A different kind of legal career at Blackbird
Like many others, covid and lockdown made me rethink my career. In 2020, I was on the corporate law path and thought I quite liked it, but with some perspective and reflection, I realised that it wasn’t where I wanted to head. I spent some time working in Hong Kong in the startup space through an internship while I was at uni and absolutely loved it. I didn’t really know much about the startup ecosystem or anyone who worked in it in Australia, but I started to get interested. How perfect it was when I stumbled across an open role for a lawyer at Australia’s biggest venture capital fund!
While I was glad I did some time in corporate law and recognise that it taught me so much and helped me develop invaluable skills, I was super excited to jump into the world of venture capital during a time when Australia’s startup environment was buzzing with innovation and opportunity.
Working at Blackbird as a lawyer
Working at Blackbird as a lawyer is great. Given it’s an in-house role, you cover a broad spectrum of legal, regulatory and compliance functions - meaning you develop institutional knowledge very quickly. You also get to develop more specialist legal knowledge in funds, venture capital and the nuanced legal environment surrounding it. For instance, Blackbird has hundreds of limited partners (investors) in our funds, from the biggest superannuation funds right down to individual people across ANZ. Working with the team to interpret the complicated ESVCLP laws or working out how to operationalise our extensive legal and financial obligations to our varied and diverse LPs has been fascinating.
But the best thing is the team. The legal and compliance team (as well as the broader operations team) is nothing short of amazing. From the kindest general counsel, Justine, to the funniest colleagues, who are now my friends, it has been a real treat to work with them each day.
If you’ve been following Blackbird for a while, you’ve probably seen the ‘best place to work’ accolades and a lot of culture talk. This is cool. But, in my experience, they also walk the walk. Blackbird's commitment to flexibility was there when I went through some personal challenges last year and was very well supported for transitioning into a part-time role.
Working at Blackbird but not as a lawyer
At Blackbird, I have always felt comfortable sharing my thoughts and concerns and asking questions. Importantly, I was also encouraged and supported by my managers, Justine and Alex, and people in other teams to openly discuss my career aspirations, even if it meant venturing beyond the realms of law. Driven by Blackbird's culture of curiosity and ambition, as well as the broad scope of my legal role, I started working on some policy pieces with our legendary Head of Impact, Kate, and learning more about the important work she was doing. (you can read our full impact policy here).
The role of impact, broadly speaking, is around striving to prioritise that the business is operating with a conscious focus on our values and driving positive impact through the work we engage with. For Blackbird, that can look like a variety of initiatives from gender equality (like our promise to invest in more female founders), our environmental footprint, diversity of our people and ensuring ethical considerations at every touch point for both Blackbird and our portfolio companies.
Thanks to this culture of encouraging curiosity, I felt confident enough to share my interest in this new part of the business openly. Through these open conversations, when an opportunity in the impact space at Blackbird arose - it was a perfect alignment of personal interests, values, and timing. Blackbird not only supported my exploration of career growth but also provided me with the chance to pursue a new opportunity that resonated deeply with my passions. This is a testament to the values Blackbird claims and embodies and an experience I may not have been exposed to within the corporate legal system structure and had the freedom to discover working as a lawyer at Blackbird.
Opportunities for you
Excitingly, my beloved legal and compliance team currently has an open role for a Legal & Compliance Analyst. This is a great opportunity for someone early on in their career working in a law firm or a compliance function, resonates with some of what I’ve said above and would like to build out a broad set of skills across a range of in-house functions. You’ll work with a quirky but loveable bunch and set yourself up with great skills and networks.