We speak to Gabi Olson-Welsh
Gabi, what’s been your career path to date?
I studied English law but spent a year in Germany followed by a Masters at the College of Europe in Bruges. I trained at a large regional firm which suited me really well - a good variety of clients and broad training. I then joined a small firm in London with strong Nordic links (being Swedish this was also a good fit) which then became part of a US firm. I decided after ten years that it was time for a change. I met Juliet Oury, the managing partner of Oury Clark Solicitors and well the rest is now history!
What made you choose corporate and commercial as your preferred area of law?
I always wanted to qualify into this area. Originally I was tempted by competition law but become lured by transactional work. The lawyers in the corporate teams that I have come across have generally been of a similar nature in terms of approach.
Where does the majority of the team’s work come from and what do you think will be the growth areas over the next couple of years?
It is a real mixture. As the general statistics show I firmly believe that it is easier to obtain work from existing clients, you just need to have the right lawyers asking the right questions to obtain it. The traditional M&A work accounts for less of our work and the days of clients wanting detailed due diligence work with pages of details seem to be over. Clients want tailored advice and maybe there is further growth in private client work.
Oury Clark also offers other professional services including accounting, corporate finance and financial planning so how much collaboration is there between them and the legal division?
Collaboration is the key and the law firm is much younger than the accounting practice so we have high aspirations. The cross discipline approach makes a huge difference and I think it helps us a great deal in determining what our clients actually want and need.
Diversity is a big issue at the moment so does the business have any initiatives in place to improve its equality and diversity agenda?
While it’s true that the legal profession as a whole has a long way to go with respect to equality and diversity, at Oury Clark we’re proud of the diverse nature of our workforce and equality and diversity remains at the heart of our practice.
What sets Oury Clark apart from other law firms?
As above, the fact that we really do think about what the client needs. I often feel as if we largely play the part of an in-house GC rather than an external advisor and that also makes the work very enjoyable.
In your opinion, what makes a good lawyer?
Someone who is able to win new clients as well as look after existing ones. Also of course attention to detail and an understanding of what the real risks are to the client.
What drives your own ambition?
A desire to please and I am definitely results driven - there is still a buzz when a transaction completes and I guess when that is no longer the case it’s time to retire.
Finally, what are your own career goals that you still want to achieve?
To continue to develop professionally and grow my Swedish client base whilst working with my lovely colleagues at OC.