Portraits | Axiom Attorneys


Published on

Published in: Business, Career
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Portraits | Axiom Attorneys

  1. 1. PortraitsAX I O M L AW.C O.UKAXIOMLAW.CO.UK
  2. 2. A X I O M L AW Y E RAlessandroLiottaLife at Axiom:• Google• Vodafone• Amazon.comLife before Axiom:• Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman• BTWhat was your first impression of Axiom?I sensed Axiom was different the firsttime I entered the office. I could tell theenvironment was unique. They were picky andobsessed with getting it right (just like me),but I still found them to be very approachableand happy. They had created a spirit in theoffice that was contagious.Did you have concerns before joining?I wasn’t a very senior lawyer–certainly nota partner-level lawyer–and I wanted tobe sure that there would still be opportunitiesfor further experience and progression.I found very quickly that I was given more andmore responsibility within my engagements.I was getting direct exposure to clients–whichwas very appealing to me–and my confidencegrew as I acquired new skills. I was exposedto different industries, different businesscultures, different people, and differentapproaches to risk management and the overallmanagement of in-house legal departments.Every engagement requires you to adaptand change a little. It’s challenging, but veryinteresting and rewarding.Can you describe an engagementthat was particularly memorable?My latest engagement at Google has beencompletely different from anything else I’veever done. It all developed out of a conversationwith the client where they expressed concernover a gap in resources. I suggested a potentialsolution, in response to which they requestedI draft a formal business case outlining theidea and potential costs.Working together with the Axiom HQ teamfor support and feedback, I was able todraft this business proposal (thinking throughthe business inside and out) and presentit to the client. They liked it, escalated itinternally and had it approved. It was a greatteam effort with Axiom HQ–I led the chargeand HQ completed the picture.Alessandro LiottaAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  3. 3. A X I O M L AW Y E RPayal AnandPayal AnandAxiom LawyerLife at Axiom:• Credit Suisse• The Bank of New York MellonLife before Axiom:• Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld• O’Melveny & Myers• Debevoise & PlimptonHow have you been able to defineyour own career path with Axiom?When I was in my first interview with Axiom,I said, “I’d like to work for a prime broker.I’d like to work for a custodian. I’d like to workfor a fund administrator. I want to understandall aspects of the asset servicing and assetmanagement industries so that, eventually,I can take positions where I can use all thedifferent skills I have learnt.” I didn’t honestlythink I’d be able to get those roles, notbecause I didn’t think I was capable, butbecause my background was in privateequity and my CV was not tailored for anyof those engagements.I quickly realised that Axiom could provide mewith opportunities to gain exposure to a widervariety of roles. I could go in-house for ameaningful amount of time, develop my skills,and get an in-depth understanding of marketpractice in an industry, without committingyears to a single job or a single specialty.Once in a role, there is opportunity for youto develop and expand that role and findyour own niche in the organisation.What is your interaction likewith other Axiom lawyers?I’ve suddenly developed a network of in-housecontacts–lawyers whom I never would havecome across–both inside and outside myindustry. It’s great because we’re all interestedin educating each other on the legal issueswe come across. On the one hand, thesesessions are a form of continuing professionaldevelopment; on the other, they canbecome magnificent brainstorming sessionsabout ways to increase efficiencies in today’slaw departments. It’s like having eyes andears in other industries, and we all look outfor one another.How does the Axiom HQ teamsupport its team of lawyers?The HQ teams meet with you often to see howyou’re doing and are genuinely interested inyour feedback. They ask meaningful questionssuch as: Are you happy? Is there anything wecan learn from your experience? Can you helpto educate us more about this industry? Theyhelp you feel like the integral part of thebusiness that you are. You are instrumental inthe development of Axiom’s service capacity.WWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  4. 