Name: Rebekah Prince
Firm: Taylor Wessing
Position: Trainee solicitor
University: Durham University
Hobbies: Hockey, tennis, reading and running
Current department: Corporate Commercial Projects
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 8/5
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
Various work experience placements showed me that a career as a solicitor was varied, fast paced and challenging – all things that I wanted in a job. Having an interest in business and commercial affairs also fit nicely with working for a city firm.
Finally, the ‘people’ element of the job really appealed – both the relationships built with clients and the team work needed to get the deal done were all things that I felt I’d enjoy.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
At times it was difficult to differentiate the firms and therefore demonstrate why I had applied somewhere because a lot of them say the same thing. I had to go deeper than talking about ‘international offices’ and ‘added commercial value’ and really understand the particular firm (also as a business) working out its direction, values and underlying strategy.
While also providing good interview preparation, this research helped me to apply and focus only on firms where I felt I’d be suited.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
If I could have dinner with a deceased person (resurrected for the food of course), who would it be and why?
After internally questioning why I had applied to the firm in question, I whimpered Winston Churchill.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
As the CCP department is so industry focused, from deals in renewable energy to transactions in the hospitality sector (just to name a few), the variety of work that flows through is what makes this seat so interesting. We’re currently advising on an array of both standard and industry specific commercial agreements.
Despite market jitters, we’re seeing a good level of M&A activity, which demands the ability to project manage effectively as we bring in different teams from across the firm. We are also doing a lot of work in medical technology, an extremely interesting and fast growing sector, working with different tech start-ups.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
The interaction with clients is always great, especially as you build a rapport over time and can enjoy successes and completions with them. Being able to see the fruits of a deal that you’ve worked on in practice is also very satisfying – whether it be a building in London or even a branded lorry taking goods around!
Finally, the team element of the job is something I really enjoy. The sense of comradery and inclusion (despite your junior level) offers great experience and the opportunity to learn from those more senior than you.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t fully appreciate the depth of relationship between client and fee earner. How their business becomes your business, the importance of taking time to build relationships on a personal level (remembering birthdays and other milestones) and the need to ensure you are reading and understanding the market so you can help their business grow and see new opportunities for them.
I have seen the time put aside to commit to this, and the importance of acting cohesively, so client and fee earner are on the same page and working towards the same thing.
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An email from a fellow trainee arranging lunch.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
I’m the worst person to ask but the canteen can be a good place to congregate.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Affable, hard-working and commercial
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
- My dad often gets mistaken for Arthur Weasley (well Mark Williams, the actor who plays Arthur Weasley).
- My uncle was a news anchor for the BBC.
- My mum was a professional pole vaulter who competed in the Commonwealth Games for England.
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
An MP or news presenter
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Don’t get spooked by the idea of ‘commercial awareness’. While a grasp of current affairs is important (especially in sectors/industries where the firm you’re applying to focuses on), take the time to better understand how a business works, raises capital and makes decisions (so the interplay of executive or non-executive directors for example).
This knowledge shows a deeper commercial understanding and interest which is what firms are looking for, rather than the results of a quick scramble on the FT website.