The Client Profile: Jelena Madir, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

The Client Profile: Jelena Madir, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Jelena Madir’s career to date has been defined by two crises. The 2008 financial crash saw her out of a job and forced to look beyond private practice for gainful employment. Fast forward just over a decade, and the Covid-19 pandemic has spawned the work which she credits as the highlight of her career, and for which the Gavi legal team she leads won the Most Transformative In-House Team gong at the 2022 Legal Business Awards.

A globetrotting career, which has so far spanned two continents and five countries, began in the US. Despite having studied government and Asian studies with Chinese as an undergraduate, Madir insists: ‘I always knew I wanted to be a commercial or corporate lawyer.’
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The Client profile: Sharon Blackman, Citi

The Client profile: Sharon Blackman, Citi

While she is loath to admit it, Sharon Blackman, managing director and general counsel in Citi’s global legal affairs and compliance division, ‘hated’ her law degree. Clearly this has not held her back though, as her GC of the Year gong at the Legal Business Awards in September testifies.

Despite not falling in love with the law at an academic level, during her degree, Blackman took on pro bono work at her local Citizens Advice Bureau, and it was there that her passion was first ignited. She recalls: ‘It was really useful for developing the practical piece and I found that much more engaging than just the theoretical piece.’ Continue reading “The Client profile: Sharon Blackman, Citi”

The Client profile: Claire Holdsworth, Marathon Asset Management

The Client profile: Claire Holdsworth, Marathon Asset Management

‘Frankly, what’s a boardroom compared to a regiment of soldiers?!’ Claire Holdsworth is philosophical about her journey from army officer to motorbike-riding GC of Marathon Asset Management.

Some say getting your foot in the door of a top law firm is often the hardest part for aspiring lawyers, but Holdsworth’s journey to her training contract interview definitely casts that sentiment in a whole new light. Continue reading “The Client profile: Claire Holdsworth, Marathon Asset Management”

The Client profile: Dan Kayne, O Shaped

The Client profile: Dan Kayne, O Shaped

Some people go into law with dreams of changing the world, but for Dan Kayne that came much later.

In fact, he admits he fell into the profession almost by accident. ‘I honestly went to university to do a law degree not really knowing why, except that it was clearly a very good degree to have. Then I started applying for training contracts, like many of my peers did, towards the end of my time at law school and I got a series of interviews down in London.’ Continue reading “The Client profile: Dan Kayne, O Shaped”

The Client profile: Wayne Spillett, Vodafone

The Client profile: Wayne Spillett, Vodafone

Unlike some flightier in-house counsel, Vodafone’s head of legal for commercial operations, IP and corporate secretariat, Wayne Spillett, has stayed loyal to the company for close to 13 years. After a lengthy conversation, it is easy to see why.

Spillett studied both English and French law at the University of Exeter, developing a keen interest in EU law. The logical next step was a training contract at Lovells, where he qualified as a competition lawyer working out of both the firm’s London and Paris offices. Continue reading “The Client profile: Wayne Spillett, Vodafone”

The Client profile: easyJet

The Client profile: easyJet

‘The pandemic hit the airline sector hard and fast. We went from really being in growth mode, preparing forward-looking projects and a successful year in 2020, to very quickly having to ground our fleet almost overnight. We then had to deal with the implications of that for the company, which were severe,’ says Rebecca Mills, deputy general counsel (GC) of easyJet.

For most companies 2020 was a struggle but the airline sector, and easyJet specifically, was hit harder than most. Dealing with grounded flights, plummeting profits and a high-profile data breach, its General Counsel’s Office (GCO) went into overdrive. Continue reading “The Client profile: easyJet”

The Client profile: Elisabeth Sullivan, Waterstones

The Client profile: Elisabeth Sullivan, Waterstones

While some discover an aptitude for law while at university, others have it in their veins. According to Elisabeth Sullivan, recently installed as general counsel (GC) of book retailer Waterstones, she very much falls into the latter category.

‘People always told me since I was a kid I should be a lawyer because I had a “strong sense of justice”. Probably after I had some big tantrum!’ Continue reading “The Client profile: Elisabeth Sullivan, Waterstones”

The Client profile: Stephanie Dominy, Snyk

The Client profile: Stephanie Dominy, Snyk

‘There is a creative and artistic side to me but also a very pragmatic and logical one. While I left that creative side behind, sometimes it still wants to get out.’ From speaking to Stephanie Dominy, general counsel (GC) of the hyper-complicated, open-source software security start-up Snyk, both her logical and creative credentials are in no doubt.

Dominy came to the UK at age 12 from Singapore while on an artistic mission: at the time she was training to be a ballet dancer, and had enrolled at a performing arts school. As such, she recalls that becoming a lawyer ‘wasn’t even intentional’. She says: ‘It was somewhat the expected thing, a safe career, something you would work hard at and then you will be recognised. I studied law at King’s and people were getting ready to go off and do training contracts, so I thought I might as well do the same!’ Continue reading “The Client profile: Stephanie Dominy, Snyk”