4. A X I O M L AW Y E RAndreaPlataniaLife at Axiom:• Bank of America Merril Lynch• Credit Suisse• UBSLife before Axiom:• Barclays Capital• Weil Gotshal & Manges• Clifford ChanceHow did you first learn about Axiom?The first time I’d heard of the company waswhen we were experiencing a hiring freeze atmy previous job. My boss at the time suggestedwe reach out to Axiom and I quickly realisedthat the skills of the Axiom lawyers could beextremely valuable to the business and providea more flexible resourcing option.When I was looking for my next move, Ithought of Axiom. During my first interview,I was immediately caught by the freshness, theenthusiasm, the personality and the informalapproach of the entire Axiom team.What do you see for yourselfin the future with Axiom?I can see myself finding more ways to involvemyself at Axiom–not just as a lawyer, but alsousing other skills I have. I can help recruitthe teams of lawyers I work with on projects,or I can engage with business development–helping clients understand the kinds of servicesthey need and the benefits of letting Axiompartner with them.How has being an Axiom lawyerchanged the way you practise law?I was recently asked to cover areas of a projectthat I wasn’t very familiar with–certainly notsomething on which I considered myself tobe an expert. Soon after arriving I was dealingwith those projects in a way that could only beachieved because I felt independent, butsupported by the wider team.It’s a mindset you develop. You operateoutside the political games which so oftenoverwhelm offices, even entire industries.You feel more freedom to provide assistance.In the end, you become more self-awareand eager to learn, unafraid to engage in freshchallenges and able to be your own person.You find more strength and confidencein yourself than you could have foundotherwise. It’s a fresh approach that (I think),only Axiom’s model can offer.Andrea PlataniaAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  5. 5. A X I O M L AW Y E RAnnaDelahuntyLife at Axiom:• Mercer• Vodafone• BSI GroupLife before Axiom:• BT Financial Group• Linklaters• Allens Arthur RobinsonHow would you describe the qualityof the work you’ve had at Axiom?Since joining Axiom, I’ve had the opportunityto work on some of the most rewarding workI have had in my career. The varietyhas kept me continually challenged. As alitigator you’re often parachuted in when clientsare faced with a stressful situation which, forme, is when the most interesting work starts!My current engagement has been particularlyrewarding. After working with the Londonlegal team for 6 months, the client sentme back to Australia for two months onsecondment. It was a great experience beingable to partner with the business there.What kinds of skills do you developas an Axiom lawyer that you might nothave developed elsewhere?As an Axiom lawyer, with each new engagementcomes a new industry, business, and legalteam to work with. The variety of personalitiesand skill-sets you can learn from makes youmore business focused and strategic. Youwouldn’t get this type of intensive crash-coursefrom working in private practice and youwouldn’t necessarily get it from working forjust one in-house department.What attracted you to Axiomand did you have any concerns beforeyou joined the team?Like some people, I was wary of the possibledown-time between engagements. I weighedthat against the flexibility that the model givesyou to manage your career and the calibre ofclients and fascinating roles that you’ll get accessto in order to achieve your career goals.Today I feel more in control of my everydaywork and career because Axiom provides mewith multiple projects in which I’m interested.It is proof there are new ways to look atproviding legal services which the traditionalprivate practice model just can’t provide.Anna DelahuntyAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  6. 6. A X I O M L AW Y E RConanChithamConan ChithamAxiom LawyerLife at Axiom:• Amazon.com• World Gold Council• WorldPayLife before Axiom:• Withers• Mishcon de Reya• Wragge & Co.When did you first hear about Axiom?I had been a commercial IP lawyer for thepast 20 years. I had spent time in just aboutevery size of firm: global, regional, andLondon-only boutiques. In many firms,as you move up, you get more specialised andnarrow your focus. You also get more andmore removed from your clients. I wanted toget reconnected with business and do a widerrange of legal work. I was actually lookingto move in-house, when someone said to methat there’s this place called Axiom.Was the Axiom approach a tough sell?It just made so much sense, both from a clientangle and also from what I’m trying to do.I could keep a broad focus, without gettinginvolved with the bureaucracy of privatepractice. It ticked all the boxes: in-houseexperience, involvement with a particularbusiness, skill development, flexibility,a wide range of work, etc. I was absolutelysold on it immediately and I’ve beena person who has thought about law firmmodels for a while.Has the change been worth it?I see more opportunities to learn and growhere. Without the barrier of high hourly feesfor my expertise, I’m tapped earlier and moreoften to get involved with projects that furthermy breadth and depth within a company.It makes me practise law more holistically–seeing the business context of our legaldecisions. It’s hard to associate fun and lawsometimes, but this is the most fun I’vehad in years.What impact do you and the teamsyou work with have on clients?Axiom lawyers are all interesting people andI like to think that we add to the excitement,verve, and general bonhomie of the legaldepartments we join. I think we add valuebeyond our legal skills.There are three or four of us working togetheron my current engagement, all with 15 or 20years of qualification. We are people who haverun in-house departments, have served asglobal counsel, and who possess the authorityand confidence to talk at board level.WWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  7. 