Are you in your current role ‘on purpose’?
Rebecca Lim – who recently left her position as GC at Westpac for a strategic consulting role with BigLaw firm Gilbert + Tobin – says it is critical for in-house professionals to own their choices and think proactively about their vocational direction.
At the beginning of every year, G+T strategic consultant Rebecca Lim (pictured) goes through what she calls a “process of testing myself” on whether the choices made in her life are working well for her and her family.
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“It’s a great discipline to go through to make positive choices about life decisions! Last year, having spent 10 years as Westpac’s general counsel, with my kids going through HSC and some personal projects on the go, it felt like the right time to make a change,” she reflected.
“Having loved my time at Westpac and as a lawyer, I was keen to find another opportunity to use my experience and insights.”
That decision to find a new opportunity led her to G+T, where she was earlier this month appointed for a part-time position as a strategic consultant. She will assist, the firm said at the time, with strategy and client proposition, particularly in the areas of financial services, digital, ESG and board advisory services.
She will also continue serving as an executive advisor to Westpac, also on a part-time basis.
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly following her vocational pivot, Ms Lim said that it is essential for in-house lawyers to better reflect on their options and what is important to them, particularly against the backdrop of the looming “Great Resignation”.
“Take the time to think through what you really love doing and what you’re good at, and whether you’re in your current role ‘on purpose’,” she advised.
“If you’re not happy or a bit frustrated, take the time to make a change, whether in your current role or looking for a new one.”
It is incumbent upon such professionals to own their choices, Ms Lim continued, and also to think proactively about what will challenge and stretch them, career-wise, while offering the balance they might need.
“One of the things about COVID-19 is that it’s made many people step back and reflect, and so there are a lot of people who are making changes. But you don’t always need to leave your employer to make change,” she pointed out.
“One of the things I valued at Westpac was the opportunity to have different roles or work patterns at the same company. So, if you’re looking for change, one option might be to look for a new role at the organisation that you’re in right now.”
When asked what skills and experience in-house lawyers can bring to consulting roles in BigLaw firms if they were to follow a similar path to her, Ms Lim said: “In-house lawyers have a wide range of skills, from technical legal expertise, a deep understanding of the customers they serve, the ability to blend legal and commercial judgement as well as to identify what differentiates the service that they receive from external law firms.
“Big law firms operate in a really competitive environment, so they’re always keen to try and get the edge and deliver better service to their customers.
“Finding an opportunity to use some of my skills in a different way is an exciting opportunity and I’m really thrilled to be able to do this at G+T.”
Moreover, Ms Lim added, self-care is paramount.
“Looking after yourself, physically and mentally, is a core life skill!
“For many lawyers, this comes a long way down the list, so it’s important to get your priorities right, not just at the start of the year but all the way through,” she concluded.