Former UK DGC Swaps In-house Stringency for Axiom Flexibility
By Kelsey Provow
Franziska started her career at the bar in London. Over time, she got a taste of multiple opportunities in the legal world, working in private practice and in-house. She even spent time at a trade association where she traveled the world, attending conferences and representing her then-clients.
After working her way up the ranks, she led a global team of lawyers and legal/privacy staff in the UK, the US, Europe, and Asia as a DGC of a multinational company. There, Franziska honed her experience in technology, product development, contracts, and even got to build up a privacy office from scratch at the same time she was responsible for implementing the GDPR program in her division.
Franziska, like many Axiom lawyers, was introduced to the company when she was a former client. As DGC, she had various vacancies in her team and supported them with a deep bench of Axiom lawyers in different locations and on individual projects. “I’ve always been impressed with the quality of the Axiom bench, and they were interesting people, using the freedom and flexibility Axiom offers for all these individuals and unique side projects and interests,” Franziska shares. This high-quality experience was top of mind when Franziska decided to leave the in-house world and explore her own side projects.
“I was envious of the lifestyle the Axiom lawyers were having in terms of the flexibility they had but also the exposure to the work that I had to outsource because I had no time for it,” Franziska reflects. She didn’t want to give up her love of law, but she needed a professional legal career that provided the flexibility to pursue other passions while enabling her to grow further as a lawyer through interesting and stimulating legal work. She’s not alone; a recent study of DGCs found 42% say their current employer offers them limited professional development.
Endless Possibilities from Endless Flexibility
Over the last two and a half years, Franziska has had the opportunity to develop her legal skills, deepen her subject matter knowledge, and investigate really fascinating and refreshing legal matters. And yet she still has complete freedom to decide when she works, what she works on, and how much she works.
Soon after joining Axiom, she transitioned seamlessly into her first few engagements part-time. Having a more open schedule allowed her to explore more of what she loves: training for a half-marathon, writing her novel and short stories, pursuing her master’s degree in neuroscience, and going on incredible adventures. She ramped up her workload to full-time when she was ready for more challenges and larger engagements, and then transitioned back to part-time when she wanted to focus on her interests once again.
With Axiom, “I can take as much time off between engagements and spend as long as I like to go on adventures,” she explains, “without having to apply for permission or as once-in-a-career sabbaticals, but I can do that regularly if I want to.” Currently, Franziska likes to mix part-time reserved engagements, which provide her with a predictable income, with “ad hoc” engagements, giving other clients the opportunity to send her work as and when they need advice.
Franziska isn’t just limited to the freedom of when and how much time she works though; she also has infinite possibilities in the types of projects she works on. “Axiom has always had plenty of interesting opportunities for me so I could pick my projects according to what I was interested in working on,” she notes. Like all Axiom lawyers, Franziska has access to a vast range of different sectors of industry, and that access has given her insight into what she would not have gotten to know up close while working in-house. “If I’d stayed in a regular in-house role, it might not have occurred to me to look so far outside my sector as Axiom has offered me the chance to go,” she reflects, “but I really enjoyed learning what it’s like in all these different corporate cultures.”
Exposing Franziska to how the legal framework affects each of those cultures specifically, Axiom’s engagements have taught her the ways in which companies adapt and how she can best support that adaptation, no matter the size or structure. Franziska shares that “so far, I have encountered different sizes of technology companies, B2B and B2C, life sciences companies, a global luxury brand, a manufacturing business, a worldwide hospitality business, and a data business.” She cannot state enough how excited she is to see what else she might learn about next.
“With Axiom, I get to shape my niche,” Franziska explains. She now has the chance to dive deeper than she would have been able to when she was in-house. As a DGC, she had to lead a team and handle management tasks instead of the more intricate details and problem-solving where she wanted to spend her time, and now she’s found that she quite enjoys the work. Similarly, 100% of DGCs reported in our recent survey feeling stressed or burned out in their current role.
When clients from different sectors ask similar questions, Franziska has found that their risk appetites and approaches can be quite different. “Having to toggle between different corporate cultures and risk appetites and fit my advice to what what each client specifically is faced with, in terms of the regulatory framework around privacy, or a risk appetite when it comes to their reputation, that’s quite fun,” she describes.
She loves how this high-level, fast-paced environment “keeps the mind agile and fresh,” giving her a plethora of opportunities to think critically about how to address issues for each individual client, in line with their respective industry standards and risk appetites. “Getting my teeth into a new legal challenge that I wasn’t aware of before, figuring out the right answer for that client” excites her about working for Axiom.
The Skills Needed to Succeed
To those hesitant to make the jump, Franziska has some words of advice: “When you consider joining Axiom, you need to consider what it is that you want to get out of your career. Do you see yourself moving up the management ladder? Do you see yourself growing as a legal subject matter expert? Are you after more variety of work? You need to be clear about your goal and what you want to get out of it so that you can shape your experience with Axiom in a way to enable you to do that.”
To achieve those goals, Franziska believes you must be comfortable with meeting the uncertain: new challenges, new teams, new projects, and maybe even new laws. An Axiom lawyer should have confidence in their abilities, a strong sense of optimism, and know their interests to set the right boundaries and determine what is right for them. “You can say ‘yes’ to many things and then you’re open to explore,” she explains further, “but you also need to know what is right for you… to say ‘no’ to things that aren’t right for you.” Communicating clearly what you want and don’t want is essential for a successful tenure at Axiom.
💡 Take the next step in your legal career and experience the endless, flexible possibilities with Axiom.
Kelsey Provow is an award-winning writer and editor passionate about sharing unique and thought-provoking narratives. After obtaining her master's degree in professional writing, she has spent over a decade writing across multiple industries, including publishing, academia, and legal.
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