Azara Digan, our UAE Business Manager, has overseen the UAE business since its launch in 2021, working closely with both our legal consultants and clients. With demand from both sides growing steadily in the market, we spoke to Azara about what working with Peerpoint in the UAE looks like, how legal consultants can support clients and what makes Peerpoint unique.
What makes Peerpoint different to other consulting platforms?
We’re the only legal consulting platform backed by a law firm in the UAE. This is a really unique point for the market as it allows us to provide outstanding resources and support via Allen & Overy (A&O) to both our legal consultants and clients. I also think we’re unique in placing lawyers at the centre of everything we do. We make a point of understanding exactly what our lawyers are looking for, whether that be a career change, more flexibility or simply to take control of their career, and we do everything in our power to ensure we meet their requirements. That being said, for me, the best aspect of Peerpoint is our consultant management team. We have a dedicated team of career coaches who work with our consultants to ensure that every opportunity, every conversation and every assignment is in line with their longer term aspirations. Finally, being part of A&O, we have access to some of the most interesting and high profile projects in the UAE. Our consultants have been able to support both the practice and clients on a variety of matters that are stimulating, challenging and interesting.
How do you get started as a legal consultant with Peerpoint?
It’s a really straightforward process! We have a UAE recruitment team dedicated to lawyers in the market who are considering consultancy. We’re happy to have as many calls and coffees as needed to ensure you are comfortable with Peerpoint and the idea of consulting before we move forward. If you are keen to hear more email us as at: email@example.com.
What are the three key things you should consider if you want to become a legal consultant?
1. Why are you doing this and what do you hope to achieve?
Are you looking to pivot your career, spend more time with your family or invest in your side hustle or further education? Keep that at the forefront of your mind as it’s easy to get distracted with the day job.
2. Have you had a think about financial planning?
Being a consultant is really exciting and we’ll aim to ensure you work as much as you you’d like to, however there are factors that may be out of our control. It’s important to think about having a financial plan or ‘cushion’ on the off-chance you find yourself out of work for an extended period.
3. Are there any specific projects that would really excite you?
One of the overriding benefits of consulting is that you get to choose what you work on so make sure you invest a bit of time on thinking about what you’d like to spend your time doing.
What’s the best thing about being a legal consultant in the UAE?
Flexibility. We live in a fantastic country with some excellent travel opportunities. One of our consultants recently used the extra time to travel around the Middle East taking photos of wildlife - what an adventure! Taking yourself off the corporate ladder can mean that you have the ability and headspace to focus on the things you love. Plus, nothing is forever, many of our lawyers consult for a few years before going back to a permanent opportunity, often at a more senior level. Ultimately, consulting is what you make it!
What about visa and medical insurance?
We cover it! At Peerpoint, we want to ensure you are set up for success and we definitely don’t want you worrying about the admin side of being in the UAE. Therefore, we pay for and arrange your visa, DLAD (so you can practise with no restrictions) and medical insurance.
How can Peerpoint help businesses and legal teams retain talent?
Often our clients reach out because their team is at maximum capacity, whether that be due to staff absence (maternity, paternity, sabbatical), a big project or just movement within the team. Whatever the reason, they’re in a resourcing bind which tends to put a lot of pressure on their current team, which can lead to them feeling dissatisfied, overworked and disheartened. Securing interim support means access to a top tier lawyer, who can come in, hit the ground running and take some pressure off the existing team. This has a big impact on retaining talent and demonstrating their value by supporting them at busy times.
What makes Peerpoint different to a recruitment agency?
The investment we make in our lawyers. We spend a lot of time recruiting, coaching and mentoring to ensure our lawyers have the right mindset and attributes for consulting. In addition, all our lawyers on assignment have a link back to A&O in the form of a partner contact plus access to PSL lawyers, A&O know how and our legal library and resources. In addition, we host regular networking events where lawyers can meet other consultants, grow their networks and build up a community of support. We also recognise that professional upskilling and development is key, so consultants also have access to a bespoke learning portal with extensive training and resources they can take advantage of. The result is committed and dedicated consultants who are able to dive into an assignment knowing they’re fully supported by both Peerpoint and A&O.
How does Peerpoint recruit its legal consultants?
Our lawyers go through a vigorous recruitment process. It starts with an initial conversation with our team and moves through to a technical interview and endorsement meeting with a senior member of the practice (usually a partner). We conduct reference and background checks, and in some instances technical assessments if we feel they’re needed. This means that clients know that they’re getting a lawyer of top tier quality to support them and their business.