GC and Compliance officer at DH Private Equity Partners
“Even more effort is required for connections to become quality connections. By the way my favourite final movie line is ‘After all, tomorrow is another day’ (Gone with the Wind). Whilst a law firm partner almost some 20 years ago I moved over (with my husband who was also a partner in the same firm and 2 young children) to Germany as part of managing the process of integration between a UK and a German firm of lawyers. On arrival it was clear I was seen as an adjunct rather than a key member of the UK team reflecting in large part the fact that working mothers (particularly at partner level) were not that usual in Germany and society was not structured to accommodate the same. By the end of my time there I had managed to demonstrate, without being overly strident and remaining myself (but alert to preconceptions), that gender and motherhood was not a barrier and that whilst my approach was not the same as that of most of my German partners it was equally effective. Whilst most of the time I worked with English law documents I did need to interact regularly with members of the German
Mittelstand and was pleased to get feedback that whilst they maybe did not always understand what I said in German (my language skills are poor) or English (as their English although better than my German was sometimes not that good) they always felt my involvement was helpful and supportive in reaching a satisfactory outcome for all sides. By the time I returned to the UK more female partners had been recruited in Germany, the benefits of more consensual teamwork and training recognised and the practice area I worked in had grown and was highly regarded. At the farewell dinner I was treated with as much regard as my husband.
I would like to think that today there would be much less preconception regarding gender and that I would make more of an effort with learning the language. Also I think I would worry less about differences of view and approach. To make any connection you need to be authentic and accept others authenticity which often means learning to live and work with differences. You don’t need to like everything about a person or situation to have a good connection.”
Julie has been involved in all aspects of private equity legal work since she qualified as a solicitor in 1985, having studied law at Hertford College, Oxford University. Julie is currently General Counsel and Compliance Officer at DH Private Equity Partners. She joined DH in 2011 having previously worked in private practice for over 20 years at first both a leading city and then a US firm of lawyers. Her role as Group Legal and Compliance Officer
involves not only providing day to day advice to the firm and continued involvement in transactions but also considering the impact of legal and regulatory changes on its operations and on its portfolio companies. She is of the view that the increased focus on regulation and compliance means her colleagues spend more time than they would like talking to her but enjoys the challenges it presents.