Not many corporate lawyers can pack up and leave the country for two months, let alone with the support of their clients and colleagues. Yet that’s exactly what Amy Sun, a lawyer partner in Ontra’s network, did when she left her home in Hong Kong to be closer to her son at boarding school in the United Kingdom. “While living in the UK, I was able to continue to service my clients without interruption,” Sun says. “I don’t think there are many other opportunities that allow such flexibility.”
Before partnering with Ontra, Amy was on the corporate finance team at Sidley Austin in New York City and the capital markets teams at Sidley Austin in Hong Kong and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Shanghai. The painfully long hours at a traditional law firm were not for her. It was “a combination of exhaustion from private practice and the pull of family needs” that drove her to change course, she says.
She positioned herself for an in-house move through secondments in private banking, funds management, and downstream chemical regulations. But again, the fit wasn’t quite right. “Although I enjoyed the diversity of experience, I still had to put in facetime and was tied to a physical office,” Sun says. With her husband, also a lawyer, facing the demands of private practice, Amy wanted to be able to handle personal responsibilities as they arose.
Since partnering with Ontra in 2019, Sun has enjoyed a level of freedom she once thought was impossible. Not only does she control her schedule, her work with Ontra has given her the financial freedom to buy a house in Hong Kong, no easy feat in a “ridiculously expensive housing market,” she says.
Although she is a remote legal services provider, Sun is anything but isolated. She is always in the company of nearly 300 top-tier legal partners that comprise Ontra’s global legal network. “I don’t feel like I am working by myself,” she says. “If I have any questions or need support, I just reach out to one of the lawyers on the same account. They are a great team that is always friendly and supportive.”
Ontra also supports her behind the scenes, taking on many of the traditional, burdensome back office functions. Moreover, if she has a request, runs into a technical issue, or has a question about the client playbooks used to guide negotiations, she simply calls the managing director of the Asia-Pacific region or the team in the United States. If she takes on other work or decides to increase her capacity, her workload is adjusted accordingly. “The management team is quite sensitive in this regard,” she says.
The freedom offered through her partnership with Ontra also empowers her to expand her career and skill set in a way that would have once been almost impossible. She’s currently exploring fund management and branching into funds-related agreements. At the same time, she plans to travel extensively once the pandemic is over. Thanks to her flexible schedule, she’s recently been spending part of her days studying French, making Paris the number one stop on her travel itinerary. Whatever the future holds, Amy knows that Ontra “will be a part of that plan!”
With her days as a capital markets lawyer behind her, and her Ontra partnership thriving, Sun has only one piece of advice for colleagues curious about a non-traditional legal career: “Go for it! You only live once.”