Lawyer 2B launches some quick-fire questions at Thomas Eggar trainee Lauren Delieu
Name: Lauren Delieu
Firm: Thomas Eggar
Position: Trainee Solicitor
Degree: Law (LLB)
University: University of Warwick
Hobbies: Singing, Scuba Diving and Travelling
Current department: Private client
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 6/4
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I have always been interested in the law, especially from a social and economic standpoint. When I was aged four, I told my parents I wanted to work for the police and I’ve always been interested in the impact of legislation on social practices and policies.
Also, I really enjoy solving problems and investigative work, which is probably why I’ve enjoyed my litigation seat so much. Going to university I was sure that I wanted to study law but I still didn’t really know what working as a lawyer would actually involve. The first work experience I had in a law firm was at Thomas Eggar. The solicitors and partners I worked with made such a lasting and powerful impression on me, that three years later I applied for a training contract. The rest is history, as they say.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Standing out from the crowd. In your head you know that you will make a brilliant lawyer, and that you tick all the boxes and are prepared to learn and face anything your supervisor throws at you. The challenge? Getting training partners and interviewers to see just how brilliant you are, especially in short one-hour interviews and one-day assessment centres.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your successes and what you’re good at. Also, be prepared to ask good questions yourself and don’t ask anything you could have found out from a firm’s website. You want to make the person interviewing you feel like they would have to be a mad person to turn you down. There is a fine line between appearing confident and seeming arrogant though, so watch our for this. Practice your interview technique on others to get it right.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
”Do you think current libel laws in England and Wales are fair?” I think at the time of my interview this was a particularly hot topic with the media. I came at this question from a media law perspective, and discussed the floodgates situation that would occur by using libel laws to pursue people who say damaging things about others on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I used the word troll a lot, but I think it went well.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
At the moment I am working with our private client team in Newbury. I think private client is all about real individuals and families, and helping them to put their affairs in order and plan for the future. You really need to have good people skills in this seat. Our department deals with a lot of peoples’ Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney and the nature of these documents often means you are required to meet your clients on a number of occasions.
Also, we are required to help our bereaved clients through difficult and distressing times while maintaining complete professionalism and focus. We also advise clients about their tax issues and carry out tax planning. Our inheritance tax and estate planning work can be a continual process, and we work with our clients to develop strategies so they can pass their property to their family in a tax efficient manner. At the minute, I am assisting fee earners with drafting some IHT205 and IHT400 forms which are required in order to obtain a Grant of Probate.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
Getting the opportunity to work with some very good lawyers who are often leaders in their respective fields. I have been at Thomas Eggar for nearly seven months now and I have learnt so much and I’m continually developing my skills. I enjoy the working culture where lawyers and staff are rewarded for their achievements and their success. Trainees work in a positive and encouraging atmosphere which enables them to learn quickly and try their hand at lots of different types of work. I enjoy working on matters and assisting fee earners in getting great results for our clients. In particular, I shared in some very nice praise from counsel after we obtained a great settlement for a client.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t expect to be settling cases in my second week! My first seat was with our personal injury team in London. I was asked by my supervisor to review a file we were trying to settle for our defendant client and to give my opinion on the quantum in the case.
As it turned out, both sides weren’t very far apart on quantum and in terms of costs it was in everyone’s best interests to reach a settlement. I gave my supervisor my opinion as to the next offer I thought we should make, and when we had discussed it she asked if I would call the other side and make them an offer. Although it was probably the most adrenalin fuelled telephone conversation I have ever had, I’m happy to say that our offer was accepted. Needless to say our client was happy that the case had settled, especially given the costs savings. We rely on email so much these days, but there is a lot to be said for picking up the phone and getting to the point quickly.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
That will be from John Bunker, the head of private client knowledge management. John’s email was an industry news update about Spain being condemned for discriminatory inheritance tax rules.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The coffee machine! Especially on biscuit Wednesdays.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Approachable. Experienced. Driven.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I was a contestant on Deal or No Deal.
- I got stuck in a lift with George Alagiah.
- I appeared in a national TV commercial in Germany.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
The police or the diplomatic service.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Grades are important, so keep your head down at university and law school and achieve fantastic results you can be proud of.
Next, aim high and be focussed with your training contract applications. You should know exactly what type of law firm you want to work for and whether it be a magic circle firm or a mid market provider, you should be targeting these firms in a strategic and directed way. Blanketing every single firm with your application is not a good idea and training principals reading your application will know.
Most of all, you should stay positive. There is a lot of competition for training contracts but if you’re prepared to work hard you will get there.