Lisa Goatcher, Dentons

Name: Lisa Goatcher

Firm: Dentons

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: BA (Hons) History and Politics

University: University of Nottingham

Hobbies: Travelling, scuba diving, cooking and yoga

Current department: Energy, transport and infrastructure (ETI) – Energy team 

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 12/4

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I had been working for two years since graduating, and while I had a job, I wanted a career. I had enjoyed my time working in a commercial environment concentrating on finance, but I wanted to focus on the legal aspects of the work I had been involved in. I also thought practising law as a solicitor would suit my skills set.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?

It can be hard to work out what a firm is about and therefore which firms to apply for. Go to open days and law fairs so that you can get a feel for the different firms and then tailor your application. Rejection can be tough too, but keep going!

Lisa Goatcher
Lisa Goatcher, Dentons

What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?

If you were advising the board of a private equity firm which industry to make an acquisition in, what would it be?

I answered cosmetics – they have low production costs combined with potentially high retail value. Often a private equity firm can add value to the acquired company by bringing on board executive experience to help with branding, provide know-how and use their contacts to get the products on the shop-floor to consumers.

Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…

Our energy team focuses on all aspects of the oil and gas sector, especially in Africa, the UK and the Middle East (including upstream and downstream oil & gas, LNG and shale); and transactional and regulatory power projects in the UK and emerging markets, which include both conventional, renewable, nuclear and unconventional power production.

The energy department at Dentons is unusual within the City as it is a specialist team dedicated solely to energy. This means we are able to undertake a huge variety of energy work, including; energy M&A, where we work closely with the corporate department in relation to due diligence; energy IPOs, where we again support corporate; pure regulatory work; upstream and downstream energy contracts relating to supply, production, exploration and transportation; and energy disputes where we work closely with the dispute resolution department.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I enjoy attending client meetings and commercial research as these help to develop my understanding of the energy industry and see what is important from the client’s perspective. 

What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?

The volume of emails can be astounding. I came back from holiday to over 400 emails in my inbox!

Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?

The email is from a client providing a link to an online data room for us to access regarding a due diligence project. It concerns the proposed acquisition of a portfolio of solar farms in the UK.

Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?

Normally over lunch in the staff canteen, where I get the chance to catch up with the other trainees; or the Corney & Barrow next to the office after work.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Knowledgeable, pragmatic and entertaining.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I am a qualified yoga teacher
  • I set up an online retail business
  • I adopted a chicken.

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

Events planner. Luckily I still get to be involved in planning events for the firm as part of the social committee. This year, along with another trainee, I organised the May Ball which was a black-tie sit-down dinner for 130 employees, which raised thousands for our charity of the year. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?

Stay motivated and confident in your abilities.