Emma Reid is group head of legal at Fraser Group. She tells The Brief about the excitement and challenges of working in-house at one of the UK’s biggest retail businesses.
What/ Who made you consider law as a career?
I knew I wanted to be involved in big business and across as much of what that entails as possible. I completed my law degree and, at that stage, wasn’t certain that I wanted to invest the time and money in training to be a lawyer, so I joined a graduate scheme at an automotive company which gave me real insight and hands-on experience of the operation of a business from product manufacture through to sales and everything in-between.
After a six-year stint, and having worked with some of the in-house legal team as part of my graduate scheme, I decided to go back to law school to complete my legal practice course with the intention of working in-house – and I haven’t looked back since!
What do you enjoy most about working as an in-house lawyer?
I love being part of a high-performing team which supports an incredibly dynamic and creative business. Being in-house means that you usually see a job through from initial conception to execution and beyond.
Being able to see the tangible results of our advice is incredibly rewarding. We recently supported our marketing team in negotiations to be the exclusive retail outlet in the UK outside of tour venues for the sale of the Beyonce Renaissance tour merchandise, along with hosting a gallery experience of the Renaissance x Balmain couture collection in our London store.
What attracted you to work for your current company?
I joined the Frasers Group nine years ago, when the main focus was Sports Direct with a growing appetite to expand and diversify the retail offering. The entrepreneurial spirit and determination to be the most admired and compelling brand ecosystem is infectious and exciting, and is certainly bearing fruit.
The Frasers Group now operates across three key areas: sport, luxury and premium, sells into 20+ countries and has over 950 stores. The Frasers Group offers an incredibly wide range of diverse, interesting and challenging work for its legal team.
What are the main deliverables of your role?
The main deliverable of the legal team is to support and facilitate the business in achieving its ambitions for growth and elevation by advising on key areas of risk and identifying both legal and commercial opportunities. As the head of the team, my key deliverables are to lead and develop a team of in-house lawyers who have both the legal-knowledge and commercial acumen to advise the business and to identify and create opportunities for greater efficiencies across the business.
What do you feel are the most important character traits of an in-house lawyer?
Character traits will inevitably vary depending on the business you are working for. At Frasers, we need our in-house legal team to be tenacious, determined and diligent. A good sense of humour is always an added bonus!
When you look for new team members what is most important to you and why? Ability or character?
We always like to see solid legal training and experience but we focus heavily on personality-fit with our team and business culture.
What would you say to any lawyer considering a move in-house?
Do it! If you want to thrive in an environment where you get to be a truly commercial lawyer then working in-house is a fantastic place. Be prepared to face daily challenges on all manner of queries (some of which may not even be legal!) and take the time to find out more about what the business is doing and, importantly, why.
- Connect with Emma Reid via LinkedIn