Name: Harriet Brooker

Firm: Boyes Turner

Position: Trainee solicitor

Degree: Law

University: University of Reading

Hobbies: Film, reading, sport, travel

Current department: Corporate

Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 5/1

Harriet Brooker, Boyes Turner

Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?

I wanted to pursue a career that meant something to me, where I would get out of bed in the morning and look forward to what the day had to offer. To me, this meant a job that fed into my interests and provided me with variety and challenge on a regular basis.

I’ve always had a keen interest in the legal profession and in subjects that provoked debate, especially in a corporate environment. Becoming a solicitor allows me to utilise my skills and pursue my interests, in an environment where change is the only certainty.

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

I found it difficult to communicate my personality on paper. When applying for training contracts, I was well aware that the competition was fierce and my application would be one amongst many others all boasting similar work experience and academics. I realised quickly that it was important to stand out, but it wasn’t always easy to do that on a CV or within the 200 words designated to answering a training contract question.

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

After a group assessment morning, I was asked if I thought I was ‘one of the bigger personalities of the group’ and if so, whether I thought this was a good thing. After a brief moment of sheer internal panic, I decided to stick to my guns and said that I probably was one of the more confident people in the group assessment and I felt that on the whole, this is a positive thing. I was offered the TC so it seems they agreed!

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

The corporate group at Boyes Turner handles a variety of matters, with expertise in M&A, management buy-outs, university spin outs, demergers, reorganisations and company start-ups.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?

I love that no matter your level or experience, you are constantly learning and adapting to keep up with legal or situational changes. I also love the variety and the quality of the work, and the opportunities to work in a range of areas with people from all walks of life.

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

The friendliness of the people at Boyes Turner. I had expected to come up against a strict hierarchy and unapproachable partners, but I was surprised to instead find such welcoming people who are readily available to take the time to invest in you, be that by talking you through a complicated matter or checking in on how you’re getting on over lunch.

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

It’s an email from one of the partners who is currently on holiday, reminding me that they’re enjoying 26 degrees and sunshine while I’m in the office (and it’s raining outside).

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

The ‘little kitchen’ or the printers by Dis Res. Although news travels fast in an open plan office…

Describe your training partner in three words.

Down to Earth.

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

  • I have five tattoos
  • I once auditioned at a county music school and was told I was tone deaf
  • I once had ten cats at one time

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

A vet – working with puppies all day was a close second to working with people.

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

Be sure that a career in law is definitely what you want, because it is a long, competitive road to qualification with lots of obstacles in the way and passion for the career is really important at every stage.

Always try to think ahead and do as much pro bono and networking as possible at school and university to stand out from the crowd.

Finally – enjoy it and don’t be too hard on yourself!