Helen Gazzi: Legal Geek of the Week

Legal Geeks, we find, come in varied forms, from many different backgrounds. But this week’s Legal Geek of the Week, Helen Gazzi, represents the biggest outlier we’ve featured so far.

Yes, she’s one of our own as the Legal Geek Law for Good Manager – but she’s so much more than that.

With three fixed jobs in all, Gazzi is a busy woman.

Her Legal Geek role is focused on helping legal charities use technology to improve access to justice. And in the short time Gazzi has been running the show (since May 2016) she’s consulted on numerous pro-bono projects, organised three hackathons and is now planning our first Law for Good meet-up on 17 January for industry experts interested in exploring opportunities for Law Centres in the London area to charge fees and be more sustainable.

Improving the lot of the UK’s law centres is a specialist area for Gazzi as another hat she wears is that of Innovation Lead at the Law Centres Network (LCN).

“Law centres have had a technophobe feel to them in the past”, Gazzi explained to Legal Geek.

But now there is a rush to understand technology and that has been great to be a part of.

An ex-lawyer with Clyde & Co LLP, Gazzi’s two and a half years at the global law firm is where her interest in pro-bono legal work was fostered. Yet her need to help people continued to grow, and she turned her hand to a new line of work.

I really wanted to work with people and so after leaving law I re-trained as a life coach. I had done it as a hobby anyway whilst being a lawyer but I wanted to make it my full-time profession.

50% of my work now is now in life coaching, whilst the rest is Law for Good and working for the LCN.

Her private clients hail from multiple sectors including technology, banking, government and the law and are typically CEOs, start-up founders, or people looking to change career. Whilst she also goes into companies to give wider talks about career performance and mental resilience.

Yet Gazzi is only 29, and Legal Geek wonders how do her clients take to receiving advice from someone so young?

Coaching is not about me giving advice, it’s about structuring my clients’ lives in a way that helps them achieve their goals. You don’t need to be old, it’s a collaborative approach using strategies and tactics that help each person.

The signs are she is good at it too, as one of Gazzi’s clients, Accomable CEO Srin Madiapalli, recently sold his travel website for tourists with disabilities to the monolith that is Airbnb.

So what sort of pearls might Gazzi be passing on to her clients?

Well, for example, I personally worry about a lot of things and when that happens you can talk yourself out of doing something. So when that happens I have to immediately complete a small action towards achieving my end goal. Something such as sending an email, or reading a relevant article. If you do that before you talk yourself out of something, you bypass your brain and reduce the worry significantly.

With this top tip secured, Legal Geek feels happy to wind up the chat but not before Gazzi expresses her frustration to one problem she currently has no solution to: how to get people to properly celebrate her January birthday as “everyone is so boring in January. It’s an annual problem.”