Utilities

Katie Whicher

Trainee, Final seat

Why did you decide to become a trainee at Norton Rose Fulbright?

I first came into contact with Norton Rose Fulbright at a law fair. As a non-law student with little idea of what kind of legal work I wanted to do, I was particularly attracted by the focus on industry sectors. Throughout my degree, I had a particular interest in the clean energy sector – and the fact that this was a flagship industry for the firm was a huge attraction for me. In fact, I’m pleased to say I’ve just been offered a place in the environment, safety and planning team when I qualify as an associate.

Can you tell us a bit about your time on the training contract to date?

My experience so far has been quite unusual, actually. After my first two seats – one within project finance and one within environment, safety and planning – I’ve spent most of my second year on two secondments.

The first was a client secondment at QBE Insurance in London, sitting with the corporate insurance team. It was a really valuable experience spending time with an in-house team, approaching deals from a client’s perspective. It gave me an insight into how firms like ours are seen by clients and the sort of advice and service clients expect. It also helped me understand how multi-service firms can be particularly valuable to clients.

And what about your international secondment?

One of the reasons I applied to Norton Rose Fulbright was the firm’s strong emphasis on international work, and the sheer variety of overseas secondment opportunities offered. I was lucky enough to be posted to Athens for my final seat, where I’m completing my core disputes seat in the shipping litigation team.

<span arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"="">The Athens office is also one of the best places in the world to practice shipping law, with the port of Piraeus - one of the largest seaports in the world - minutes from the office. Plus, I’ve been able to go island hopping every weekend. I really can’t praise my experience here enough.

What support have you been getting as a trainee?

I have a partner mentor and trainee buddy, as well as my supervisor and support from the associates in my team. The trainee development team is also always on hand to help. The partner mentor is particularly important – this is an impartial senior colleague who oversees your appraisal and who is on hand if ever you have an issue which you do not want to discuss in your direct team. The support system is a long-standing feature of the training contract and works well.

You’ve now discovered where you’ll go as an associate, but what’s your advice to future trainees in this respect?

If you’re not sure what you want to do, remember that every field of work requires legal advice. You’ll always have the option to shape your career once you have a better feel for what interests you. As a full service firm, Norton Rose Fulbright is an excellent place to do that - you can try a number of sectors to see what you like. If, like me, you know what field you’re interested in, the team will take that into account as much as possible when planning your seats.

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