Tom Evans

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I initially started my career as a paralegal in a law firm, then as a case manager and later a recruitment consultant. Throughout all of these roles I loved trying to improve the way that we carried out our day-to-day work, so when I came across NRF Transform’s Business and Legal Operations Graduate Scheme – created with the goal of generating creative ideas and improving the way the legal industry operates – it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

The structure of the scheme is aligned somewhat to that of a training contract, in that there are four rotations between different teams within Transform. I’ve recently completed my last rotation, having spent time in Resource Management, Innovation, Legal Operations Consulting / Legal Products (as a split seat), and Commercial Management.

One of the main features of the scheme is the sheer breadth of work you are involved in – no two days are the same (sorry for the cliché but its true!). Additionally, most of the teams in NRF Transform carry out work that is significantly different from the others, and so each time you start a new seat there is a (sometimes steep) learning curve that you must follow before you are up to speed.

For example, throughout my time on the scheme the range of tasks I have been asked to carry out include:

  • designing and building (after learning how to build) a new set of resourcing reports
  • supporting with the design of a data structure for enterprise-level software
  • designing a new process for idea generation and progression
  • managing partners’ sales leads for one of our legal products
  • supporting with the design of, and project managing the development of, a content management portal
  • leading the drafting of NRF Transform’s responses to RFP (Request for Proposal)
  • project managing and delivering on Legal Operations Consulting mandates with NRF’s clients

Whilst this can pose a challenge at the beginning of each rotation, it is also a highly rewarding process, as you become more knowledgeable and more skilled across a range of areas. As you move through your rotations, you can give new perspective to your team, and feel like you are really offering value and expertise, rather than just support.

As well as this, one of the key selling points of the scheme for me is that if you’re confident enough to take something on, you’ll probably be given the chance to deliver on it. Combine this with the range of skills and perspectives that you pick up, and it is completely common for a graduate to take an idea from inception to delivery. This gives you the sense that you – personally – are genuinely driving positive change in NRF Transform and the firm as a whole.

The culture and flexibility within Transform is a real benefit in my eyes. As a team which encourages efficiency as much as possible, it is very much output-focused rather than time-based. As a graduate, this means that whilst you will be working very hard at times to meet a deadline or deliver on a piece of work, you’re not measured by simply being present (or in the new normal, ‘online’). This means that whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark, you’re often able to comfortably balance your work and personal commitments.

Finally, despite the challenges which can arise being part of an innovative team in such a large and sometimes traditional law firm, it can offer the best of both worlds too. You can operate in an agile and creative way as you might at a start-up, whilst retaining the opportunity to work with some of the biggest and most sought after clients in the industry.