Exclusive Interview: Nicolina Andall - In House Legal Counsel at Atlas Copco UK & Ireland
Name: Nicolina Andall
Job Role: In House Legal Counsel for Atlas Copco UK & Ireland
Education: 2:1 BSc Hons in Food Technology (specialising in industrial engineering and applied microbiology), Postgraduate Diploma in Law, Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.
Fun Fact: I am massively into gospel music and am always to be found in a choir somewhere; I love harmony and sing Alto/Tenor. I am a classically trained pianist and play gospel and traditional church music by ear. I’ve written this whilst humming along to choir songs in preparation for practice tomorrow night LoL!
Nicolina Andall is an experienced Senior Corporate Commercial Solicitor having advised corporate business leaders for around 20 years on a wide range of business legal issues.
Nicolina has been In House Legal Counsel for Atlas Copco UK Holdings for the past 3 years, currently being accountable for 10 companies in the UK group in respect of their legal matters.
Alongside her role, Nicolina also shows a passion for using her voice and experience to inspire and change the lives of others. She was very recently named in the Cranfield 100 Women to Watch 2020 List! We sat down with Nicolina to discuss her journey in law and her career at Atlas Copco.
Could you start off by telling us what you do?
Essentially, I’m a Corporate Commercial Solicitor and a Board Advisor. Even though I’ve worked in the City advising major developers and run my own law firm, I really love working in an in house environment where you can be much closer to business reality.
Aside from Atlas Copco (!), my most notable assignment was working for KBR, a huge US engineering company with HQ in Houston. I led the UK legal function for the International Government Defence Support Services team for 2 years assisting the sales, bidding, commercial, operations and procurement teams with delivering support operations to organisations working in hostile & austere environments. Our main client was the Ministry of Defence and we would deliver a variety of support services to the Army who were working “in the wire” in Afghanistan. 95% of my work was in foreign territories and I’m a whizz with an MoD & NATO contract LOL!
To summarise though, I help business leaders to balance business reality against legal risk and help them find a commercially sensible way forward in their business activities. I like to think that I deliver my advice with commercial acumen, in plain English with a smile and a bit of humour. That way I get to learn about the business and the business walks away having understood how the law affects their activities. It’s great!
Tell us more about your role within Atlas Copco UK & Ireland
Oooo… difficult to summarise! I work at UK Holdings level and advise GMs, Board Directors and their teams on corporate, commercial, dispute resolution, insurance, competition, intellectual property, employment, real estate, data protection/GDPR, regulatory and compliance law. I also manage external legal counsel that we may instruct to look at specific legal issues – especially disputes and real estate. A large element of my role has been advising on the many legal elements related to the many group corporate restructuring within the UK including being involved in the global Epiroc divestment project. I must say the work here is fascinating and I get to work with so many lovely business professionals across the UK and the globe. It would be remiss of me not to mention that I work within an excellent team at UK Holdings level – each individual is an outstanding expert in their own right and it’s a really strong multi-disciplinary team.
Congratulations on being named on the #Cranfield 100 Women to Watch 2020 list! We’d love to hear more about this and your recent achievements.
I am so honoured and delighted to have made it into this noteworthy list (Wow!). I have always done a lot of extracurricular activities over the years particularly when I ran my own law firm (marketing right!). They make you into a multi-faceted person with a wider perspective of life, particularly off the backdrop of being female and BAME. At present, I am actively laying the foundations for senior non-legal roles in my 50s & 60s.
Here are some of the roles I’ve held in the last 5 years:
• Chair, Croydon Chamber of Commerce
• Council Member, London Chamber of Commerce
•Charity Board Trustee, Start up Croydon
• Advisory Board Member, Halsbury’s Laws of England
• Independent Panel Member, Ministry of Justice
Finally, I’m delighted to have secured my first Public Appointment this summer as an Independent Member of the London Advisory Committee (Recruitment), Lord Chancellor’s Department. I’m responsible for assessing the suitability of candidates to become Magistrates in the London area. I also write articles on Linked In to share my learnings to inspire women and diverse candidates to step up and be influential voices in our society. I am an Ambassador for the excellent global organisation “Women On Boards”.
Being a black woman excelling in law what advice would you give to other women striving for a longstanding and successful career in law? Where do I start? I could talk about this forever . • Surround yourself with supportive people who can encourage and advise you on your journey. • Find organisations that can help you in your journey. I was blessed by being a member of the African Caribbean and Asian Lawyers group and the Black Solicitors Network in my “wannabe” and junior years. • Use “mentors” if you can find them – informal ones are fine. One of the best pieces of advice given to me when I simply could NOT get into the profession (140 rejections in one year?) was a single 45 minute chat offered by a lady who gave some incredible advice as to how to approach and structure my training contract application. After a total of 175 training contract applications over 2 years – one firm eventually said yes… and here I am today. You only ever need 1 person to say yes… and the rest is up to you. • Keep working on increasing your range of hard and soft skills. What lawyer in 2017 didn’t go read GDPR cover off their own back? No one told me to – it was just the right thing to do! It meant I could answer all the GDPR questions in my Atlas Copco interview! • Finally… being blunt and keeping it real... Get used to the fact that you WILL come across people in your life journey who will be unpleasant, psychologically bully you, underpay you by comparison to your male counterparts and treat you in a slightly inhumane manner. That’s life – you can’t change them – so you have to learn how to deal with them. Be confident. Be resilient. Know your worth.
Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Take a lifelong approach to learning.
Team-working is one of the most important skills to have. Together – we can do anything!
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.