Lawyer 2B launches some quick-fire questions at Gateley trainee Fiona Grocock
Name: Fiona Grocock
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: LLB (Hons) and LLM in Legal Practice
University: University of Leicester
Hobbies: Running, swimming and baking. (Although currently my main hobby is renovating my new home).
Current department: Corporate
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 7/4
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I was initially attracted to a career as a lawyer after watching Legally Blonde because I enjoy trying to help others solve their problems or achieve their targets. I realised law was a career which would enable me to do this. I then completed work experience in a high street firm at age 15. My personality type is that I like to be challenged; I realised that a career as a solicitor could provide a variety of challenging but exciting work. I enjoy problem solving and I am good at constructing an argument so the process of researching an issue, drafting and constantly keeping my client informed attracted me.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
When I was applying for a training contract the country was a few years into the recession. This meant that firms were decreasing their intake of trainees. In addition, there were more candidates applying for the limited positions as there were two/three years worth of aspiring trainee solicitors who had not yet found training. It was imperative that my application stood out.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
“In light of the current financial climate (the recession), how should solicitors firms change their approach to training?”
I suggested offering work based training similar to the accounting profession. Interestingly, the Government and the Law Society are now supporting an apprenticeship route into the legal profession.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I am currently sitting in the corporate department so the transactions cover acquisitions and disposals of businesses by both share and asset sales/purchases. The majority of our clients are private limited companies. I have helped a lot with the due diligence and ancillary documents for the larger deals. However, the matter I have learnt the most from, in corporate, to date, was one requiring me to prepare new articles, carry out a redemption of shares and reclassify shares. This was because I was given responsibility to prepare all documents and correspondence with supervision from one of the partners.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The challenge of being given a new task and the feeling of achievement when you realise you have gone from knowing little about the subject matter to learning an awful lot about it and actually being given positive feedback. Also, being given the responsibility to manage my own matters and correspond with clients.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
The amount of time trainees spend on non-law-related matters such as corporate social responsibility, attending networking events and arranging social events. These are all good fun and provide the opportunity to develop skills, such as negotiating, which junior fee earners do not always get a chance to practise.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s from the other Leicester Junior Lawyers Division committee members regarding arrangements for our next event which will be chocolate tasting.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
Describe your training partner in three words.
Approachable, knowledgeable and realistic.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I play in a mixed darts league.
- I am a Leicester Tigers fan.
- In 2012 I ran the Bath half marathon.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would have been a baker with a tea room in either Devon or Guernsey.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Never miss an opportunity, even if not law related. It will allow you to develop valuable transferable skills.