Katherine Yu, B P Collins

Name: Katherine Yu

Firm: B P Collins

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: MA International Relations & Modern History

University: University of St Andrews

Hobbies: Yoga, travelling, cooking and reading

Current department: Family

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 20/8

Katherine Yu, BP Collins

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I wanted a professional career that was challenging, offered diversity in terms of what you could be doing on a daily basis and involved working closely with people and businesses. I’d always had an interest in law and made up my mind after a couple of legal work experiences.

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

A huge challenge is trying to make your application one that law firms will pick up out of the pile and remember. Another is being able to look at yourself critically, breakdown what your strengths are and encapsulate them in the ridiculously short word limits provided on application forms.

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

I had graduated for a couple of years before I started applying for training contracts, so my commitment to a career in law was frequently questioned.  

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

Primarily high value divorces, with some nuptial agreements and private law children, often with an international element.  We’re also increasingly consulted on financial provision for unmarried couples.

I’ve been able to experience a real breadth of family law and had the opportunity to attend court on different cases, which is really thrilling. Every day is different, whether it’s preparing trial bundles, liaising with the client directly or drafting formal documentation like divorce petitions and financial disclosure forms.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

Interacting with clients, getting the first go at drafting meaty documents, the strategic side of litigation and having the opportunity to work with and learn from a fantastic team.  

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

Getting used to dropping everything when something time critical falls on my desk. It’s important to be adaptable in terms of your task list and keep it organised, so you can pick up where you left off once whatever it is has been done.

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

An email from a client with documents to exhibit to his witness statement that needs to be filed in the next couple of days.

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

The kitchen or in the morning when the trainees get together to collect their department’s post.

Describe your training partner in three words.

Warm, dynamic, engaging.

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

  • I have been snorkelling with a ten-metre whale shark and a super-shy dugong.
  • Bill Murray once came to a house party in my student flat during the Dunhill Links Championships and ended up doing the washing up.
  • I passed my driving test first time despite using the windscreen wipers instead of the indicators and stalling on a completely flat stretch of road.

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

A museum curator.

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

Persevere and get as much experience as you can, even if it’s just talking to people in the profession.