From the Courtroom to the Boardroom: Meet Axiom Attorney Ian Williams
By Axiom Law
A specialist in employment and labor law, Ian Williams has worked at Axiom for about two and a half years. Since leaving traditional law firms to work for Axiom he’s had the chance to focus on producing high-quality legal work and work closely with managers, HR professionals, and General Counsel focused on Labor and Employment.
A new way of thinking about legal practice
After graduating law school, Ian worked at three big law firms where he focused on labor and employment. However, Big Law’s focus on billable hours and quantity instead of quality was leaving him unsatisfied with his work experience. “I was looking for something more flexible,” says Ian, “where I could be more focused on a handful of clients and on the work itself and not the volume of it. When you’re in a big law firm environment, everything’s focused on the billable hour. Efficiency, quality, and innovation are often in conflict with, and always take a back seat to, billing as many hours as possible.”
Ian decided that he wanted to move in-house and noted, “I wanted to move into a role that was more business-focused and get out of the courtroom and closer to the boardroom.”
Luckily, Axiom approached Ian when he was beginning to explore in-house opportunities and he was interested to learn about our flexible engagement model. “For me, Axiom seemed like a great opportunity to gain experience doing actual in-house work and exposure to different kinds of organizations, businesses and institutions,” he told us.
Up close with critical issues in labor and employment law
One of the reasons that Axiom is so attractive to lawyers like Ian is that the quality of the work is so high. “Each individual engagement has been great,” he says. “They’re all involved with really interesting work, with top-notch organizations.”
His current engagement is supporting the chief employment counsel at a leading global provider of software and integrated information services. “Right now, I handle a variety of day-to-day employment law issues,” says Ian. “My purpose here is to help the chief employment counsel focus on the larger, more strategic concerns that he can't get to when he’s bogged down with these day-to-day issues.”
The work involves a broad array of legal issues. “It really runs the gamut,” he explains. “I’m doing everything from developing and revising company policies, investigating and responding to employee complaints, dealing with claims filed with government agencies, and advising on all manner of HR issues.”
Not all of Ian’s engagements have had such a wide purview–others have involved working on focused projects. “Sometimes there’s a very specific need and the client wants a seasoned attorney who has the relevant experience,” says Ian. “The client needs someone who can hit the ground running and quickly integrate with their in-house team.”
Ian has loved the flexibility Axiom has offered him both professionally and personally. “It just ended up being a great fit,” says Ian. “Lifestyle-wise it’s led to a lot less stress and more free time, so life is a lot better.”
A welcome career alternative to traditional law firms
Ian did some exciting work at law firms, but he has really enjoyed working closely with the attorneys and business people at his engagements. “Personally, it’s very nice to be in a role where I’m working directly with the individual stakeholders in the business as opposed to working for a large department in a law firm," he explained. "Every day, my work is directly with the in-house attorneys and HR professionals that I support.”
Axiom’s engagement model also allows experienced lawyers like Ian to choose the engagements they’re most interested in. “It lets me be more discerning about the work that I do,” he says. "If you’re at a law firm, you kind of have to say ‘Yes’ to everything.” As a result, he’s been able to follow his passion for employment law. “That’s the work I am most interested in, where I feel like I can have the biggest impact.”
He also finds it gratifying to be part of a fresh approach to the practice of law noting, “I think the writing’s been on the wall for a long time in terms of the problems with the billable hour and with the partnership system. Both are just antiquated.”
Passionate lawyers like Ian are excited by the career experiences that Axiom is able to offer them. It’s no surprise that 97% of Axiom lawyers enjoy the quality of their clients and 91% percent find their work interesting. Watch the video to learn more about Ian, his work, and why he chose Axiom.
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