Jessica Andersson knew she wanted to pursue a career in law after spending some time shadowing a lawyer. Now one of our many successful graduates, she currently works at PayPal in commercial law. We spoke with Jessica about her role at PayPal and asked what advice she would offer students also looking to work in-house at a global company.
After shadowing a lawyer in Malta – where I grew up – I gained a better insight into the legal profession and knew I wanted to pursue law in the UK. I chose to study at The University of Law because of its leading reputation and central London location. I didn’t have a training contract when I started the LPC, but felt the course gave me the confidence to put my learning into practice, and provided a solid legal foundation in various sectors. I was also able to build my network, which is incredibly important in the legal profession.
In my current role at PayPal, I work in the commercial legal team, supporting Sales in the UK and Europe. I’m responsible for drafting and negotiating contracts for new and existing business customers, as well as providing guidance on key deals.
I saw the role advertised on LinkedIn by a former manager who had moved to PayPal. We had a conversation about the role, the culture at PayPal, and whether I’d be a suitable fit. Having that conversation encouraged me to apply for the job.
Wellness is one of our key values at PayPal, and therefore work/life balance is ingrained in the culture. To acknowledge the volume of work, we are given ‘wellness days’, which is a companywide day off, on top of your annual leave. I also have the flexibility to work from home, or at one of our two London offices, and opportunities to visit other offices globally. As with any large global organisation there are instances you’ll have to work outside your regular hours to accommodate different time zones, but generally people are very respectful of each other’s time.
We also support the Sutton Trust, an educational charity that gives A Level students from disadvantaged backgrounds an insight into PayPal and the legal profession. We also partner with GROW Mentoring, and it’s been an honour to see several of the students secure training contracts and work placements.
There were so many amazing people who have inspired me. I’ve been very lucky to have strong women around me throughout my career. I think, to be successful, you need to be pro-active. I joined PayPal during lockdown, and it was important to reach out to key stakeholders and get to know them through Microsoft Teams. It’s also important to be in sync with the business’ strategy and key priorities. To do this effectively you need to have regular touch points and communicate your advice succinctly.
My advice for students wanting to work at PayPal is to look out for their internship opportunities. We offer one year work placements in between your degree. As part of the recruitment process, it’s common to meet the majority of the team you may be working with, as well as any key stakeholders. PayPal looks for candidates who are technically capable, with the right experience and enthusiasm to bring something new to the table, and a commitment to living PayPal’s values.
I would also recommend getting some private practice experience, such as a summer placement or a paralegal role. It’s also important to keep up to date with news about fintech (financial technology) and demonstrate an interest in the sector.
If you wish to follow a similar career path to mine be open to in-house training contracts too. A big advantage to this route is the breadth of work, and exposure to the business and senior stakeholders you wouldn’t normally have as a junior lawyer in private practice.
You can go far with persistence, hard work and determination.
Looking to pursue a legal career in-house? Explore our range of course options and start your journey today.