Aspire Board Member Spotlight – an interview with Alex McAdam, Trainee Solicitor, ThoughtRiver

Aspire Board Member Spotlight – an interview with Alex McAdam, Trainee Solicitor, ThoughtRiver

Sophie Gould talks to Alex McAdam about her new role as Trainee Solicitor at ThoughtRiver, where she talks about the great opportunities and personal development she has had to date. Opening up about her role as Advisory Board Member for Aspire, Alex explains how the Aspire network supports and develops in-house lawyers, trainees and paralegals.

What are the key challenges you face in your role?

As I am only a couple of months into my role as a trainee solicitor, I would say that my main challenge is settling in to ThoughtRiver and transitioning within the team. The pace and type of work I am doing is different on a daily-basis, which is hugely beneficial, as I am exposed to a variety of work. I would say keeping abreast of legal developments and best practice is also challenging (as there are only 2 of us working as trainees) however, this is an integral part of our role, so we are always learning and developing.

As ThoughtRiver is a young business, it can be challenging setting up and aligning governance and processes without making them too onerous so that our innovative mind-set is stifled.

What are the biggest opportunities in your role?

The biggest thing is that my training contract is truly unique. The company is the first LegalTech business to have a trainee solicitor and incorporates our product into my training. Because of our extremely small department, I am the point of contact for lower-value contract reviews and assist with the closing of big deals.

There is a DIY attitude that is encouraged, which I love. This means there is plenty of opportunity to get stuck in with non-traditional trainee duties. A key example would be that I recently noticed our management systems across the legal and sales teams were not optimised. I was given free rein to explore solutions, donning my (small!) legal operations hat and developing my skillset by putting together a business case on possible solutions. I really feel like I am in the best environment to train as a digitally savvy lawyer!

What are the key areas of change in your industry?

In the LegalTech industry, everything is in a state of flux and flex. There are technological solutions for

most legal issues, from an overload of work, to the prevalence of mental health issues, to corporate data transparency. These issues are longstanding, but there are signs of change.

Luckily, most (large) legal departments and private practice firms have acknowledged that tech must be adopted and implemented with vision in order to address these issues to stay competitive. The tricky part for them is deciding which solution is most adept for a problem (which is sometimes not fully understood), finding a budget, and then championing it!

What do you most enjoy about being a part of Aspire?

I have only been a member of Aspire for as long as I have been a board member: a few months! So far, I have really enjoyed our first board meeting, where we discussed upcoming events and potential speakers we could invite to the events. There are some exciting things coming up for Aspire, so keep your eyes peeled!

Why would you recommend others join Aspire?

Aspire is an active forum for in-house lawyers, paralegals and trainees to network and attend events on topical subjects with a carefully chosen panel of speakers. Aspire also creates practical content for its members, including the recent release of its in-house training contract guide. For law students

interested in a non-traditional legal career or for those who are finding blockers to qualification, Aspire is the place to think creatively about the options available to you.

Are you interested in finding out more about Aspire?

Bookmark the Aspire Network page for our latest events, insights for in-house lawyers and details on how you can be part of this fantastic network. Don't miss our virtual summer series taking place in June and July!

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About the author:

Louisa leads marketing for the in-house legal community at LexisNexis. She joined the dedicated in-house team at LexisNexis four years ago and has a passion for driving and facilitating initiatives which are customer-focused at their heart. Her vision is to support in-house counsel succeed in their fast-evolving role based on deep insight, data analysis and best practice gathered across the in-house community.

Prior to her in-house focused role, Louisa led the marketing for the bar and mid-market private practice sectors as well as product marketing lead for LexisPSL - LexisNexis' cloud based, practical guidance and legal research software solution.

She brings 20 years' marketing experience both client and agency side, specialising in B2B marketing in the Legal, TMT (Telco, Media and Technology) and Financial Services industries. In both South Africa, Europe and the UK.

Louisa is also an active member on the LexisNexis Gender Equality Matters (GEM) steering committee and is involved with the Families at LexisNexis Group which brings together, supports and lobbies for change those with an interest in balancing the challenges of work and family.