At Crafty Counsel, we regularly focus on getting to know more about a member of our in-house legal community. This week we speak to Alex Love, Associate Legal Counsel at AlphaSights.
Alex is a member of Crafty Starters – our community group for in-house lawyers who are less than four years’ qualified.
The start of Alex’s journey
Alex studied Law and French at Cardiff University where he had the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad as part of his degree. After completing his degree, Alex completed his training contract with Eversheds Sutherland which gave him the opportunity to work in Luxembourg, Cardiff, and London. Alex was also seconded to Kambi, a sports betting company, during this time. He shared how this experience opened his eyes to what being an in-house lawyer involves.
Towards the end of his training contract, Alex came to the realisation that his time spent on secondment in-house was the work that fulfilled him most. He therefore made the move back to Kambi upon qualification, where he stayed for a year and a half before moving to his current role at AlphaSights.
Last year, Alex balanced doing a top up his LPC to turn it into a master’s degree whilst working full time. He describes how doing this was “hard to juggle” but ultimately, it was “completely worth it” because it has helped Alex “get a better grip of the commercial aspects of running a business”.
But what made Alex turn to law in the first place?
“What I found most interesting about law is it touches pretty much every aspect of day-to-day life.”
Alex looked at everyday things from a whole different perspective. “From forming contracts while buying a coffee, to dealing with property transfers” – law is applicable in various areas. Alex described how the variety of industries and sectors available in law really appealed to him and he feels he has already felt the benefits of having options.
Choosing to move in-house
One of the aspects of working in-house which Alex finds most appealing is the “opportunity to work with, and learn from, various parts of the business.” Alex believes that as a legal professional, there’s much to gain from working closely with different departments such as HR and procurement.
“Developing close relationships with different stakeholders is really rewarding. Both in terms of your ability to get work done, but you also learn so much from people that are at the other end of the business”.
Alex told us how being able to exchange valuable knowledge and insights helps keep the wider business aligned on goals.
Learning from the Crafty Counsel community
Alex shared how Crafty Counsel has been a game-changer for junior in-house professionals.
“There’s a lot of junior people in-house that may not have a support network that you’d have in private practice firms where there’s a lot of similar people all in one space.”
The biggest lesson Alex learned is that in-house challenges are not unique, which he told us is reassuring. “When you are junior, you tend to catastrophise and think, ‘Am I the only person that thinks this way? Am I the only person that’s encountered this problem?’” Alex says that being part of Crafty Starters has allowed these worries to fade into the background because he now has a network to safely ask them.
How Alex keeps up to date with new technology
With the recent release of the GPT-4, it’s unsurprisingly at the forefront of Alex’s mind. But to him there are two things in particular that make it so fascinating:
- “How do you manage risks associated with tools like this, if the business you are advising want to start using them?”
- “What impact is this kind of technology going to have on how we deliver legal advice and legal services in-house?”
As this field continues to evolve rapidly, Alex emphasises the importance of staying informed.
Alex highlights the need for legal professionals to be proactive in understanding the opportunities and risks associated with emerging technology.
What is the biggest challenge Alex has faced?
“Compared to private practice, you have to be a lot more self-sufficient when it comes to staying up to date with law.” In private practice, resources are readily available and there are dedicated teams to keep lawyers informed. However, Alex shares how finding and accessing such resources requires more motivation and effort when you’re in-house.
“As with any job, particularly in-house, I think you’re very stretched for time. So carving out that time is really important.”
Alex specifically mentioned the challenge of staying updated on commercial contracts. “I’m obviously only a couple of years qualified, and therefore still have a lot to learn technically about the law and how you can apply it, especially when it comes to commercial contracts.”
What advice would Alex give to his younger self?
“Don’t be afraid to have an opinion and put it forward. As a lawyer, you’re there to deliver advice, and it’s important to remember that even as a junior. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s how we learn and improve.”
Alex explains the importance of having confidence in yourself and the experience you bring. “Remind yourself that you’re there to provide input and be involved”.
Alex also shared the family motto that he’s repeated to himself during his career so far: “You tend to regret the opportunities you don’t take.”
“I’ve taken this advice to heart. Saying ‘yes’ and taking risks, even if it doesn’t work out, allows you to learn and move forward. I followed this advice during a secondment to Luxembourg and a career move in-house, and I have no regrets. It’s important to jump at opportunities and make the most of them.”
Finding comfort in books: Alex tells us about his hobby and passion
During the pandemic, Alex rekindled his love for reading and how, “I’ve read about 130 books since then, aiming for around 30 to 40 books per year,”.
“My reading interests vary from investigative journalism to self-help fiction, and I’m always open to recommendations. I find books to be a great source of knowledge and a fascinating resource with so much to explore. Although it can be overwhelming with the vast amount of content available, I enjoy delving into different genres and subjects.”
Apart from reading, Alex is passionate about football and is a big Arsenal fan.