The Attic recently caught up with Charity Mafube, a paralegal in the Obelisk consultant community, to discuss her career in law and how being part of the Obelisk Support community is supporting her reach her goals.
Charity is a qualified attorney in the New York Bar (admission pending) and awaiting her final QLTS OSCE assessment results to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.
Charity is passionate about ‘paying it back’ and helping those from less privileged backgrounds and in particular women, contribute to and find success in the legal profession. To this end she is also assistant editor for Legal Women magazine and editorial assistant for the Westminster & Holborn Law Society magazine, “London Lawyer”.
Her career goal is to work in the Banking and Finance sector, as she has a keen interest in Securities and Capital Markets, particularly Derivatives.
Advocating for those in need inspired a career in law
Prior to embarking on a career in law, Charity spent a decade working in social services. During this time, a key part of her role was to help those in need through using her influencing and persuasion skills. “I had to advocate for people who wanted to move into a nursing home near their family as an example. This involved building a robust case for budget approval and funding of each placement with budget stakeholders”.
Through this experience, Charity gained a taste for what it may be like to be a barrister or solicitor and embarked on the start of her legal career, studying law at BPP.
After successfully completing her LLB – which included several certificates of achievement for highest marks in the modules of Law of Financial Crime, Commercial Law and Principles of Company Law and Governance, Charity had a clear goal – to be dual qualified.
Despite the obstacles faced because of the pandemic, including exams being delayed on more than one occasion, she completed the New York Bar course at the end of 2021 while also studying to complete the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS) to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.
Flexible work – the foundation for client and personal success
Shortly after joining the Obelisk community on the recommendation of her mentor, Charity started on her first assignment – a short-term placement supporting a small compliance team.
“Daniela [Consultant Experience Manager at Obelisk] was great at providing advice and guidance. She understood my desire to go into banking and worked with me to identify how the role could help me gain the experience and hone the skills needed to progress my career.”
Working from home during this period allowed Charity the benefit of both being able to study while gaining invaluable new skills.
Fully embedded within the team, Charity built on her already extensive experience of reviewing a range of contracts – from NDAs and SLAs to MSAs in a previous role – to also amending clauses, co-drafting contracts and putting her influencing skills to the test negotiating contractual clauses with clients and brokers to manage contracts from draft to completion.
As the assignment was extended, flexible working continued to prove win-win for both Charity and the client. Over the period of the year, hours were flexed to accommodate client budgets or work weeks to allow Charity to sit 18 exams over a 6-day period.
For Charity flexibility is one of the key features that attracted her to the Obelisk community from the start. After hearing Dana Denis-Smith, CEO and Founder of Obelisk Support, speak at an event about why she was inspired to start Obelisk, Charity could easily relate to the value of working flexibility. Whether starting out in her career and needing time to study to if she chose to start a family and maintain work / life balance later in life.
What does the future hold? Paying it back!
As Charity looks five years ahead – encouraging people from less privileged backgrounds to consider a career in law is important.
According to Charity, many people are told “you are not going to make it” and that “becoming a lawyer is not easy”. By sharing her own experiences, she hopes to encourage and help others. “When I am in the position, I want to help others with their CVs, to provide work experience – just as I was helped when starting out”.
Charity is also inspired by the many women she has met that are championing diversity and helping to support women in the legal profession. “Women are getting more recognition but there is still a long way to go” says Charity, as she looks forward to finding where best she can contribute her voice to drive change.
The Obelisk community – making the difference
For Charity, joining the Obelisk community has enabled her to advance her legal career.
From providing flexible working arrangements to allow her to study and work, to supporting her fund her studies and buying the equipment she needed to work and study through paying fair rates. “I could not sit and pay for my exams, and the Macbook I need to study and work without the support of the work through Obelisk.”
Still, most important to Charity is how Obelisk “champion their people and make the effort to be really fair”. Obelisk “goes out their way to support me” says Charity, “even congratulating me on LinkedIn and via the consultant newsletter when I passed the New York Bar…I have recommended Obelisk to several peers and will do again!”
“Obelisk champion their people and make the effort to be really fair.”