The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Rachel Beddoe Firm: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld Location: London University: University of Cambridge Undergraduate degree: Law

elements in a restructuring, and you need to keep track of the progress of all of them. As for advice that Rachel wishes that she had been given herself when she was starting out, she would have liked to have known that being a solicitor is very different from studying law. With real clients introduced into the picture, the work is much more dynamic and never exactly fits the case law that you study at university. She no longer spends all of her time with her head in a textbook as her day- to-day practice draws on so many other skills: “It’s so much more than being book smart, you have to be people smart as well, which isn’t always obvious from your law degree when you’re buried in books all the time! It’s the interpersonal elements of the job, which make it so rewarding.” Rachel says that to succeed as a restructuring and insolvency lawyer, it is vital to always have clients’ interests in mind and to “always be a team player, because ultimately you want the best outcome for your clients and the best way to do that it to help your colleagues and get the deal done.” Further, a keen sense of curiosity will get you far: “Question why things are being done and the way that they’re being done.” In terms or researching this area, Rachel suggests that those interested should “do as much reading as you can, restructurings are very public so there is plenty that you can read on them. Talk to people, go to careers events, see if you can get involved in some work experience and research the firm before you apply. Ask as many questions as you can and be curious about everything. There are so many paths that you can take, a law degree opens many doors for you, it’s just a case of working out which ones to push open. To do that you really need to delve in, read around it and see what takes your interest and go from there. Ask for people’s time to find out more, that’s the only way you can work out which way to go.”

is perceived and what people are saying about it.” Another issue partly linked to social media and the way in which businesses are perceived is the emphasis on consensual workouts rather than entering into a formal insolvency process such as administration. While this is not necessarily new to the field, it is true that the effect has been enhanced by social media, especially with high-profile restructurings where it is a challenge to deal with the fact that the news surrounding them will travel fast. Whether that news is accurate or not is a different question. This development is interesting not only from a technical perspective, but is showing a new way that perceptions of transactions can be shaped. While these developments are not always viewed positively in the sector, it is important to be on top of them. Factors such as covid-19 and Brexit have created much uncertainty, which is felt not only by the legal profession but also by the clients involved in restructuring and insolvency processes. However, it is making it an even more exciting and fast-changing field, as rules are constantly changing. Keeping on top of these changes offers a very rewarding career. Working long and hard on major restructuring cases also fosters camaraderie, says Rachel: “It is good to feel part of the team and share in the sense of achievement at the end of a deal.” Emotional intelligence When working out whether this is the sector for you, Rachel says that above all you must have emotional intelligence, as restructuring cases can often be very stressful and you must be able to stay cool and calm in hectic situations. The job is largely client-facing and you have to respond to the individual needs of each client, which can vary from case to case, which is why emotional intuition is key, as well as being a critical and strategic thinker. You need to be organised and a deft project manager because there are usually so many


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