Our office in Tunbridge Wells is on the Common, close to beautiful green spaces, 5 minutes walk from the station, and just a stone’s throw from the thriving bars and restaurants of the Pantiles. However, the pandemic has taken our staff away from their normal desks to their home offices. Our Associate, Elizabeth Tozzi, shares with us a typical day working in lockdown.
Hi - I’m Elizabeth. I’ve been a solicitor at Law 365 for 7 months now. I live with my husband, dog and one-year-old daughter. During this time, whether we’ve been in or out of lockdown over the last year, Law 365 has taught me so much and helped me find a healthy work-life balance so that I could learn about the world of Microsoft Partners while also completing a house renovation and caring for an infant and an energetic puppy.
8.30 am - I prepare for the day
I log onto my computer with a coffee, and catch up on my emails. I make a to-do list at the end of every day, so I check that nothing has come in overnight that needs to be added and make a start on checking things off my list.
9 am - Meditation and a mindful walk
Kim and Law 365 take wellness and mental health very seriously. There is always something you can get involved with. Every day we have an optional 10-minute meditation at 9am, but once a week, because we’ve all been so screen-bound during lockdown, Kim kicks us off our computers to get outside for some fresh air and meditation but going on a “Mindful Walk”.
We go for a ‘mindful’ walk wherever is conveniently close to our house so I take my dog and I walk through the fields. The goal is to notice the small things you might miss when your mind is busy. I am mindful of things I haven’t normally seen or I don’t normally think about. It's a great time to clear my head and get myself moving before the rest of the day at my desk. Afterwards, each of us sends a picture of something we’ve noticed or that has caught our eye during our walk. I usually get back to my desk, clear-headed and refreshed, at 9.50 which leaves time for another quick coffee and some pre-call prep.
10 am - Progressing a merger
I have a weekly call with one of our clients. We are currently helping them with a merger, so our regular check-ins keep everyone up to date and responsible for the tasks that sit with them. Completing a merger during Covid has some challenges, but almost everything we need to do can be done virtually. Our weekly call is lead by a Senior Associate on Teams (with videos on!) where we would normally meet in person. Our interaction with the clients and their other external advisors, such as accountants, also take place virtually and have been working really well so far. My background wasn’t in corporate law, so being involved in the drafting of new Shareholders Agreements, Share Purchase Agreements, and learning about the many formalities and admin tasks of this kind of deal has been a great learning experience.
10.30 am - Reviewing a Non-Disclosure Agreement
I can get stuck in with a more time-consuming piece of work. There’s an Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) I need to review and that takes me about half an hour, which I’ll send over to a senior on the team before getting it over to the client. We see these types of agreements multiple times in a day, and although they all cover the same thing, they can vary greatly. Our main goal is to protect our clients, but Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) tend to be slightly more collaborative. What we aim to do is protect the confidential information of both parties to the potential deal, while keeping it as fair and succinct as possible. Whilst I’m waiting for approval, I start working through a high-level Managed Services Agreement (MSA) review for a client who is submitting a bid response to a tender request. This normally takes a few hours, and we have to make sure to tailor it to our client's individual needs and risk appetite.
12.30 pm - Lunch break
I’ll have some lunch! If we’ve had a mindful walk in the am I won’t go out for a dog walk, but otherwise I try to go out for a walk on my lunch. Kim is a real advocate of the team taking exercise breaks during the day, or "exercise snacking" throughout the day. Obviously, sometimes it’s not possible, but I find that taking a break from the screen can have a positive impact on the rest of the working day.
1:15 pm - Some questions for a Senior Associate
I call a senior lawyer to talk through a query I've had from a client over lunch and email them with a response. Microsoft Teams is a great way to keep in contact and as we're always 'cameras on' it's (almost) like being in the office. We have a very collaborative environment and the seniors are always happy to answer any questions I have, big or small.
1.30 pm - Drafting Terms & Conditions
I am asked to help a senior lawyer create the first draft of client Terms and Conditions (T&Cs). We do a lot of bespoke drafting for clients, so while we do have an internal template bank that we can pull our boilerplate clauses from, every client is different with different needs so we create their documents based on what is most important to them. We will always have had a chat about that with the clients, so I go through my call notes to pull out the key elements required. From there I can draft the bespoke document and send it to a senior to review.
3.30 pm - Creating a "Playbook"
When we create documents for clients, they don't often have the time to ask us every question that comes up during their sales negotiations. To make their lives easier, we have been creating what we call “Playbooks”. Essentially, these are documents that provide a step-by-step guide on how to use the documents we have created for them based on their standard position and the feedback they may receive on certain clauses. We'll always be around to answer their questions, but this can help streamline the negotiation process for them. Recently I have been helping with a lot of ‘Playbooks’ and today I am drafting an NDA playbook.
4.15 pm - Responding to a client query
I’ve just had a client call with some questions about an issue that came up for them last week. I take some time to go through any queries they have about it and we touch base on how things are going with negotiations.
4.30 pm - Planning and prep for the day ahead
I write a list of anything that may not have been completed today, or what is a high priority to get done for tomorrow. Then I leave to go and pick up my one-year-old from nursery… and deal with the chaos that ensues!
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