7. A X I O M L AW Y E RDominiqueAshbyLife at Axiom:• MercerLife before Axiom:• Allen & Overy• Goldman Sachs• GE CapitalWhat part of Axiom’s businessdo you find most compelling?Managed Services was immediately appealingto me. The opportunities are quite differentfrom the standard secondment. It’s aboutefficiencies, business solutions, looking outsidelaw to see how things can work in a moreeffective way and applying that knowledge tothe function of in-house legal departments.Ultimately, it comes down to solving the dailychallenges GCs face.What aspect of Managed Servicesappealed most to you?I love the interaction with people. To seea solution, you need to interact with peopleon the ground, be it the legal team, thebusiness side or the management board.You’re trying to fit pieces of a puzzle together–asking where their structures and processescome from? Which ones are historic?Which have grown organically? Being ableto pick that picture apart, and then put it backtogether so that it works more efficiently,more effectively, and in a way that getsthe most out of the people in the organisationis what excites me.How would you describe yourfellow Axiom lawyers?One of the things you’ll notice is that they’realert to the things going on around them.Axiom lawyers have already taken the stepoutside the traditional model–they wantto learn more. They want to experience thingsoutside one particular area. This is great forcommercial teams because immediately they’remore switched on to the business around them.They see the context and are more equippedto hit the ground running.What does Axiom look for in new hires?Axiom recognises that your value as a lawyeris not only tied to past experience andknowledge, but also to your ability to process,analyse, and problem-solve. With the mindof a business lawyer and a bit of training,you can have real impact regardless of tenure.Dominique AshbyAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  8. 8. A X I O M L AW Y E RGeraldineGobbiLife at Axiom:• Citigroup• Goldman SachsLife before Axiom:• Travers Smith• LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae• AshurstHas your day-to-day life changedsince joining Axiom?I’ve been given the opportunity to beautonomous as a lawyer and be directlyaccountable to clients, which is rarely the casewhen you’re working at larger law firms. Tobe honest, I’ve enjoyed the work so much thatI’ve been subsumed by my engagements andprobably work even more hours than before–but I do it willingly. I thought I was lookingfor better hours, but now I realise whatI really wanted was more interesting work.Can you describe a project that wasparticularly memorable?At my first engagement, I ran a project thattouched over 50 countries. Walking into thesituation, I found no structure to speak of.I had the opportunity, together with anothersenior lawyer I was working with, to put thatsystem in place and then manage thedevelopment of those ideas. There was stillteamwork throughout the process, but I wasgiven a lot of control. It was an amazingopportunity that I don’t think I would havebeen given at a law firm.How would you describe the teamof junior Axiom lawyers you manage?They are amazing. In my current engagementI’m managing 21 junior lawyers. They’re ofdiverse nationalities, from different jurisdictions,and speak many languages. They’re hungryto be lawyers and to continue their legaljourney. They’re open to guidance and reactwell to it. And they’re an incrediblesupport to me in my efforts. They astoundme every day.What skills do the junior Axiom lawyerson your team develop?The skills you pick up and polish in anenvironment like this are priceless:communication (for starters), flexibility,and the ability to work autonomously, oras part of a team. It’s incredibly rewardingto influence the team’s careers, to helpthem get off to a good start, remind themof why they are lawyers in the first place,and help them develop their personal“brands” as lawyers.Geraldine GobbiAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq
  9. 9. Life at Axiom:• AccentureLife before Axiom:• Baker & McKenzie, London, Moscow and AmsterdamWhen did you decide to swapyour previous path for Axiom?Over the years, I’ve watched corporate partnersat different firms. Aside from maybe one person,I could see that I didn’t want that lifestyle.I didn’t want to struggle and work my wayup the ladder only to reach the top and realiseI had been climbing the wrong ladder formy own personal and professional development.I knew it would be better for me to exploreother options and to find opportunitiesto gain different experiences.Can you compare your responsibilitiesas an Axiom lawyer to those when youwere at a law firm?In private practice you’re often a hired gun.You come in, do a specific legal task, and thenyou’re out. Commercial decisions are handedover to the client for them to resolve. Gettinginvolved in the pre-negotiation stage, thenegotiation of heads of terms, the post-mergerintegration stage, and the general commercialdiscussions that underpin