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May Winfield

  • Global Director of Commercial, Legal and Digital Risks
  • Buro Happold
  • London, UK

Meet May

Tell me about yourself and what you specialize in. I’m a construction lawyer with two decades of experience; more than half of that in digital and construction tech. There aren’t many lawyers who focus on this area, and I am committed to helping the industry learn and work together by spreading the word about the legal problems and solutions. I have had a squiggly career path and am a massive tech geek, having been glued to a monitor screen since I was 4 years old!

Why do you love working in the construction industry? Our industry creates some awesome physical masterpieces, as well as vitally important infrastructure that literally shape the fabric of our lives - from little more than a concept or an idea. It is a pleasure and privilege to watch such great minds at work, and no two days are the same. It is also one of the few places I could fully combine my practically-minded problem-solving skillset with my love for all things tech and digital.

What topics and trends are you most passionate about in the industry? I have a real passion for digital and technology in all its different forms: from digital twins and blockchain; to BIM to AI. I hope that eventually we can bring about more collaboration between technical, legal and business teams in organisations to achieve streamlined, collaborative workflows - there is currently a lot that gets ‘lost in translation’ as everyone uses different terminology.

I uniquely sit between all three areas and so I am well placed to help optimise the process. I am also passionate about the important, growing trend towards equality and inclusion of diversity, being a foreign-born, mixed-race, unconventional woman myself!

What advice would you give to the next generation preparing for the future of the industry? You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a predefined mould. The industry is a vast and diverse landscape, where all kinds of talents are valued and necessary. Discover what ignites and inspires you about the industry.

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About May

Your Superpower Babelfish: I speak ‘Engineer’, ‘Lawyer’, ‘Business’

What Motivates You Curiosity: unquenchable thirst for knowledge

Tool You Can’t Live Without Blank page: world of possibilities

Best Artist/Song for Work DJ Steve Aoki: wordless animated energy

Jobsite or Office Combination: onsite collaboration, office concentration

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