Ontra lawyer spotlight: Meli Sandén

August 17, 2021
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One could say Meli Sandén, a multilingual lawyer based in France and a member of Ontra’s Legal Network since May 2018, keeps herself busy.

Prior to her work in the media and telecommunications group at Simmons & Simmons LLP in London, she founded a global non-profit for journalism ethics that earned her recognition as a “Young Global Leader and Information Technology & Innovation Expert” by the World Economic Forum.

She is also the founding CEO and former general counsel of an artificial intelligence startup, recipient of DI Digital’s “Top Serial Entrepreneur” award, author of a book entitled, Fixing Fake News: Own Your News, from Facebook to Blockchain, and the mother of two young children.

When Sandén decided it was time to build her own legal practice, joining forces with Ontra was the obvious choice. “I wanted to accomplish three things,” she said “continue to practice law, secure a supplementary income stream, and work with a network of high-caliber people while maintaining the freedom of remote work.” Ontra ticked all three boxes. Sandén initially took on a few NDAs per week, but with the business development and back office support provided by Ontra, she was able to significantly expand her practice and now has three paralegals. “Ever since law school, and then in private practice, my favorite part of law was always contracts in any shape or size — little did I know my workload with Ontra would grow to its current proportions!” she said.

She is also “invigorated” by the people at Ontra. The internal team, the other lawyers, and the clients are “all dynamic personalities with strong work ethics,” she said.

Sandén appreciates how supportive the lawyer community is as well. When her needs change, “Ontra is good at keeping things flexible and doesn’t hesitate to reshuffle the work arrangement to satisfy everyone involved,” she said. There is also incredibly strong communication and a team mentality among the lawyers in the network. “We share the workload to suit everyone’s work capacity at any given time,” she said.

Sandén typically works on NDAs for a few hours each morning, spends her afternoons freely, then logs in at night to process comments on the NDAs and sign off on as many documents as possible. “I like the combination of being pushed to produce high-quality work quickly, while still keeping the door open to pursue my other commitments,” she said.

The freedom of Ontra’s model gives her plenty of time to spend on her outside loves: family, outdoor activities (trail running and skiing), and playing music. She also recently remodeled two family homes, which she says is “less of a passion, but quite rewarding when finally completed!”

“My setup with Ontra is ideal,” she said. “I don’t need to apologize for being who I am and having a full life. It’s all compatible as long as the work is done on time!”

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