From London to Silicon Valley: Realizing a Dream at LinkedIn

August 30, 2013

How do you change a life? “Transformation” is one of LinkedIn’s key cultural tenets. When I reflect on how much my life has changed in one year, and the extent to which LinkedIn has contributed to this change, “transformation” seems a pretty apt word. How did it happen?

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It started as just a dream. In 2012, I was in London working in intellectual property (IP) law and followed legal and technology news in Silicon Valley with avid interest. For an IP/tech law geek, Silicon Valley is the ultimate mecca. It seemed to be where all the action was.

It wasn’t long before I wanted to be in Silicon Valley, not just read about it, so I took an intelligent risk to make my dream a reality. Although I had never visited the West Coast, nor knew anyone there, I moved to California to reboot my career by enrolling in an IP/High Tech Masters of Law program at Santa Clara Law School.

As a newcomer in a foreign market, I had to be adaptable, research my new landscape and seek out local knowledge. Most importantly, I learned that relationships matter. How did I go about building a network from nothing, you ask? Through LinkedIn, I was able to research and connect with persons whose career paths I admired, their advice proved invaluable in steering me in the right direction.

A dream is nothing without execution. To truly be in the “belly of the beast”, I had to see a Silicon Valley company from the inside and I was thrilled to be offered an internship on LinkedIn’s Legal team aka the “Legal Eagles”. As one of the fastest growing companies, LinkedIn is regularly faced with a multitude of fascinating, cutting-edge legal challenges on a global scale.

Using LinkedIn and working here has helped me to advance my career on an international scale. For example, several legal issues that are fairly clear-cut and favorable to Internet companies in the United States may be less straightforward in foreign territories. A global outlook, proper due diligence and sensitivity to local markets and their cultural nuances is essential in ensuring that companies are legally compliant and successful internationally.

LinkedIn has introduced me to new ways of thinking, which has allowed me to reinvent myself, both personally and professionally. I’ve learned that the best lawyers act as business partners with their clients, rather than offer legal advice in a vacuum. Interns are regularly exposed to areas outside their own teams, which enabled me to understand how the legal team aligns their advice with the strategic and cultural aims of LinkedIn.

Experiencing life in a Silicon Valley company was exactly what I had sought to do a year ago. The legal team inspires me every day as they aim to be the best legal team, not only in Silicon Valley, but as an enthusiastic member of the team exclaimed, “The best legal team in the world!"

Life changed, mission accomplished. Thanks, LinkedIn. Next Play.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of blog posts by LinkedIn’s rockstar summer interns.