We caught up with Ben to find out how he secured his exciting summer vacation scheme at RPC and how this experience has prepared him for his future training contract with the firm. Ben also shares the unique insights he gained during his vacation scheme, as well as some tops tips for bright members interested in a legal career.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Having studied scientific subjects at A Level, my intention was to pursue a career in dentistry or medicine. However, despite achieving the necessary grades, I decided to pursue a career in commercial law after careful consideration of my skillset and interest in the business world. In furtherance of this goal, I read Law at University College London where I have just recently graduated. Having completed this year’s virtual summer scheme, I am due to commence my training contract with RPC in September 2022. During my year out, I intend to work as a paralegal before studying the LPC. As a state schooled, first generation lawyer with no prior contacts in the industry, I am proof that there is no one particular ‘type’ at City law firms.
What stood out to you about RPC?
During my final year at university, I completed a work placement with the in-house Legal team of a global insurer and long-standing client of RPC. I found the work I was exposed to really interesting and it quickly became apparent how highly regarded RPC is in the insurance industry through their particularly commercial approach to the law. Having undertaken further research, I was also impressed by the quality of work and clients RPC boasts across a broad range of industries and practice areas, with the exciting commercial disputes practice being a particular standout! Finally, I gathered through some of the recruitment campaigns that RPC was a very progressive law firm where people are encouraged to be their authentic selves.
What is the culture like at the firm?
During the summer scheme, I experienced the collegiate and collaborative nature of RPC. Our cohort was incredibly supportive of each other throughout the unusual circumstances brought about by Covid-19 and it never felt as though we were competing against one another. I think this is testament to the personalities that RPC is keen to recruit. The work environment was a very supportive one and my supervisor and I would have regular catch ups where he was happy to answer any questions I had. I felt that people at the firm want to see you succeed and become the best version of yourself. RPC’s culture is also very inclusive, and D&I is not simply a box ticking exercise; there are multiple workstreams spanning issues such as ethnicity, sexuality, mental health and social mobility. There are truly myriad personalities and backgrounds at RPC, where each person is valued as an individual and asked to bring their true selves to the job.
What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?
Making your application highly specific and tailored to each firm would be my number one tip. Think about issues such as the firm’s strength across particular practice areas or industries. Have they been given any awards or rankings which reflect these capabilities? If so, why is this important to you – do you find them particularly interesting or do you perhaps have previous experience in a given area? On the topic of work experience, I appreciate first-hand how difficult it can be to secure but if you are able to do so it will certainly pay dividends. If the typical family or family friend route isn’t an option, don’t be afraid to utilise your network and look to your friends at university and the careers service there, or even extra-curricular activities and societies such as voluntary work. Work experience doesn’t always need to be a formal placement, you can gain a great deal from working on a project that you’re passionate about with a couple of friends, and most often this project will have legal implications or issues.
What was your favourite aspect of your time on the Summer Scheme at RPC?
From a work perspective, I really enjoyed delivering a presentation to my supervisor and another Associate regarding the transition from LIBOR to SONIA. This was an issue that I was particularly interested in and had been following for a number of weeks. It was great to receive such positive and encouraging feedback! On the social side of things, I had a fantastic time during the virtual speed networking event, where we had the opportunity to meet and chat with a number of people across different parts of the firm. The event also helped me to relax slightly before my training contract interview the following day.
What are you most looking forward to about joining the RPC Training Contract in September 2022?
I can’t wait to begin my legal career with such a prestigious and progressive firm and to learn from experts in their respective fields. I think I’m most looking forward to being given high levels of responsibility and getting stuck into challenging and important work from day one, and of course, meeting the rest of the 2022 cohort!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Please don’t hesitate to contact me via the Bright Network site or on LinkedIn. I would be happy to answer any questions about RPC or securing a training contract more generally. Best of luck for the upcoming applications cycle!