Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to join Plexus as a legal secondee?
I've oscillated between private practice and government over the last 12 years. I had just decided to wrap up a permanent role and was starting to feel a little restless and unmotivated. I had already worked in private practice, state and federal government and had my own practice. I never had the desire to be a partner in a big law firm but I still wanted to do interesting and challenging work. I knew it was time for me to start looking for something different but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go next.
I've always been a bit of a free agent, both professionally and personally and I thought that seconding might be the next thing for me. I had heard about Plexus years ago, while I was at another firm but it hadn’t occurred to me to reach out until earlier this year.
What attracted you to the secondment model?
I was attracted to the idea of working on a specific project for a set period of time, knowing there's an objective, a start date and an end date. I like knowing that I am needed for a specific purpose to reach a goal and then I get to move on once it’s done.
What are the advantages of becoming a Plexus Engage legal secondee?
I get to meet and work with different types of people. I also learn about different types of businesses and work in different corporate environments. I like the variety. I think the secondment model of being placed in different teams, and working on a variety of projects with different companies works for my personality and keeps me engaged. It's not the conventional way to practice law because you could be put anywhere to do anything but I love that because I'm always doing something new.
Any advice or recommendations for lawyers interested in becoming a secondee?
Firstly, it's not for everyone. You have to be ready to forgo a steady income and the perks of a permanent role. Secondly, you have to be comfortable with change and uncertainty. Although you know when your contract is going to expire you don’t know if they’re going to extend it or if that's going to be the end of it until the last minute. You also won't know when or where your next secondment is going to be or whether you're going to enjoy it. You must be ready to embrace uncertainty and change and have something to do with your time in between engagements.
For me, those are the exact reasons why I was drawn to it. I love the practice of law, but it’s not my entire life. I have plenty of other interests outside of being a Lawyer and seconding allows me to focus on those things in between engagements.
In seconding, it's important to be flexible and comfortable with uncertainty. My experience is that most Lawyers aren't, we always want to know what's happening next and we love to plan. At this stage in my life, I'm embracing the opposite. I like the surprise element of “Let's see what is going to happen”, “Let's see if they extend me”, “I wonder where or when I get to work next?”.
How did you come across Plexus?
I saw a post on LinkedIn that said, “contact us for further information”. I filled out the box with my details and uploaded my resume and I got a call a couple of days later. It was just one of those serendipitous events that was meant to be, as everything aligned so smoothly. I started a week or two later. For me, it was just perfect timing and I’m very happy.
Can you tell us about the secondment you're on now?
I’m working for an insurer that provides professional indemnity insurance for doctors and health care professionals. The company wanted some lawyers to help to expand their legal offering and set up a commercial law firm providing general commercial, employment, property and estate planning legal services to their members in addition to their existing medico-legal services. It’s been a unique experience to be part of a project of setting up a private practice but not necessarily working in one. Even though I've set up my own practice before, I've never been involved in a large project to set up a law firm. It’s been fun and interesting and I’ve learnt something new every day.
The people I've got to work with are amazing. Even though I’m a contractor and won’t be there for a long time, they’ve been incredibly friendly and made me feel like part of the team. It's been a great experience. I'm on this secondment until the end of September and we have discussed an ongoing role, but although I’ve loved working there, I want to continue seconding.
Why would someone choose Plexus?
The flexibility, variety, and the opportunity to do exciting work with different clients is what attracted me to Plexus. I've always worked autonomously so I like that Plexus onboard you, introduce you to the clients and then leave you to it. If you need support, you can ask for it.
Also, I am grateful that I can be direct and honest about what my plans are. You are not stuck doing anything you don't want to do. If you need to leave a secondment or you're not enjoying it and want to wrap up, you can always have that chat with the Plexus team. For example, I was talking to Plexus about wanting to take some time off in between secondments to go overseas and they were so accommodating. There is always support and someone to chat to when you need it. Everyone at Plexus is really easy-going and approachable so it's been a great experience so far.
Gia is currently on her first secondment with Plexus since first starting as a secondee in April 2022.
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.