Rachael Potts

Trainee Solicitor - Corporate Technology

"If you have enjoyed being a STEM student for the intellectual challenge, the problem solving aspect, the analytical nature and the need to think logically, a career in law is a great choice."

You can find out more about Rachael’s journey in our Webinar here.

What did you study/where did you go to uni?

I studied Chemistry at the University of Bristol.

When did you join TW?

I joined TW in 2019 as a trainee solicitor after getting my training contract offer in 2017.

Coming from a science degree background what attracted you to a career in law?

I was attracted by the problem-solving element of legal issues, which requires an ability to analyse and evaluate different situations and come up with a logical solution. I was also attracted to the fast-paced nature of the work.

Why did you decide to join TW?

I joined TW because the sector focuses of the firm (life sciences, technology etc.) were aligned with my interests and the firm is an industry leader in these fields. The quality of work and the types clients that the firm deals with are really impressive and combined with the relatively small trainee intake, provides you with the opportunity to have a real impact at the firm and take on a great deal of responsibility. Most importantly for me, everyone at the firm is friendly, approachable and encouraging, which is so important from an enjoyment perspective but also for your development, as the positive atmosphere provides you with all the support you need to be the best lawyer you can!

What was the journey from STEM student to joining the training contract?

After completing my chemistry degree, I took a year out to start applying for training contracts. During this time, I worked at a small construction firm as a paralegal. I then got my offer with TW and went on to study the GDL for one year and the LPC for one year at BPP in London.

What sort of work are you involved in at TW?

The type of work you get involved in is really varied day to day and depends on which team you are sitting with. My first seat in real estate included drafting licenses to make alterations to properties, conducting title investigations and reviewing historic title deeds to piece together the history of the property and writing reports to clients detailing the rights and restrictions over the property they are looking at buying. The types of properties varied from residential buildings to huge, well known hotel complexes.

For my second seat I sat in the patent litigation team. The work here included reviewing scientific papers to understand the field of science that our clients were dealing with, reviewing patents to assess and analyse whether a proposed product would infringe that patent and dealing with experts in the field to get their opinions on how inventive or novel certain medical and pharmaceutical devices were and hence whether a patent could be granted to cover them.

I am now sitting in the corporate technology team, where my day to day work involves drafting corporate documents (board minutes and shareholder resolutions), reviewing documents to check the history of a company and liaising with clients to help them prepare investment documents in the early stages of their start up company. The clients in this department vary from large well-established companies who are looking to merge with or acquire another company and expand their business, to an individual who has a business idea and is looking to get set up in the UK and attract investors to support them. These are just a few examples of the types of work that I have been involved in at TW, but all work in any department gives you the opportunity to take on your own matters, speak directly with clients and have a really good amount of responsibility within the team.

What would you say to other STEM students looking at a career in Law? What advice can you give?

If you have enjoyed being a STEM student for the intellectual challenge, the problem solving aspect, the analytical nature and the need to think logically, a career in law is a great choice as it transfers all of these skills perfectly and enables you to pursue a career that requires you to work in a similar way.

As a STEM student myself, I was always worried that I would struggle to get a training contract because I hadn't studied law, but over 50% of our trainee intake has a non-law degree. The recruitment teams are looking for individuals who can demonstrate logical thinking, enthusiasm and the ability to learn from each task – these are all skills STEM students will naturally have given the nature of STEM subjects.

My advice would be to really understand why you want a career in law and be able to explain that clearly and coherently. It is also key to be able to effectively explain how the skills you have picked up from being a STEM student (analytical, logical, intellectual, problem solving etc) can be directly applied to the work of a lawyer. Being a STEM student does not put you at any disadvantage when trying to pursue a legal career, and in fact it just demonstrates that you have the perfect skill set to become a great lawyer – it is just about learning how to communicate this and staying positive throughout the application process. Good luck!