Alexandra trained as a solicitor in the UK with SJ Berwin LLP. Having completed her training contract in 2007, she moved with a group of the private equity team to help build the UK funds practice at US firm Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. Alexandra made partner at Kirkland & Ellis in 2013 at the age of 33. She then joined the global funds team of US firm - Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in the summer of 2015.
Alexandra now runs her own business helping lawyers to perform at their best, think strategically about their career direction and manage their broader wellbeing.
OPL: What made you want to become a lawyer?
Alexandra: I really loved everything about my law degree. The content was topical and challenging and the diversity and intelligence of the people I was interacting with was eye-opening and inspiring. My ambition to pursue a career in law developed naturally from that experience. Growing up in Cardiff, I was also excited to move to London and saw the chance to work in “big law” as an opportunity to forge a successful and financially rewarding career.
OPL: Why did you decide to move into career coaching?
Alexandra: I had achieved the primary goal that drove me as an associate (to make partner at a top US firm) and found that I wanted a new challenge. I received coaching myself for the last few years as a partner and found it to be transformative, professionally and personally. I have always been heavily involved in the training and development of my teams and wanted to pass on the same transformative results to other young lawyers in the industry. I was always keen to stay close to the legal profession whatever my role, so coaching within the industry seemed like a natural fit.
OPL: What sort of challenges do clients come to you with?
Alexandra: I work with law firms to increase associate performance, reduce attrition of top talent and more broadly increase the resilience and wellbeing of their associates.
Independently of firms, lawyers typically come to me to help them gain a competitive edge in such a high intensity industry, to consider career options or to address specific challenges they are facing at work. Given the pace and high expectations of the industry, I spend a fair amount of time working with clients on stress-regulation and resilience-building tools.
OPL: How do you work best with lawyers?
Alexandra: I undertake a mix of group workshops as well as one-on-one coaching sessions, a typical session will be a 70-80 minute discussion. I don’t have a rigid coaching model that I apply; every client’s needs are slightly different. Given my background, a part of my coaching model inevitably involves a mentoring element. My clients find value in knowing that I have been in their shoes and understand the context of their ambitions and challenges.
OPL: What can lawyers expect to achieve as a result of working with you?
Alexandra: They will develop the tools they need to meet their goals and cope more effectively with the challenges they are facing. Coaching of this nature also inevitably builds self-awareness and emotional intelligence, which are key to success in any industry - and in life!
OPL: Are there any particular areas of coaching you focus on more than others?
Alexandra: Resilience building and stress-tolerance are probably the most prevalent areas that I focus on right now.
OPL: Do you work with lawyers at all stages of their careers?
Alexandra: Yes, I do.
OPL: What types of challenges do you anticipate facing as a business over the next few months?
Alexandra: Educating firms about the value of one-to-one coaching at all stages of a legal career is a key focus for my business right now. I feel I am somewhat of a pioneer in working with associates/trainees at the start of their career as this is a much less developed segment of the market than the executive coaching space.
OPL: What has been a coaching highlight for you?
Alexandra: Seeing the success of people I work with, watching them implement the skills they have learnt and make an impact on their broader lives and environment.
OPL: What is the most rewarding thing about your role?
Alexandra: Working in this industry can be hugely challenging at times. If someone leaves a session with me feeling heard, understood and with some tools to move forward, that can be a hugely rewarding experience as a coach.
OPL: What advice would you give to a young lawyer starting out in their career?
Alexandra: Grab every opportunity that presents itself. Don’t be afraid to be aspirational about your future and build a career of your own design.
OPL: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Alexandra: I moved to the Cotswolds quite recently and absolutely love being in nature. I really enjoy hiking and walks in the countryside whenever I get the opportunity. It creates a great balance with my work in the City!