they were working with, who was seeking to relocate to Australia within the next few years. “Our client team was thoughtfully briefing her on assignments that gave her this market exposure where it was available”, she points out.

Offering access to global opportunities without the need to relocate, Peerpoint is a viable alternative for lawyers who value increased flexibility and balance between personal and professional fulfilment. As such, Peerpoint’s legal consultants are able to gain international exposure, progress on their personal goals and shape their career as they choose.

Find out more about Peerpoint’s global opportunities and apply to join its panel of legal consultants here.

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