The Inside Track with: Lynn Sedgwick | Managing Director | Clayton Legal
- November 8, 2022
Every month we speak to prominent professionals working in, around, and for the legal sector in the UK, uncovering their greatest inspiration, what makes them tick in a work capacity and out, and their own career paths and journey to the top of their game.
Interview with: Lynn Sedgwick, Managing Director | Clayton Legal.
WHAT HAS YOUR MORNING LOOKED LIKE?
I’ve always been an early starter so I am up and raring to go by 6am most days. I do my morning meditation (a ritual I swear by to boost my energy and focus) and some exercise, followed by a strong coffee before heading to the office to start the day.
HOW IS BUSINESS AT THE MOMENT?
As a business we have seen consistent and sustained organic growth over time. Throughout 2022 we have never been busier, with clients accelerating their hiring activity post pandemic. This activity and renewed appetite for growth, in turn, impacted our own trajectory and we have undergone a period of expansion both physically, and through the services we offer.
We have added to our service offering, now offering both a search and managed outsourced recruitment offering working in partnership with our clients in talent acquisition. The expansion has also seen us open other regional offices in the UK as well as adding to our own team of recruitment specialists to address this demand.
The final quarter of the year tends to be the busiest in recruitment as we work with clients to plan and execute their hiring strategies for the year ahead in line with their business objectives. Consequently, November and December are busy months as we consolidate the year and prepare for our own annual strategic review ensuring that we map out our own 3 year plan as we continue to expand and grow our markets.
As ever, the focus for the whole team is on delivery to ensure we meet our strategic objectives, and continue to deliver a truly transformational service to clients and jobseekers alike.
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN ‘LEGAL RECRUITMENT’ AS A CHOSEN CAREER?
Not at all. After graduating, I commenced accountancy training with a regional firm before transitioning to the world of recruitment. My career in the recruitment sector was under way and 35 years later it has been an amazing journey with experiences across both corporates and SMEs.
I took a short sabbatical when I was 30, and in this time actually returned to education and professional studies in other disciplines – however the pull of recruitment saw me return shortly afterwards. As the old adage goes, if you find a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life – and that certainly rings true for me and the career path I have chosen. Plus, the beauty of working in the industry for so long is that you naturally follow the careers of individuals you have helped as your network expands – those candidates become life-long clients (and in many cases, friends) and those relationships become embedded.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Above anything, my greatest accomplishment has been building a successful recruitment business that has created both employment and opportunity for our employees and seeing the impact of that on their lives. It’s been so rewarding, exhilarating and fun to be part of a successful and growing team and witness the career development of both the individuals within Clayton Legal, as well as the people we service throughout the legal sector.
It has and continues to be an absolute privilege and something I am so very proud of.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
I have been so fortunate in my career to meet thousands of individuals and with my ‘recruiter hat’ on, watching careers flourish and businesses’ grow and develop, its been an absolute honour to work with industry leaders and those developing their careers.
I have been inspired by the people I have worked with over the years – as a collective, a truly unique group of individuals that have all been really special, and taught me so much along the way. I feel very lucky and blessed to have known them all and shared our lives through work for a while.
WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT?
These days I tend to avoid reading hard copy books and much prefer audiobooks, given my age (and eyesight!).
Currently , I am listening to ‘Becoming‘ – the memoir written by Michelle Obama. The book focuses on the former-First Lady’s upbringing in Chicago and her early career as an attorney for US firm, Sidley Austin LLP where she met her future husband, Barack. The book is a fascinating look at life behind the scenes at The White House and the incredulous journey to get there – but more so about her endurance, perseverance, and finding her own voice. It’s an inspirational read and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it.
I am also very much into personal development and thoroughly enjoying Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ where the focus, among other things, is around the importance of self-reflection and learning to embrace and value the present.
The beauty of audiobooks as a medium is that they are so accessible and convenient – even with a busy work schedule I can always find time on the commute into work or when I’m cooking at home to tune in to something educational and interesting.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE START OF YOUR CAREER IN THE LEGAL SECTOR?
