We've hired over a dozen new employees this year and noticed that a lot of the same questions seem to pop up. So here are the top FAQs, answered by our latest recruit, Yasmin Pannett, who is already a Law 365 expert!
1. What does the Commercial Associate lawyer job involve?
The job involves a good mixture of work, whether you are joining as an Associate or a Senior Associate you get good exposure and variety, you will not be pigeon-holed to one area or one client!
I joined Law 365 as an Associate 3 weeks ago. So far my typical tasks have involved, doing “first passes” of agreements. Depending on the client’s instructions I will either a) review the agreement and mark it up so it’s much more commercial for them, or b) simply provide a high level summary of the key clauses to our client – pointing out areas of concern, explaining in plain English what this means for our client, and advising if this should be pushed back on/amended a certain way.
A Senior Associate will review my work before it is sent out.
The types of documents I have worked on have been Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), Master Services Agreements (MSA), Terms & Conditions (T&Cs), Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Statements of Work (SOWs).
Since joining I have been assisting with a project to create a number of template agreement packs, this includes a “playbook” for each template agreement where we give advice to clients on what clauses should be included, what clauses not to accept, and why.
2. What is a Microsoft Partner?
Kim is apparently asked this question a lot by lawyers! In simple terms a Microsoft Partner is a reseller for Microsoft, offering Microsoft-related products or services and/or support for Microsoft services or products. Many Microsoft Partners start off being small start-up companies and have little in-house legal resource. This is where Law 365 comes in, for our subscription clients, we act just like an in-house legal team.
3. Why Law 365?
I was looking at law firms recruiting in Kent. Working locally has always been important to me as I have never liked the idea of commuting for hours or waiting for trains in the rain or snow. I came across the welcome video and after watching that I was hooked!
The most important selling point for me was the work-life balance offered. I love that I get to work for a growing practice in a fast-paced industry where I can still learn and develop from the team around me but that doesn’t come at a cost to my health or family and friends.
Kim sees all her staff as individuals and puts me and my wellbeing first.
Best bit: I must admit one of the added benefits is a completely dog friendly office , meaning no more paying for doggie day care again!
4. What makes Law 365 different?
At Law 365, we offer our clients legal services as a monthly subscription, which makes them happy (no surprise bills) and also means no time recording for us.. yay!! Not having the “billing by the minute” anxiety that usually exists in the lawyer/client relationship makes a big difference to the way we work together. It feels like we’re on the same team, like an in-house lawyer would be.
The majority of our clients are small start-up companies, with no in-house team support. We are effectively the client’s ‘in-house’ legal team. This means we get involved with a bit of everything -- whether that be producing or reviewing commercial agreements; negotiating with their suppliers or customers; or assisting with specific projects, for example, mass novations or contractual variations. We assist with mergers and acquisition. We also help ensure that the company is compliant, for example producing or updating their privacy policies.
This hybrid model -- both private practice and in-house – gives us lawyers lots of exposure to the work that Microsoft Partners are doing so we know where they need help. It also gives them a team with unparalleled experience in their business, who don’t need to have everything ‘Microsoft’ explained to them.
5. How does this role compare to your previous role(s)?
Before working for Law 365 I worked in-house for a large European credit management firm. Although there are some similarities with the role (I am still focussing on commercial contracts) I am learning a lot about tech law in my current position.
The company and structure at Law 365 is very different. I work day to day with the CEO, Kim (who is also the owner), who is always willing to listen to -- and, in fact, very much welcomes -- my input, new ideas and suggestions for clients and the firm. This collaborative approach was not something widely promoted in my old workplace, given the size of the organisation and hierarchical structure. I definitely feel more like an individual at Law 365 (and not like a number).
6. Can you describe the firm culture?
The culture is definitely something that attracted me to Law 365. Kim and Louise (our in-house Performance Coach) put so much effort into putting together wellbeing activities and group social activities outside of work. It is miles different to old fashion law firms working all hours of the night. The firm recognises that we all have our own lives and families and that work should not be everything!
Everyone is super helpful at Law 365, a question is never looked as ‘silly’ and anyone will be happy to answer it for you. As an Associate I am still very much learning so I get a lot of support from the Senior Associates with any matter I have.Even if a Senior is busy with their own workload, I’m always made to feel like I’m a priority to them.
The Senior Associates support each other too. This was apparent from my first day. You will never feel like you are completely on your own, if you need help someone is always willing to support you. I think the ‘no time recording’ really helps the team feel that they can take time to help each other.
Using Microsoft Teams for everything takes a little bit of getting used to but it’s actually very simple to get the hang of it. There aren’t many lawyers’ offices that are literally paperless. It’s a big win for the environment!
7. Will working for Law 365 progress your career?
I think Law 365 will make me a better lawyer. There is a good split between strong Senior lawyers (currently 5) and Associates (currently 4) so I am always able to work closely with a Senior to aid my development. All the Senior Associates are willing to make time to explain a certain area of law or drafting technique which will definitely help me grow!
I must admit I did wonder if it was wise to specialise at this stage in my career, but I realise now that although our clients are niche, the work is not and the skills you are learning are not. Tech is the future and I'm glad I'm learning all I need to know to be a great tech lawyer.
The team at Law 365 have a bonafide smorgasbord of individual talents and interests, but we’re united in our passion for what we do and the excellent client service we provide. We feel lucky to be working in one of the most dynamic and thriving sectors, with clients who are both ambitious and agile.
Want to know more? View our Careers section to learn more, and to see our available roles.