Alexandra Cooke

When researching firms you will notice that they do similar work but have different ’personalities’. Be sure you apply to a firm because you would like to build your career there.

Firm: Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP)

Alexandra Cooke
Alexandra Cooke

Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law
University: University of Bristol
Where did you study the GDL and/or the LPC? BLP tailored, LPC at College of Law, Moorgate
Hobbies: Keeping fit, travel, cooking, music
Department: Funds and financial services

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor? In the sixth form my teachers suggested law would suit me. They highlighted my tendency to question things. After work experience at a local law firm I realised it was the career for me.

Why did you choose commercial law? I studied business and economics at A-level, and was interested in finance and how businesses work.

What has been the highlight of your training contract so far? In my first department I worked on a high-profile copyright case. I was heavily involved in it and was asked to contribute my opinions when drafting our legal arguments.

What does your typical day involve? The work you do depends on which department you are in.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job? Variety and responsibility. I have a lot of exposure to clients and plenty of opportunities to draft important documents.

What are the worst aspects of your job? It’s rare, but I have had to cancel social plans because I’ve had to work late.

What is the biggest misconception of the legal profession? That you have to come from a purely academic background. My firm liked the fact that I had done a variety of things.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law? It’s never too early to start building your CV. I got involved in things such as team sports, charity work, travel, and part-time work which exposed me to the commercial environment.

What are the biggest pitfalls students should try to avoid when pursuing a legal career? Some students don’t get enough legal work experience, which is important as it shows you have a keen interest.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract? Applying to the right firms. When researching firms you will notice that they do similar work but have different ’personalities’. Be sure you apply to a firm because you would like to build your career there.

How is law in practice different from studying law? In practice you learn how to apply what you have learnt to provide clients with commercial solutions.

What are the common attributes of successful candidates? Trainees at my firm are driven, enthusiastic and sociable. It’s important to show you are business-minded, have good communication skills and an eye for detail.