April 15, 2021
Our Associate, Elizabeth Tozzi, explains what attracted her to Law 365 and why she’s loving it so far – gaining confidence as a junior lawyer and learning more about tech than she ever imagined. To find out more about her typical day, read her blog, A Day in the Life of an Associate.
What is your legal background?
I trained at a City law firm in insurance litigation, which is very different from what I am doing now. Before that, I was a paralegal for a number of companies in the City, and I worked in Governance for a bit, which was interesting. I had never worked in Tech Law.
How did you hear about Law 365?
I wasn’t actively looking for a new job. I knew someone who worked at Law 365 and they phoned me up and said Kim Simmonds (the Founder and CEO) was looking for someone new, and would I consider it? I was pregnant at that point, so the answer was, “Yes, but I won’t be able to start for a long time…” Kim said she didn’t mind waiting for the right person. And that’s when I decided to go ahead and interview.
So what attracted you to work here?
You know when you meet someone and you just have a good feeling about them? In my interview, it sounded like a great place and Kim really emphasised her focus on keeping both clients and staff happy. She already had Louise Otton onboard who’s a qualified executive performance coach. I liked the vibe and I felt like I clicked with them. I thought “Yeah, that will be a nice team to work with!” The work they were doing with the Microsoft Partners was very exciting too. No other firm (in the world!) focuses solely on Microsoft Partner clients. It was a great opportunity for me to become a specialist in a field with huge potential.
What kind of work do you undertake on a typical day?
Lots of different things. I do a lot of “first passes” which means that I’ll look over a new client document, highlight potential problem areas and pass it on to a Senior Associate. It wouldn’t be a work day for me without a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). I also do a lot of Master Service Agreement (MSA) reviews and reviews of Terms and Conditions (T&Cs). At the moment I'm involved with helping a client with a novation project that’s been going on since my first day in September. Every active client contract they have needs to be moved over to their new company. It’s a lot of work, but exciting to be involved in a big project. I’ve really enjoyed this one – at the beginning we were having weekly calls which meant I've really got to know the wider team and it’s been a fantastic way to understand what they need and how they operate.
When you work on these projects do you find you’re working by yourself or collaborating in a team?
It’s a mixture of both, but pretty much everything I do is overseen by a Senior. A lot of the time I don’t have any input from anyone else, but it is a very collaborative team anyway. I’m still learning loads so when I do a big, chunky contract review I will work with other people. Everyone is approachable and no one makes you feel like a question is a stupid question. It’s a very open, nurturing environment.
How does Law 365 compare to other companies you have worked for?
There’s a pretty high level of autonomy that you don’t get at a bigger firm. The quality of work is high because you get to know a small area of law really well. Before working here I had never drafted an MSA, worked in Tech Law, or understood the terms and abbreviations used by Microsoft Partners. But because I had a commercial background it wasn’t alien to me.
In terms of the firm culture, there’s more emphasis on people than in other places I’ve worked. Kim sees us as individuals, as multi-dimensional humans as opposed to workers who make her money. It makes a huge difference. It’s easy to get into that mentality that people are just “fee-earners”. That’s understandable – as a business owner, you invest in training, and you want to see a return in how much money your employees can make for you. However, Kim understands that there are other demands in life and that schedules change. Law 365 is incredibly flexible, which is a breath of fresh air.
How do you find working in a specialist field?
We are constantly on-boarding new clients and with that comes new challenges, so I don’t foresee the job becoming stagnant. I’m not sure that I'd have believed you if you told me when I was younger that I'd be a tech lawyer, but there are really interesting things about it. In every single interaction we have with a company in our day to day lives, that company will be using software that one of our other companies/clients have designed for them. I would never have thought about that unless I was working here with them. It’s been eye-opening, in a good way!
How has or will Law 365 develop you as a lawyer?
I’m still quite junior in the team, so all I can do is develop - which is super! Right now, I am developing skills that are very specific to what Law 365 are doing with Microsoft Partners. I’m learning the legal services and contracts needed for the tech industry. I’m understanding IT companies; their needs and where I can help them. As specific as those skills may be, they’re all transferable. Also, Law 365 are expanding into other areas of law. If I want, I can help Megan (our in-house employment lawyer) with her work and gain insight into how employment law works. If I were ever to leave the firm, I would leave a more expert and confident solicitor with skills that can be applied to all areas of practice.
What do you value in life? How does Law 365 fit in with these values?
As a new mum, family is my main priority at the moment. My set up is great because my child’s nursery is very close to the office. If she’s poorly or having a bad day, Kim has been so flexible and said, “Listen, we have all been there, it’s fine, finish your work in the evening or when you can.” In a City firm, it is frowned upon to leave early. Law 365 has a very flexible environment that allows you to work around the hiccups that might arise without compromising what’s important.
How do you find working in lockdown and being away from the office?
When we first started working from home it was a little bit tricky. When I had just a quick question for someone in the office, you can see on Microsoft Teams if they are busy on the phone or tied up with work. But it initially felt like a barrier when we started working from home. I felt like I was interrupting people when I called them up to ask for help. However, I brought this up at a team meeting and everyone just said, “Call us whenever you need us, whether it’s a two minute or twenty-minute question. We are here.” I have done it ever since and it’s been as easy as being in the office together.
Wellbeing is a priority at Law 365. Has it been the same at other places you have worked?
I have experienced it before - I've taken part in meditations at work and even worked somewhere that organised an afternoon with specially trained therapy dogs to hang out with! However, with other companies, it felt like there was more of an element of paying lip-service. For instance, say it’s Mental Health Awareness week -- the company might put on one 20-minute yoga session, but there’s no real intention behind it. With Law 365, taking care of yourself is actively encouraged, every day. When we were back at the office we had a personal trainer session every week and someone would come in to lead a yoga class. We have a shower at the office. We all have a locker, we all have our own yoga mats. When Kim says she’s pro-wellness, she means it. Creating a happier work environment means that we’re feeling refreshed with the energy we need to put in to our clients. It’s brilliant to have all of these options in the background for us, and client happiness and success is the driver behind all of it.
Does that make you feel valued?
I think so. I think Kim values everyone; whether you are a Junior, a Senior, an Intern or you work in the marketing department. She picks people carefully and it’s important to have a strong team that works hard and shares similar values.
Are you happy working at Law 365?
I am. It’s a great job. It’s not where I ever expected to end up, but I’m glad I have done!