‘I’m motivated by a desire to change the world, starting with myself! I want to inspire people to live differently. I am convinced that if we were more in tune with ourselves and with nature, we would be happier, make healthier choices and be kinder to each other, to animals and to the planet.’
Through her job as a Legal Futurist Viveca Fallenius hopes to inspire change in the legal sector and beyond. We got the chance to talk to her about making your career meaningful, value-driven innovation and her interest in yoga and spirituality.
Tell us a little bit about your story and what you are doing!
I am a Legal Futurist at a law firm called Synch, It’s a pretty cool job that I’ve designed myself and I love it! It’s all about value-driven innovation and doing things differently, constantly exploring. My goal is to show that it is possible (and profitable!) to infuse more empathy, creativity and sustainability in the business. Ultimately, I want to inspire other law firms and companies to do the same.
So how did I end up here? Well, I grew up in Stockholm and after finishing school I went to Aix-en-Provence in south of France to do law school. I was mostly interested in learning French but ended up loving law school (and the sunny climate and pastis..) so I took a French law degree, including an exchange year in the UK and then finished off with a Master’s degree in EU law in Strasbourg. I moved to Brussels and worked eight years as a lawyer at the European Commission and at a law firm. However, I felt a longing for something different and took a gap year to do a Master’s degree at Stanford Law School in California – hands down the best experience ever. So grateful for that year! I felt like a free bird on campus and found that what I loved the most was everything revolving around design thinking, meditation and personal growth, impact startups, the US criminal justice system and organic vegan food. I was teaching teenagers locked up in detention centers, did all kinds of pro bono work, took every chance to visit prisons and I became friends with totally amazing people from all over the world and with all sorts of backgrounds. I thrive on that kind of vibrant diversity! So now I am basically trying to incorporate all of my passions in my job while at the same time driving change in the legal sector and beyond. It’s a win-win-win!
You have a lot of different things on your CV, including a Master of Laws from Stanford law school, working as an Information Officer for Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions in Brussels, being a Board Member of UN Women national committee Sweden, as well as extensive pro bono work, among other things. What are you proudest of in your career so far?
I love the question! I’m the most proud of having pivoted my career in a direction that feels meaningful instead of just continuing climbing up the corporate ladder. I love the fact that I can now work for more diversity in the legal sector, bringing in value-driven innovation, raising awareness about sustainability, talking about vulnerability at work (yeah!) and now also teach yoga! I’m just getting started!
You are Co-founder of WelcomeLaw, an initiative to welcome lawyers from all over the world to Stockholm, can you tell us a little about that project?
When I moved back to Stockholm after 16 years abroad, I knew I wanted to use my network and international background to facilitate diversity in the legal sector. Through Welcome App, Invitationsdepartementet and Yrkesdörren, I came in contact with many lawyers who had recently moved to Sweden as refugees or for other reasons. Despite often outstanding resumes, they had difficulties finding a job. I made introductions and tried to open doors but I felt it could be made on a bigger scale. So I teamed up with the amazing Marja Carlsson and we co-founded WelcomeLaw and WelcomeFinance. We hosted networking events with presentations and invited Swedes and professionals from other countries so that they could meet in an informal and inspiring setting. It was lovely to see how it unfolded! We also have Facebook groups where people can find each other and connect. Now, I’m able to work with diversity at Synch but WelcomeLaw is still available as a platform for anyone to use!
Do you have any specific goals you want to achieve with your work? What are they?
I’m motivated by a desire to change the world, starting with myself! I want to inspire people to live differently. I am convinced that if we were more in tune with ourselves and with nature, we would be happier, make healthier choices and be kinder to each other, to animals and to the planet. Again, a win-win-win and I think the only way forward. To be more specific, I am passionate about spreading awareness and knowledge about stuff like meditation and yoga, ayurveda, gender equality, personal growth, design thinking, organic food and being 98% vegan.
When did you get into yoga and spirituality and why is it an important part of your life?
I started meditating about ten years ago and then got into Transcendental Meditation that I’ve now been practicing daily for about six years. I had immediate results that were pretty groundbreaking and that’s also when change in a more meaningful way started to unfold in my life.
When it comes to yoga, on some level I was drawn to it early on but each time I went to a class, I couldn’t keep up with the movements and I felt so awkward chanting that I promised myself each time to never return. It wasn’t until I discovered Yoga With Adriene on youtube and the yoga and meditation studio Urban Om that I became hooked. Yoga is one of the few things in our society that truly resonates with me – and on so many levels. In this modern Western society, we’ve become so disconnected and yoga offers a way to reconnect with yourself, with nature and everything around you. It’s a beautiful, flawless and holistic science on how to live peacefully. It’s so much more than the physical practice of asanas. Actually, I’m now graduating as a yoga teacher at Urban Om to be able to bring yoga to even more people in the world. I’ll be unstoppable haha!
If you could give someone who is just starting out in the legal industry some advice, what would it be?
Wow, interesting question! This sector is about to change dramatically for several reasons and there is a hunger for new ways to deliver legal services. So try to find your own thing, a niche you feel passionate about. Start your own business or find an employer that cares about the people. And explore yoga and meditation.
How do you view failure and how have you overcome challenges in your career?
Great question! I’m constantly trying to remind myself of keeping a mindset of “Wow, fantastic learning”. For example, I have a tendency to overstretch myself because there is so much I want to do and then I get totally drained. Instead of viewing it as a failure, I try to figure out new ways to keep balanced.
Here at Residus, we are all about making feminine dressing powerful. In your life, how do you dress to feel powerful?
I love to wear feminine, comfortable and playful clothes. I love dresses, silver and gold details, activist t-shirts and sneakers! I love to express myself through my clothes, depending on my mood. I feel powerful when I can be myself fully.