Sarah Barrett-Vane is a Senior Legal Consultant at SYKE. She worked as a lawyer both in private practice and in-house, before moving into legal procurement and then legal operations roles. Having left Royal Mail to become freelance three years ago, Sarah now consults for law firms and suppliers to help them write tenders, alongside her contracted role for SYKE.
What attracted you to a career in Legal Ops and Tech?
I am all about making people and processes more efficient and implementing more efficient ways of working – tech then tends to be a part of those improvements. I’m a great believer in technology where it’s the right thing to do.
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career?
I want to deliver every project on time, within budget and to a high quality level. As we all know, that can be incredibly difficult when you’re working with a big corporate entity and many different stakeholders with their own goals and priorities. You have to learn to adapt your style to the company you’re working with. It’s a continuing learning curve but then that’s a good thing in many ways.
What’s your approach to problem solving?
Getting the right people in the room (or on the phone) is absolutely key for me. When you spot an issue, you need to figure out who you need on side to get it fixed. Not just the friendly people – but also the blockers so that you can find out what their objections are and work to overcome them.
What advice would you have given yourself at the start of your career?
Put simply – for me personally – don’t become a lawyer. I knew while I was studying and working in the holidays that I was far more interested in a career in business than the law. I wish I had been able to make that leap sooner, rather than feeling I had to follow through with qualifying and practicing. I made the change years later, but should have been braver when I was younger.