I was initially drawn to RPC's quirky "strikingly real" manifesto and individual brand - it's rare to find a City law firm where you can bring your whole personality to work! RPC has a strong culture and focuses on organic growth. The small trainee intake provides early responsibility, allowing you to work on a variety of high profile commercial and insurance projects, with a view to creating future partners. There are a wide range of seats for trainees to choose from and the opportunity to work for house-hold names.
I obtained a place on the summer vacation scheme, during which I spent two weeks embedded in life at the firm. As a vacation scheme student, you spend one week in an insurance practice and one in a commercial practice. There are a multitude of networking opportunities and social events, giving you the chance to see what it would really be like as an RPC trainee. There are a few assessments during the scheme but these felt relatively informal, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful experience.
My first two seats have both been Insurance based, spending six months in Property & Casualty followed by six months in Construction. During my time in Property & Casualty, I ran my own case under supervision and attended several key client meetings. I really enjoyed working in a small, collegiate environment and received associate-level work. My second seat in Construction has been similarly engaging, with involvement in mediations and the chance to attend a six week trial at the Technology and Construction Court.
The highlight of my training contract so far has been attending a mediation at the International Disputes Resolution Centre. The mediator worked incredibly hard to try and reach a financial settlement, with the mediation lasting 14 hours in total. It was fantastic to watch the dynamic and strategies of the parties and clients evolve throughout the course of the day. I came away with an in-depth understanding of the process and a sense of achievement. There is a real buzz associated with finding a way through a dispute and assisting your clients in obtaining a pre-trial resolution.
I find my job as a trainee solicitor extremely varied – I love working with a different people on several cases at the same time. My tasks range from research notes on obscure points of law to preparing for trial and rushing to beat deadlines - no two days are the same! If ever you are feeling overwhelmed or are unsure about how to approach a piece of work, there are always people on hand to assist. At RPC, we sit in an open-plan office with a non-hierarchical structure. In reality, this means you sit right alongside the partners and senior associates you work for and can reach out for guidance whenever you need it.
RPC has lots of positives, but the upcoming dog friendly day in the office (aptly titled "Canine to five") is amongst the best. The firm is always finding new ways to enhance our office experience and provide a healthy work-life balance. The summers spent around St. Katherine's Docks are also worth mentioning – there's nothing quite like a lunch time stroll or a post-work glass of wine on the docks to relax at the end of a long week.