How to facilitate a sector switch – part five

August 12, 2022

How to facilitate a sector switch with Emma Dickie, General Counsel, Rain Cryptocurrency

Changing industry sectors, particularly at the senior level, is often perceived as being extremely difficult due to the scarcity of opportunities and the sheer number of highly suitable senior lawyers. However, it is possible if you are tenacious and tap into your network. Our team of in-house consultants had the opportunity to speak to five senior lawyers from across the world who have successfully facilitated a sector switch.

In Part 3 of this series we speak to Emma Dickie, General Counsel at Rain Cryptocurrency Trading Platform, as she discusses her move from the Environmental Services sector to the Tech/Financial Services sector.

“Focus on the areas of your experience
that will translate across to other sectors.
If you are passionate about the sector move,
then go for it – afterall, you are a lawyer
and you will be convincing!

​Briefly describe your career history.
I qualified into top tier law firms in Australia. While I was a junior lawyer, an opportunity arose to work for a client of the firm’s in Dubai and so I moved to the region and moved in house. That move was pivotal as it opened my eyes to literally a whole world of possibilities. Another opportunity arose which took me to work on a global restructure based out of Switzerland. I missed the emerging market environment and so several years later, I returned to Dubai and rejoined private practice. Up until then, my primary areas of focus had been corporate/commercial. I went on secondment to a client in the environmental services sector and ultimately joined as its first General Counsel. I really enjoyed working in private practice – but I love in-house and the business side of projects and seeing them through their entire life-cycle. Technology has always been of interest to me because of the positive ways it can change the world. Pursuing this interest, I completed an LLM at Berekely, focusing on US Business Law and Tech Law. Following my interest in tech, I recently joined Rain and the world of cryptocurrency trading.

How did you facilitate a sector transition?
On top of my Masters, the move was primarily attributable to the majority of my experience being transferable to many different kinds of businesses – for example, dealing with greenfield projects in unclear regulatory environments, complicated negotiations with various stakeholders, identifying and managing legal risk across various markets, etc.

How have you found the change and what challenges have you experienced?
It’s been an enormous learning curve. Fortunately, crypto is incredibly hot which has resulted in the availability of an enormous amount of information. It’s been a huge change to come from big law firms and established businesses to a start up, but I find the dedication refreshing. There is a palatable culture that radiates positivity and decisive action based on information. The biggest challenge is working in an environment where things happen instantly and figuring out ways of legal enabling the business at that
speed. E.g., you order an Uber within minutes, then you speak with a lawyer and they say – I will get back to you in 2 weeks just isn’t helpful.

What advice do you have for any lawyers looking to move sectors?
Focus on the areas of your experience that will translate across to other sectors. If you are passionate about the sector move, then go for it – after all, you are a lawyer and you will be convincing!

his article appears in our global in-house market report 2022 – click the link to download.

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