During my final year studying law at university, I was pretty confident that I wanted to be a commercial lawyer but I wasn't sure of exactly what kind of law I wanted to practice so I applied to RPC's summer vacation scheme in an effort to gain insight into a broad range of practices.
I spent two weeks at the firm and having taken part in other vacation schemes, I was really impressed by the level of responsibility given to trainees and the breadth of clients that the firm worked with. Above all, the people were so friendly and approachable. By the end of the scheme, it felt like RPC was more than just a law firm and I could see myself training there.
At the end of the summer scheme, I was offered a Training Contract commencing in September 2017. As I had a year between completing my LPC and starting as a Trainee, I was given the option to start working at the firm before my Training Contract began so I became the Outdoor Clerk. This entailed drafting and filing documents at court, advocating before Masters at the High Court and advising RPC lawyers on court procedure. As RPC is a litigation-heavy law firm, it was a great way to get to know the lawyers in the firm across all of our offices as well as getting a head start on learning about litigation.
I joined the Commercial Disputes department for my first seat as a Trainee and was assigned to a case that was going to trial in January 2018. My main tasks included being responsible for the trial bundle and assisting in the preparation of witness statements and the expert report. It was an incredibly busy time but it taught me lots of valuable trainee skills such as organisation, communication and team work; being part of a team of 10 lawyers working on the case was a fantastic experience. Once the case concluded, I was able to pick up a number of smaller matters including a couple in relation to art deals gone wrong.
My second seat was in the firm's Property & Casualty Insurance team where I had a real mix of work. I worked on a £300m competition litigation claim, which involved regular meetings with clients, drafting several witness statements and managing disclosure of 25,000 documents. I also managed a claim worth £2m concerning property damage following a fire in a listed building and advised our insurer clients on coverage matters, as well as drafted the settlement agreement following mediation attendance.
I'm now in my third seat in the Media team where I work on a wide variety of high-profile cases for national newspapers and online publications, defending actions brought in privacy, defamation and data protection. The work has been incredibly varied and I have taken great pleasure in trawling through the social media feeds of public figures and reading articles on the Daily Mail's showbiz section for legitimate work purposes!
During these three seats, the responsibility I have been given has been absolutely fantastic and at times, I have felt more like a fully-fledged associate rather than a trainee, exactly the perception that I had when I attended the RPC summer scheme. Equally, I have never felt over-burdened or out of my depth. Sitting open-plan and in close proximity to our supervisors means that questions are always welcome and support is there before you even realise that you need it.
Though my supervising Partner and I generally chat all day as we sit nearby each other, all trainees will have formal, quarterly catch ups to take stock of how training has been going. We always set growth targets to ensure we are maximising on development opportunities during our Training Contracts; whether it's getting more drafting experience or gaining more exposure in how RPC develops its business.
As part of an intake of 12, we are a close-knit group who regularly go out together outside of work as well as eating lunch together in the RPC café every day. The firm encourages social gatherings including regular events such as escape rooms, monthly drinks trolleys and fitness classes. You may have seen some of these outings on our #unfiltered trainee-led Instagram @LifeinaLawFirm, which I suggested and had a hand in setting up.
I feel like an integral member of the team at RPC and am really looking forward to seeing what's in store for the rest of my second year of my Training Contract and beyond.