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Ontra-Enabled Wins:

2

Fulfilling careers

35

Hours/week

100%

Remote

Key Results:

Improved quality of life
Freed from a traditional 9-5 schedule
Balances an award-winning Rosé business and solo legal practice

Elisha Rai

Ontra’s Insight platform empowers lawyer to balance burgeoning wine business with solo legal practice.

Background

Elisha is a licensed solicitor of England & Wales. Elisha studied at the University of Leeds and completed her training contract at Ashurst, where she also qualified into their Corporate Funds group. After four years at the firm, Elisha moved in-house, serving as legal counsel for Hermes Investment Management, and, later, Man Group. During her time at Man Group, Elisha and her partner Tom decided to start Folc, an English wine business. They launched their first Rosé vintage in March 2020.

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“I really did need the flexibility. I have my own business that I run. But I also wanted to continue using my legal skills without going into an office, working for a specific client, and being part of their in-house team.”

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Elisha Rai

Freelance Solicitor & Co-Founder of Drink Folc

The Challenge

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Long and inflexible work hours
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No time to build business
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Lack of autonomy over schedule
Despite the hardships caused by the pandemic, Folc’s first release sold out quickly.

Elisha and Tom decided to increase production to meet the rising demand for English wine. That left Elisha in a difficult position. She recalls: “I started to realize that having a full time job as an in-house lawyer for a hedge fund, along with trying to balance the management of Folc just wasn't feasible.” As a business owner, Elisha needed more flexibility when it came to her legal work. She reflects: “with the Rosé business, I was getting pulled into presentations all the time, as well as wine tastings and vineyard visits.”

The Search for a Solution

Despite wanting the ability to dedicate more time and energy to Folc, Elisha did not want to leave her legal career behind.

Elisha explains “I’ve practiced this specific law for quite a chunk of my career now, for me to just completely stop would feel like I didn’t do myself justice on all those hours that I put in.” Also, pragmatically, Elisha recognizes that “The rosé business is great. It's really successful; but it is a startup and startups fail. And so it's having that reassurance of if we did have a bad year, with me still working as a lawyer, I'm able to support us financially.” Elisha was searching for something unique in the private funds legal space: a role that would allow her to continue to use her unique legal skills, while working remotely and having greater autonomy over her schedule. After hearing about Ontra’s world-class lawyer network from a friend at Deloitte, Elisha hoped she’d found what she had been looking for: an opportunity that would enable her to develop her business without giving up her legal practice.

While Ontra’s freelance legal model broadly appealed to Elisha, she was particularly attracted to Insight: an Ontra product which would allow her to leverage her deep fund formation experience by working with global fund managers to review and digitize their LPAs and side letters, set critical reminders, and ultimately bolster their compliance programs. As someone who had worked as a fund formation lawyer for her entire career, Elisha found Insight to be innovative and essential, stating that “I can’t think of a way that a fund manager will be able to monitor their obligations in a better way than what Insight provides.” After speaking with Ontra’s legal recruitment team and a few members of their lawyer network, Elisha was confident that working with Ontra’s Insight platform would provide her the flexibility and financial security she needed to grow her business. Elisha joined the Ontra team as an Insight lawyer in the Spring of 2021.

The Results

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Flexible work schedule
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Thriving legal career
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Award-winning Wine Business
Elisha’s Insight work has enabled her to prioritize her flourishing wine business while also practicing her specialized area of law.

Elisha is able to structure her Insight work around the ebbs and flow of the wine industry. She explains: “Rosé is a seasonal business. From March to September, I would generally work three full days a week on Insight and then two full days on the Rosé business, but then come September to February, I am more full-time on the Insight, maybe four, sometimes five full days a week on Insight which works really well for me.” However, for Elisha, the benefits of the work extend beyond the flexibility of it. Elisha remarks, “I feel like I get so much out of Insight. I’m working with documents that I used to draft and staying in tune with how the markets are changing.” As an Insight lawyer, Elisha gets the satisfaction of contributing to high-value, intellectually stimulating work – and in doing so, maintaining her legal skills at the highest level.

During her time at Ontra, Elisha has taken on some major Insight projects with prominent clients, yet she still has the flexibility she desired. Elisha enjoys the project-based structure of the work. Once staffed on a new project, Elisha will learn the scope and general client timeline and then is able to dictate her schedule entirely. She explains, “I can do the work on the weekends if I wanted to take Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off,” she explains, “or I could just work in the evenings if I didn’t want to work during the day.” With Insight, Elisha can attend wine industry events, vineyard visits, present her brand, run tastings, and practice funds law.

Ontra’s Insight platform empowered Elisha to maintain a thriving legal career while building an award-winning English wine business.

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