Name: Katherine Keenan
Firm: Wedlake Bell
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law LLB
University: University of Manchester
Hobbies: Running, dancing, cooking
Current department: Construction
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 18/4
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I worked as a paralegal in Dubai for six months after university which opened my eyes to the world of law firms. I decided after a few months that I wanted to pursue a career at a firm in London.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Getting your foot through the door to the interview stage. It is difficult to stand out on paper application forms. Dedicating lots of time to application forms while holding down a busy day job was also very tricky.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
Q: What would you do if you were extremely busy at work but you received a call to say your burglar alarm at home was going off? A: I suggested asking a neighbour/friend to help. This didn’t seem to be the answer they were looking for as they continued to quiz me! I think the answer they were looking for was to ask your secretary to deal with it!
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
Acting for developers and contractors on a range of construction projects in London and around the country in a variety of different sectors such as the healthcare and leisure industries as well as residential and other commercial developments. In addition to providing non-contentious advice the department also handles construction disputes.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The people I work and train with are great! The work itself is challenging and my colleagues push me to develop my skills – it definitely is a job that keeps me on my toes.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t appreciate how tough it is to move department every six months and start all over again in a new practice area – back at square one.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
It’s from HR – checking if I’ve had my appraisal for my previous seat!
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The stairs (or the pub).
Describe your training partner in three words.
Patient, supportive and encouraging.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I can read Arabic
- I used to be in a hip hop dance crew
- I am scared of pigeons
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I was interested in becoming a psychologist or possibly something dance/theatre related.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
It’s hard work and it might take you a while to get a training contract but don’t be disheartened by a few rejections when applying. I would recommend doing a vac scheme or paralegal work to check if it is the right career for you before embarking on it.