the transaction–all of which are usually out of your scope–are now within reach. You can be part ofit all. It has been incredibly interesting workand a great experience.How would you describe the qualityof work you’ve had at Axiom?My current engagement is in an industry thatwas fairly new to me. I’m beginning to learnthe intricacies and terminologies–sometimesit can seem like a different language–butthe exposure and experience have beenfantastic. There have been a large variety ofdeals, including joint ventures, businessacquisitions, and share purchases spanning agreat number of jurisdictions. It’s challenging,in a good way. Any initial concerns I had aboutAxiom, because it was new and unfamiliar,quickly vanished once I saw the qualityof my first engagement and those of otherAxiom lawyers.What has been your experiencewith Axiom HQ?The culture and atmosphere are friendlyand welcoming. It’s refreshing, really.As a lawyer, we don’t work with theHQ team on a day-to-day basis, but it’scomforting to have that support.Ivan HannaAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faqA X I O M L AW Y E RIvan Hanna
  10. 10. Life at Axiom:• World Gold Council• WorldPay• XchangingLife before Axiom:• Video Networks• Clifford Chance• Russell McVeaghWhat initially interested you in Axiom?What really appealed to me was the fact thatyou’re part of a firm. It couldn’t feel moredifferent to being an independent contractor,when it’s quite easy to feel alone and asif you don’t belong anywhere. With Axiomyou identify yourself as being part of the firm,first and foremost, and that is reassuring.I remember going to an Axiom party before Iwas even officially an Axiom lawyer andI was immediately impressed. It had beenso long since I’d walked into a company andthought that the people all genuinely seemed toenjoy where they worked. It was refreshing.How is Axiom different from private practice?What you immediately recognise is the lackof the typical hierarchy that is found in so manyfirms and businesses. Instead you’re recognisedfor your experience. Nobody is striving forpromotion or to be more visible than someoneelse. You don’t get any of the politics. You justfocus on interesting work.Can you describe your relationship withother Axiom lawyers and HQ?Recently, I finished an engagement where Iwas one of 16 Axiom lawyers, all sitting on thesame floor together. There was a real sense ofcamaraderie there, especially because the teamwas managed by Axiom lawyers. But it’s notalways the case that you’re part of a team.On engagements where you might be the onlyAxiom lawyer on the job, the Axiom HQ teamdoes a lot to make you feel a part of the localteam. There are practice groups, mentoringassignments, happy hours, lunch groups andparties. At practice groups, which are CPDaccredited, Axiom lawyers or external speakersgive presentations to each other aboutparticular developments in law.There is a warmth and friendlinessin everything my Axiom colleagues do.Whether working as part of a team,or remotely with a client, I always feel partof the Axiom community.Jennifer AllenAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faqA X I O M L AW Y E RJennifer Allen
  11. 11. A X I O M L AW Y E RKelli ReadLife at Axiom:• Alix Partners• The Bank of New York Mellon• Lexis Nexis• QCDA• RBS• WorldPayLife before Axiom:• PwC• The Cambian• GI Partners• Principal Finance Group, Nomura International• Herbert SmithHave you found the work as an Axiom lawyerto be challenging and satisfying?Absolutely. In one year alone I was able tooversee the demerger of a large governmentagency (even testifying before Parliament),lead the representation of WorldPay in itsspin-off from RBS (managing a team of8 Axiom lawyers), and then go on to head ateam of lawyers at an American multinationalbank, where among other things, I representedthe bank in its freezing of Gaddafi’s assets.What kind of impact do you haveon your clients?As an Axiom lawyer, I can deliver advice ina construct that is far-removed from theparadigm of hours billed within the confinesof law firm offices, far from the messy realitiesof management decision-making processesand business pressures.During a recent engagement, I was ableto participate in board meetings, gain thetrust of the CEO, and integrate fully withthe client, becoming a valued member of thesenior management team. I had oversightof the entire legal function and was ableto revamp the way in which day-to-day workwas handled, changing perceptions of Legal’sability to add value and bringing efficiencyand proactivity to the department. When itcame time for me to move to my nextengagement, one of the managers said thatI had become a real force for change andthat I had left a legacy of better corporateand individual behaviour in terms ofcommerciality. To hear that was amazing.Why is Axiom a good fit for you?I love a challenge. I love a steep learningcurve. I love rolling up my sleeves and goingto work. I now have the variety of work I’vealways craved. It gives me the opportunityto effectively recreate myself every time I takeon a new engagement.Kelli ReadAxiom LawyerWWW.AXIOMLAW.CO.UKFor more information on creating your own path at Axiom,visit axiomlaw.co.uk/careers/faq