Name: Rebecca Cox
Position: Trainee solicitor
Degree: Law (Hons) LLB; International Law LLM
University: University of Aberdeen; University of Glasgow
Hobbies: Running, cycling and baking
Current department: Energy, Resources and Transport
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 11/4
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to study law and become a lawyer. As a child I loved order. I could never play a game without ensuring everyone played by the rules. At school the subjects I enjoyed most were those that incorporated elements of law and politics. I attended a career fair where I spoke to a number of lawyers, and my mind was made up. For the remainder of my schooling I focused on getting into university to study law.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Competition for training places is extremely high. The majority of students will come out of university with similar academic grades, thus you need to ensure you stand out from the crowd. I undertook a number of extracurricular activities at school and university to add to my skillset.
These included voluntary work, participating and taking leadership roles in various sports clubs and undertaking academic tutoring at Aberdeen University. I felt this helped differentiate myself from others seeking the same training opportunities.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I was asked in one interview how I would invest £1m and how I would ensure I made a good return on the investment. This particular interview was post-financial crisis as businesses were starting to recover. These types of questions aim to test your commercial awareness which can be difficult if you have not had a great deal of experience in the commercial world.
I cannot remember exactly how I answered the question (it is always the question you remember; not the answer given) but, I recall it related to investing in renewable energy sources and real estate.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
I currently work in energy resources and transport where a large proportion of our work involves advising on renewable energy projects including wind, hydro and solar (I wish I had that £1m investment now!). We normally act for the developers in these transactions and deal with the real estate and commercial aspects of their projects. We also advise on the creation of servitudes and access rights for renewable projects as well as other energy projects such as electricity transmission.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The most enjoyable aspect of my job is the completion of a matter. There is a great feeling of satisfaction once a matter has concluded and the client is happy with the outcome. You feel a real sense of achievement when the client appreciates all your efforts and that makes all your hard work worthwhile.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I did not expect that I would be involved and encouraged to undertake business development this early in my career. In the past year I have attended an array of events including conferences, seminars, gin tastings, quizzes and ceilidhs to name a few! Our firm has a business development group called the MacRoberts Network where the junior fee earners attend presentations and workshops to improve our individual business development skills and discuss our experiences with our peers and mentors.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
My most recent email is from one of the partners I work for providing me with instruction to review the terms of a lease for one of our clients.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
The lunch room! Between the trainees and the secretaries you are bound to get some gossip!
Describe your training partner in three words.
Astute, patient, helpful
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- I have a black belt in karate
- My favourite novel is Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
- I love Mexican food
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
I would probably have studied journalism. I always wanted to be a Blue Peter presenter!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Make sure you pursue a number of extracurricular activities (this will all add to your CV and set you aside from other candidates) and try and get some work experience.
This work experience does not necessarily have to be related to law – experience working in retail or hospitality will give you other skills in time management, efficiency and team work which are essential skills in the job!