Head of Matrix Chambers Lindsay Scott

Lindsay ScottLindsay Scott

Head of Matrix Chambers

At first sight Lindsay Scott does not look like a lawyer/solicitor, let alone head of one of the most prestigious, chambers, which includes  Cherie Booth, and Conor Gearty previous Head of Human Rights at LSE.  A chambers which a which takes seriously both issue of Diversity and Human Rights.

She has flyaway hair, and a laughing face, very unlike the serious countenance of the usual image of expected of a CEO. She was head hunted to be CEO at Matrix Chambers.  Previously she was the Managing Director of QDOS before joining Informa plc, a FTSE 100 media and telecommunications group and previous to those was a practicing solicitor.

The focus on women and Diversity make this very topical.

These are some of her comments when interviewed by Counsel,  the monthly Journal of the Bar of England and Wales.

“The secret of Matrix success is down to the quality of our people, (both staff and members), our openness to change, our values and our diversity. Matrix is open to change and we have reacted to the changing market by hiring the “right people” we believe will help us adapt and add value for our clients.

We do a number of things differently. We have moved away from the inefficiency of the traditional chambers hierarchy.    The key to attracting good people is good reputation , good work and a good se level of service,   We actively promote work/life balance for staff and members and also increasing the diversity of our member and staff teams.”

That she ran her own business, was a practicing solicitor, was headhunted, and is mother of 4 children, makes her an impressive role model of how to balance work and family.

Interview with Lindsay Scott.

Being a woman can be an advantage. Its often easier to say something helpful to a male colleague, if you’re a women, that he might not take from a man.

I believe in the importance of mentoring and coaching.   For example   if some one is not doing well, men are happier to discuss it and be more open with a woman.  And when it comes to personal problems, men often see women as more empathic.

The main negative is equal pay.

There are always girly comments and expectations as a women, low level innuendo, just ignore it and become inured. I wouldn’t notice.

How to work at one of the top law firms and four children to say nothing of a husband!
I see myself as electrical energy with 2 major things going on and colliding; family and children, and professional life.

I think I taught myself not to worry. I think the experiences you have make you learn the hard way.

I juggle, time management, don’t sleep, listen, stay positive, and try to be realistic – not be guilty.

The magic recipe is to make it work for your family.  You need to have realistic expectations.   Make sacrifices. No, that’s not it, make choices to enable good life/work balance, not sacrifices.

I am in awe of Cherie Blair, Nicola Horlick, Harriet Harman. Very high profile women, but they make it work, set on being there.

Advice to young women starting out.

Play to your strengths;
Do what you’re good at;
Go with your gut instinct;
Keep perspective;
Don’t worry too much; and,
Do the best you can do.

In professional life there is so much stress it’s damaging.  People can give you advice, but you have to learn for yourself.   My grandmother said “You get more with honey than with vinegar”.

When I was first employed I was very lucky to be eased into corporate life by a partner who was older than me and acted unofficially as a mentor.

I believe that mentoring and education are absolutely key.  He eased me into corporate life,  by not allowing me to take it seriously.  He also taught me about jazz, which is usually an interest you develop when you’re older.   He took me to Ronnie Scott’s. He taught me a lot.

It’s very important when you first start to have a good mentor, not to make mistakes and think that you have all the answers.  Also to look out for you.

Once it would have been your extended family, your local vicar, who would do the mentoring, so in a less community focused environment these days, the mentoring is all important.



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