Building Global Experience and Balancing Two Passions: Law and Kitesurfing
By Axiom Law
Axiomites have a reputation for pursuing excellence in whatever they do. In addition to achieving success in their legal careers, many are drawn to endeavors outside of law. After specializing in tax law at one of the world’s top law firms, Julia Mac decided that becoming a partner was not her ultimate career goal. Instead, she left the firm to follow her passion for kitesurfing. After learning about Axiom’s flexible engagement model, Julia was excited by the opportunity to explore new areas of legal practice, and to travel the world to continue honing her kitesurfing skills between her engagements.
Focusing on corporate tax
Julia had a passion for the law from an early age, which led her to study at Hong Kong University and Oxford University, where she earned her bachelor’s in civil law with distinction. As a firm lawyer, Julia was laser-focused on Hong Kong tax law. She advised multinational corporations on corporate tax, in addition to inland revenue tax and high court procedures in Hong Kong. While at the firm, she also worked in wealth management in the area of succession planning. After training for four years, she realized that becoming a partner wasn’t what she envisioned for her future, and that she wanted a wider focus in her legal career.
Globetrotting and kitesurfing
Julia’s passion for kitesurfing took root during her time at the firm. “One of the main reasons I left my law firm job was to pursue my kitesurfing dreams,” she says. “I had begun trying it out during my holidays, but it was enormously stressful to arrange for the time off. Kitesurfing is just like any other sport – practice makes perfect. It takes time. I knew I needed more time to practice it in order to master it. So I left my job in order to commit to it.”
After leaving the firm, Julia traveled the world learning how to kitesurf for two years. During her second year, she earned her kitesurfing instructor’s license and began giving lessons.
Gaining a wider perspective on her legal career
Julia heard about Axiom’s flexible engagement model from a former colleague, and thought it could be a perfect way to balance her kitesurfing and legal career. She Axiom joined in February of 2019 and started at a large Hong Kong telecom company, where she was recruited to review government tenders. Her current engagement is at an insurance company, where she works on product advising and review of policy documents. In this role she also assists in responding to inquiries from regulators, and participates in internal review of regulatory requirements. She’s enjoyed the variety in her in-house roles after an exclusive focus on Hong Kong tax law.
Julia’s ability to choose which engagements she works on has also been a highlight for her. “I think that’s really important,” she says. “At Axiom, you get the power to decide whether you want to work with a company or not, even after an interview with a potential client.”
She also appreciates her opportunities to practice law in new areas. “My experience in Hong Kong tax was very niche,” she says. “Now I get to try out different sectors to see what different areas are like. It’s eye-opening, and I’m really learning a lot. Even from the first engagement to the second one, they’ve been completely different. I really like the variety and flexibility.”
The value of work-life balance
Julia loves the flexibility that Axiom’s engagement model provides her. “The great thing about Axiom has been the flexibility,” she says. “They are open to how you want to work – whether you want to work back-to-back engagements, or you want to take time off. They understand the value of taking a break. You come back with a refreshed mindset.
“Whenever I have time off from my legal work, you can be sure I’m going to be kitesurfing somewhere,” she says. “After my last engagement, I was in Egypt kitesurfing for the whole month. I’m going to Brazil next.”
To join passionate colleagues who work across the globe like Julia and to learn more about Axiom’s flexible engagement model, get in touch.
Get to know Ian Williams, an experienced Axiom lawyer who specializes in labor and employment law in Chicago who benefits from Axiom’s flexible employment model.
Axiom lawyer Lithemba Velleman brings tenacity to both finance law and fashion writing.
Axiom’s flexible engagement model enables Jean Warshaw to bring her experience in commercial, environmental, and IP law to a wide range of clients.