How a trip across the world led Maaike Trobman to a niche role in legal tech

July 1, 2022

In this interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Maaike Trobman, an alum of our September 2021 cohort. She is currently working at Trellis Law as an Account Executive.

You’ve had an unconventional path to working in legal tech.

I considered becoming a teacher. But instead of doing my master's degree in education right away, I decided to teach English as a foreign language in Spain (I didn't speak any Spanish). I moved there for a couple years and slowly learned that this could be the path I wanted to take. 

You’re a California native. What drew you to work outside of the country?

I was raised in an international household. I was inspired by my mom who grew up all over the world. I also had one aunt that was born in France, and another in North Africa; everyone spoke different languages. I always heard the best stories during their time growing up in Spain.

I went once to visit and fell in love with the country. I decided to save up my money for a year. Once I got there I had to find my own work, create a lot of my own lesson plans, and essentially became my own boss. 

That sounds like a big life adjustment.

Everything was unfamiliar. The culture, the food, the hours, everything was different. But honestly, it was the best time of my life. Even though it was very tough to leave my friends, family, and pretty much everything that I knew behind, I met some of the most amazing people from all over the world. It opened my eyes to what else was out there.

But eventually you decided to make a complete career change.

I got a corporate communications and digital marketing degree while in Spain. I came back to the states and after working in international development and recruitment for five years, wanted something a little more challenging. I started looking into how I could transition into tech with the skills that I'd learned. That led me to School16. 

I wasn't looking to go into marketing because I knew from my master's experience that that wasn't something I wanted to do. I’m interested in product and absolutely love strategy. I finished School16 last holiday season. At the beginning of this year, while continuing my job, I also took on applying for a new role full-time. 

What’s your working life like now?

I always saw becoming a lawyer or working in criminology as a possibility so I look at my current role as a happy coincidence. I’m an Account Executive at Trellis Law, a legal tech company. The legal system in the U.S. is kind of archaic and disorganized. Trellis is an AI-powered platform built by litigators, for litigators, to bring law into the 21st century.

And it’s a startup. That’s also really exciting because I get to wear many hats, learn a ton, and I believe in the company. It’s been a goal of mine to work in tech. School16 helped strengthen the fact that I wanted to put myself out there and make the transition.

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