From Sidley to Security: Meet the City Lawyer Who Kept People Safe During the Commonwealth Games

A City lawyer has revealed how she took a break from the cut and thrust of corporate law this summer to work as a security guard at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Chloe O’Brien came across the opportunity to become one of the sporting event’s ‘Game Responders’ through her work as Sidley Austin’s pro bono counsel.

The lawyer volunteered through RE:ACT Disaster Response, a humanitarian charity and the ‘official military veteran provider’ for the Games. This saw it supply responders across the various venues to help with security duties during the twelve-day sporting event.

Despite her pro bono background, O’Brien initially felt that she was an unlikely candidate: “I have never really done any hands-on voluntary work before. I thought my skillset was better suited to behind the scenes, desk-based support, but diving into the Commonwealth Games deployment really opened my eyes to all sorts of new opportunities.”

The lawyer supported veterans by providing extra security, scanning tickets, checking bags and helping out with crowd management for the gymnastics and rugby sevens events. “It was my first time doing this kind of voluntary work, and I absolutely loved it,” she said.

O’Brien, who is also a visiting lecturer at The University of Law, added: “It was terrific to meet all the other Games Responders. We all had such varied backgrounds – ex-soldiers, police, civilians — but there was terrific comradery and a fantastic can-do energy amongst us. I think every single person came away feeling as though they had contributed in a really meaningful way to this historic event.”

Since the event, O’Brien has now signed up for RE:ACT mission alerts and is planning to do the charity’s domestic responder course as soon as possible. She notes: “I’m ready to tackle anything!”.