Inspirational, Vario Stories

Rose Johnston

Based in Belfast, Rose Johnston joined the Vario community early on in her career, and has already worked on a variety of assignments.

Posted 29 August 2018

Rose shares with us her philosophy on life and work, and how Vario has given her the independence and control she desires.

“I fell into legal contracting by chance! I travelled for a year after law school, then did my training contract in London. I was offered a contracting position at Clifford Chance straight after, and quickly realised that I really enjoyed that style of work. It allowed me to pursue my other interests alongside my work, such as studying Art Law and History of Art at night classes at Sotheby’s.

I was never keen on the traditional legal set-up. I wanted something different yet at the same time to continue to have a successful career in law. I eventually found that, if you’re curious, you can find the other avenues available. Firms such as Pinsent Masons are innovative and understand the benefits of people being happy and having what they need — it really does create more productivity.

I initially started at Pinsent Masons on a 5-month contract with the firm, then joined Vario about 18 months ago. My favourite assignment so far has been with a premiership football club — football isn’t a huge passion of mine but I found working on all the transfers interesting and challenging. I love the variety and flexibility of contracting, and I have had consistent assignments since qualifying. I like being in an equal partnership with clients — you’reasking the mutual question ‘how does this need to work for you to produce the best possible results?’.


“I really believe that contracting can suit lawyers at any stage in their career — the common denominator seems to be having confidence in yourself and your abilities.”


I was lucky enough to start in a well-supported trainee role, and I’ve worked hard to build up my contacts, experience and reputation. Interestingly, I think it’s an advantage having never been on the ‘traditional’ path — I never developed any firm-specific habits that I had to unlearn and am able to quickly adapt to new environments. As long as you have the right mindset — hard work, integrity, respect, self-belief and curiosity — you can flourish.

I work from home two days a week which is great as I can base myself at home in Belfast. There are challenges — travel can get tiring, hotel life isn’t all that fun and it can be hard to leave assignments when you have built great relationships. But these are hugely outweighed by the fact that I’m in charge of how my year pans out. It’s a two- way street with clients — you need to understand and respond to their needs in order to reap the benefits of such a flexible working arrangement. I particularly enjoy working with Vario because they care about how my skills and personality will fit with a company. They’re very supportive when things are tough — they sent me flowers once when I was without a PC at the start of an assignment!

I definitely feel satisfied with what I am doing — from my experience, one never knows how and when opportunities will come your way. My personal philosophy is that security has to come from within, and you have to be clear on what’s important to you. You do give a lot of yourself with contract work, but you get a lot back in return.”

This article shows how freelance law can work for lawyers at all stages of their career. So, if know of any lawyers – like Rose – who would be interested in this way of working, tell them to get in touch with the Vario team!


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