Attracted by the firm's spirit and entrepreneurial outlook, Stuart Harris is now in his fourth seat as a trainee at RPC
What attracted you to a career in law and RPC?
I've always had an interest in business and found legal questions most interesting when viewed in a commercial context.
A career as a solicitor seemed to offer everything I was looking for: an intellectually challenging role; the chance to work in a collaborative team environment; and the opportunity to get 'under the skin' of different businesses on a daily basis.
At my university law fair, I found the representatives from RPC refreshingly unstuffy. They were approachable and had interesting stories to tell (one was a former RAF pilot). However, it was clear that the firm took its training seriously. I was told to expect client exposure from day one, as trainees frequently handle their own matters. I realised that RPC would be an ideal place to start my legal career.
What did the induction process involve?
The firm organised a large number of pre-joining events. These involved attending RPC's London office for a networking event at Tower Bridge House, followed by dinner or drinks in the City. These events were crucial in getting to know my intake, meeting other lawyers, and staying in the loop with developments at the firm.
By the time my training contract came around I was up-to-speed with the firm, surrounded by plenty of familiar faces, and ready to get started.
Tell us about your training contract...
I spent my first seat in insurance (property and casualty), where I handled a range of disputes, involving claims for damage caused by fires, floods or natural disasters. A month into my training contract I was given the opportunity to go on part-time secondment to one of the firm's clients. This was daunting, but taught me a lot about giving legal advice that is pragmatic and user-friendly.
My second seat was in commercial disputes, where I worked on a range of banking and finance, commercial, regulatory, insolvency and tax disputes. I spent my third seat on secondment to the legal team of an international insurer, where I advised on a variety of commercial, regulatory and litigation matters, often with an international angle. This was fantastic experience working 'at the coalface', where I learned a lot about the operational and strategic tensions of working in-house.
I returned to RPC for my fourth seat in the commercial, technology and outsourcing team, where I will qualify. I have handled a range of commercial contracts matters for global technology companies, household brands, retailers and innovative online businesses, including a secondment to a leading TV and broadband provider. Three client secondments as a trainee must be a record.
What makes RPC an exciting prospect for trainees?
It's a combination of the people and the clients. If you're looking for a firm where you can bring your entire personality to work and you want exposure to great clients from day one, RPC could be the one for you.