Alex, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to join Plexus as a legal secondee?
I think partly because I was keen to get more involved with one client, rather than with private practice where you have lots of clients and dealing with the ‘on the surface’ stuff and not the nitty gritty stuff. That’s what really pushed me to try in-house.
I hadn’t really considered the secondment model until Plexus came up in a few different conversations. I thought it would suit me really well because you can be really flexible and mould your experience to what’s going on in your life.
I’m actually looking forward to taking some time off next year and travel once my current secondment wraps up in 3 months. That’s what’s so good about secondments, you can pick and choose when you are working and Plexus is super supportive of that. In private practice there is a certain amount of dedication that you need to have with your work and your clients, and I probably wouldn’t feel confident taking that time off.
What was it like starting your in-house secondment working remotely?
Starting my engagement online has been really good (apart from the odd IT issue of course). The transition to a new working environment has been pretty seamless for me. Everyone is really friendly and it hasn’t really felt like I’ve been on the outside at all.
I’ve been on engagement for three months which is both a long time and also not long at all. I’ve been really busy because the whole team has been busy and I’ve had a good opportunity to dip my foot into a lot of different parts of the business. I feel that as time moves on I get more and more of an understanding of how the business operates.
Just like with any new job remotely it can be hard to get to know people so I would really recommend just becoming as involved as possible with anything the business is doing; weekly trivia sessions, team meetings, after work drinks. The work will always sort itself out but if you have good working relationships with people then that will be what makes the most difference.
Oh! And prepare an answer to ‘tell me about yourself’ because it will come up a lot!
Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Plexus Engage secondee could be like?
For me, every day is different, but generally I’ll start with my emails. Any quick responses or see if there are more things I need to add to my list and start working with the most urgent first. I’ll often get calls from people all over the business with questions on advice or support, which is a new experience for me because it was much more formal teleconferences with clients when I was in private practice.
That’s one of the big differences that I’ve found compared to private practice. You need to be more flexible in approaching your day because your day can change depending on what the business needs. Often it is quite different from what I expect.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about becoming a secondee?
If you are thinking about starting a secondment; just jump in! The transition to in-house might seem like a big one, you know the evils of your current role and it’s secure, but I would recommend just going for it.
One thing someone told me earlier in the year is: it is never ‘not the right time’ to make the change. When you are a junior lawyer or have been in a firm for a few years you might feel like you don’t have the tools to make that change, but if you want to make the move then it’s probably the right time for you.
Alex joined the team in July and is currently on her first secondment.
Plexus Engage has helped Australia’s leading Legal functions adopt agile resourcing to fill capacity gaps and build more effective Legal functions for over ten years. Learn more about finding or becoming a Plexus lawyer today.