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Employee profile

Sarah Herniman

I was initially drawn to RPC's "Strikingly Real" marketing campaign whilst researching law firms. I thought their message that lawyers are encouraged to bring their "whole self" to work was really refreshing and convinced me to apply.

I then attended RPC's Summer Vacation Scheme in 2018. I spent two weeks at the firm, one week working with the insurance side of the firm and one week with the commercial side. During the scheme I was given real work and real responsibility; I attended court, assisted with the preparation of court documents and wrote a blog post on the intellectual property rights of footballers who were playing in the 2018 World Cup (a topical issue at the time!). I was particularly impressed by RPC's culture, the type of work they do and their client base. Outside of work, there was also plenty of opportunities to network and socialise. We played mini-golf and went out for dinner and chatting to trainees and associates in a more relaxed environment really gave me a chance to see what life is like as an RPC trainee. At the end of the scheme there was an interview which focused on my experience on the scheme and what I had learnt. After the interview, I was delighted to accept a training contract with the firm.

As part of the training contract RPC trainees do four six month "seats" in different departments across the firm. Before we were "set loose" on the floors we participated in a two-week training programme to prepare us for our training contract.

My first seat was in Commercial and Banking Litigation, which is part of our wider Commercial Disputes practice. I worked on a long-running high-profile dispute which gave me a fantastic insight into litigation. I was involved in a variety of work: I drafted letters, prepared court documents and attended court hearings.  

For my second seat I am working in the Professional and Financial Risks team, which is part of RPC's insurance practice. In this team I have predominantly worked on professional negligence cases, representing lawyers who are being sued by their former clients. This work is really interesting due to the diversity of the types of claims; one claim may be related to a real estate transaction and the next claim to a divorce. This seat has built on and developed the litigation experience I gained in my first seat.  

The highlight of my training contract so far has been attending court hearings. It has been fascinating to watch advocates present their clients' cases and seek to get the best outcome.  Also, I have observed how we have had to adapt our client's strategy as the arguments develop throughout the course of the hearing. These experiences have been particularly exciting as I have prepared the court bundles for the hearings. Therefore, I have been able to see the direct outcome of my work and have had high levels of responsibility. 

Training at RPC is a really positive experience. We have a small trainee cohort and are very social. We have lunch together every day and often go out for drinks after work. RPC has a very supportive culture, there is always someone on hand to ask a question! When we were working in the office this was supported by the open plan office, however now that we are working from home this has continued and I always feel comfortable calling my supervisors to ask questions. Supervisors at RPC are also very good at giving full and thorough feedback, which is a great way to learn and improve as you move through your training contract.