Michael O’Leary is an experienced financial services sector lawyer enjoying the challenge of working with new, high-calibre clients through Vario Flexible Services.
Michael had a clear vision of the direction in which he wanted to drive his career; his interest in corporate law and financial services becoming apparent while he was studying law at University College Cork. After graduating with an LLM from the University of London, Michael built a strong career, working with large corporate law firms and consulting with “Big Four” professional services firms.
It was during the process of relocating to London that Michael became aware the freelance model. “I immediately realised that it would be a perfect fit for me. Law, as a profession, has changed significantly over the last decades and all legal professionals must be more adaptable, client-centric and well-rounded in their service delivery to be successful,” he explains. Michael wanted more control over his career in the financial services sector without sacrificing the quality and high calibre of the clients. The fixed-term structure enables Michael to enjoy the constant challenge of working with new clients while drawing on his cumulative legal and financial services experience. He expands, “As the legal consulting service of a leading international law firm with an illustrious client base, I believe Pinsent Masons Vario would offer exceptional, international experience to match my ambitions”
Becoming a freelance lawyer with Pinsent Masons Vario has been an enormously positive experience for Michael, “The onboarding was a smooth process, and I was immediately approached by the Vario team offering suitable assignments with impressive clients.” Michael notes that the continued communication and professional knowledge support structure offered by Vario is particularly impressive and beneficial.
On his current placement, which he is finding particularly rewarding and enjoyable due to recent developments and growing market share of fintech clients. Michael’s experience is demonstrative of the reality that working as a freelance lawyer doesn’t mean a departure from a team-working environment, “The legal team have been most welcoming… I have become a fully integrated member of the team with full engagement at all levels.”
Michael’s work as a Vario has allowed him the flexibility to structure his career around his other professional and personal interests. “I am in full control of when and with whom I work.” This way of working has enhanced Michael’s work-life balance, giving him even greater contentment in his work. Outside of work, Michael enjoys swimming, golf and travelling. He laments that the latter is something he had intended on capitalising on through the flexibility of his career as a Vario flexible consultant. Although the pandemic has stalled his plans for globetrotting, over the course of the recent pandemic, Michael has started playing the saxophone as a personal challenge, “It is an ongoing process, but I am sticking with it!”
Michael predicts that following the pandemic, this flexible way of working will attract even more solicitors to choose a freelance career. He advises, “the legal services market is changing and offers opportunities outside of traditional roles. Change should be embraced if you are looking for more control and flexibility without relinquishing high value clients and challenging work. While it may appear less secure than a traditional career initially, in reality, with the correct structures, engagement and opportunities, the positives far outweigh any such concerns.”