Enjoy every minute of success and learn from every set back and challenge along the way. See every challenge as A great opportunity and a door opening to a new opportunity. Celebrate both triumph and set back in equal measures. It’s part of life.
HOW HAS THE LEGAL SECTOR CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS AS A RECRUITER?
As a recruiter with somewhat of a bird’s eye view on the market, it’s easy to see the many changes that have taken place over the years. The legal market has got so much better at promoting itself in more recent years whether that’s promoting across social media as a career of choice or promoting diversity, equity and inclusion which finally feels like it is front and centre across the sector. This in turn has also impacted the service we provide as recruiters – and has been a major positive in recent years.
In my time we have gone from generalist practitioners to specialists, we have seen the huge growth and contraction in more recent years within Personal Injury. We witnessed a recession during the last financial crisis which impacted many areas of law, specifically property recruitment, to a huge boom in recruitment in this area during the last decade. We have seen north shoring, the growth of the large regional firms amongst other significant and impactful changes in the market as a result of technology.
One of the most impactful has been a marked increase in the rise of in-house talent attraction teams in law firms as they focus on improved recruitment processes to drive talent attraction. This has not been to our detriment at all but we have had to develop new ways of working to compliment internal teams as firms continue to struggle to meet their hiring needs. The relationship between law firms and legal recruitment agencies has never been stronger although our partnership these days is much more focused on genuine business ‘consultancy’ with recruitment professionals that advise on market trends, recruitment, and talent attraction more than ever before.
The legal recruitment sector is still very exciting and as fast paced as ever. Twenty years ago for example, we physically met every candidate ahead of presenting to firms, but the internet and digital revolution changed all of that – and after the pandemic, this evolved once again with more of a focus on innovation in tech across the sector. From marketing automation tools, to complex tech built around learning and algorithms that help to drive productivity, focusing on our tech stack is a real passion of mine.
Being in the market for over 24 years we are recruitment partners with many of the UK’s law firms and in line with the growth of our clients we have developed our service offering over time to meet their needs and now include outsourced and managed recruitment services and consultancy as well as search and selection for permanent , contract and locum roles.
That being said, and even with the many benefits that tech has brought to our business and that of our clients, building, nurturing and celebrating relationships with people is still our main focus. This, above all, is what drives me – delivering a personal service that gets results and is built on trust, honestly, integrity and good manners. Those values never go out of fashion and form the very foundations of our business and how we operate.
OUTSIDE OF WORK, WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?
I am a mum of two twenty – somethings. They are both amazing young people and make me proud everyday, as I watch them grow whilst they live their lives.
With free time I like to travel at every opportunity to beautiful and exotic places, become fully absorbed in different cultures – and especially try different cuisines, another passion of mine. And, as much as I enjoy the theatre and experience of fine dining, I also love cooking myself, and find it relaxing and actually a great way to switch off from the noise of everyday life.
I am passionate about health and well-being so spend leisure time usually in some outdoor activity or at the gym. I find great joy in getting out in the fresh air out as much as I can and really enjoy visiting formal gardens, anything historical including castles and art exhibitions and I am a HUGE music fan so enjoy going to gigs and watching live bands and concerts.
What’s next for me is more travel and house renovations.
AND FINALLY, YOUR GO-TO PODCAST?
Without a doubt ‘Beautiful Misfits‘ with Mary Portas.
Talking to a whole range of people from authors and designers to artists and business entrepreneurs, the podcast focuses on those who challenge the status quo and discuss their vision and life lessons along the way. I find her interview style engaging and the topics covered are absolutely fascinating.
There are so many channels and opportunities out there these days to read, listen, view and learn from inspirational individuals both in the sector you operate, as well as those that are seemingly worlds apart. But I do believe that inspiration comes in many forms, and a focus on lifelong learning and development is always something I subscribe to, no matter where you are in your career or personal life.