Name: REBECCA WEIR
Department: COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION (SPECIALISING IN CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING DISPUTES)
Degree: CULTURAL STUDIES FOLLOWED BY THE LAW CONVERSION COURSE
University: UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS/UNIVERSITY OF LAW
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I’d always thought about going into law but a lot of people put me off telling me I’d get bored studying it at university, I revisited the idea when I was finishing my undergraduate degree and thinking about what I wanted to do next, I did a bit of shadowing and was hooked.
Why Hay & Kilner LLP?
I’d been down in Leeds for my undergraduate degree and was staying for law school but knew I ultimately wanted to come home to Newcastle so I started looking at Newcastle firms. H&K offered everything I was looking for in a firm, excellent quality work, relaxed atmosphere and people who you actually want to work with.
How are you finding your current seat?
I’ll be qualifying into the department in September so I think that’s a pretty good indication of how much I’m enjoying it!
It’s great to be part of a specialist department like construction, we’re a contentious and non-contentious department so it’s ideal to be able to keep both sets of skills going.
What were your previous seats?
Do you usually get a choice of seat?
I’ve been lucky enough to get my choice of seat at every rotation … I was even fortunate enough to be able to sit in and ultimately qualify into our growing Construction Department.
What makes Hay & Kilner LLP different?
Definitely the relaxed atmosphere, there’s no such thing as a stupid question and I think all the Partner’s are pretty good at remembering what it was like to be a trainee.
Talk us through a typical day in your current seat at Hay & Kilner LLP.
I’m pleased to say I don’t think there is a “typical day”, especially being in litigation! Generally I’ll try and get into the office just after 8ish, make a coffee (very important!) and check through any emails that might have snuck into my inbox since I left the night before.
From then it really depends on what’s happening that week, I could be doing anything from client meetings, running down to court, preparing court documents or writing pieces of advice for clients – it’s a cliché but most days are pretty different.
Depending on what I’ve got on that week I’ll try and leave the office between half 5 and 6 and head to the gym or rugby training to wind down after work.
What’s the best part of your job?
As a competitive litigator (and also from a client satisfaction point of view) it’s definitely getting that all important result for your client. There’s nothing better than knowing all your hard work has paid off and your client’s come out with what they wanted when they instructed you.
Is there much chance to get involved with Business Development at the firm?
Definitely, Trainees, NQs and Junior Associates are part of our Firm Development Group which was set up to help junior fee earners build their own networks and we put on our own events for this. We also get taken a long to BD events with senior fee earners, it’s certainly not a case of keeping the trainees locked in the office!
How much responsibility and client contact do you have as a Trainee?
Obviously this varies from department to department and definitely increases the further into your training contract you get but having spoken to people I went to law school with I’d say we get well above average responsibility and client contact. I’ve currently got a couple of files that are essentially mine to run (with supervision!) and we’re definitely encouraged to attend and even run client meetings as we progress through our training.
If you decided not to become a solicitor, what career would you have chosen?
A fast jet pilot … if someone offered me the chance to do that now I’d probably still take it!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a potential applicant to Hay & Kilner LLP?
Show some enthusiasm, we want people who genuinely want to work with us! Come along to events and get to know us – it’s very important that not only are you the right fit for us but we’re the right fit for you.
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