In 1998, I went to Oxford University to study English. At that time, I hadn’t really thought much about what I wanted to do beyond completing my studies. My parents suggested to me I might want to consider law because I’m quite an argumentative person! I applied for a vacation scheme at Herbert Smith Freehills and had a fantastic time, so I signed up for a training contract before completing a conversion course in Guildford and spending a year in Nottingham studying for the LPC. After completing four seats as a trainee, I decided to pursue a litigation career in disputes. Now, I’m a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills – it’s been an incredible experience.

My future focus

DEVELOPING OUR DIGITAL LAW PRACTICE

My focus is on developing our digital law practice. We are already developing smart legal contracts, which include code as well as natural language. We have started automating contractual processes and in the future we’ll be able to improve the performance of our clients’ contracts by making them dynamic. This is the future of commercial law and we will need dynamic lawyers to make it a reality.

A day in the life of Rachel

My difference

One area where I want to make a difference to the firm is in relation to social mobility.

The reason I have built my career at HSF is because I believe it to be a truly inclusive workplace, where I can be myself and put my personality into my work. It is important to me that the firm maintains this culture and becomes a more diverse place.

There are several different aspects to this. One aspect is gender, where the firm continues to drive to meet targets and encourage mentoring and sponsorship to increase the number of women in the partnership at all levels. Another aspect is social mobility. Both of these aspects matter to me personally, because I was lucky enough to have some very good teachers at my state school who pushed me to be ambitious and achieve academically. Not everybody is so lucky, but we want to attract the people with the most potential, from a range of different backgrounds, and to support their development within HSF so that we have a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. As one of the social mobility partners I am current involved in formulating the firm's strategy to ensure that our recruitment and management approaches seek to identify and nurture talent wherever it may be found.

Things I never thought I would know

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