#8 Inspire Interview Series – REBECCA KING – Lawyer (Associate at one of the Biggest American Firms in London)

Sorry it’s been a little while since the last Inspire Interview… today’s is completely different to the careers we’ve spoken about before, which is why I love doing this series so much… there are so many amazing people doing cool jobs in all kinds of different industries, and talking to everyone about it is great just for me to be nosey, let alone share with you!

book shelves book stack bookcase books
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I know law is something I get asked about a lot – how do I fit fitness around life as a trainee, for example, so I thought I’d go right to the source and give you a fully qualified lawyer on how she balances all things work, life, workouts and play!

Today’s interview is with the kick ass Rebecca King, who I actually met through our mutual obsession with KOBOX. She very kindly answered some questions on life as a lawyer in one of the biggest US firms in London, and busts some myths about lawyer life, not least that you have to do law at uni  – she did THE COOLEST undergrad degree ever… so without further ado –

B: Can you tell us a little bit about the area of law you work in…

R: I work in Debt Capital Markets on bond issuances (for corporates, banks and sometimes sovereigns).

B: What made you become a lawyer? How did you get there – did you do undergrad law or convert later?

R: To be honest, I just thought I’d be quite good at it! I didn’t study it as an undergrad, as I wasn’t 100% decided and knew I had the option of converting later. I studied a subject I loved but doesn’t have much in the way of traditional job applications outside academia – Archaeology and Anthropology. I focused on Biological Anthropology, the study of how humans evolved – I even met Jane Goodall once when she gave us a primatology lecture. I also took papers in Ancient Egyptian Religion, which I’ve always been fascinated by, although I chose not to make Egyptology my main focus because I’ve never been great at languages. If you think French is hard – try hieroglyphics! (I did. I was crap.)

I combined that with some legal work experience and vacation schemes, and I was offered a training contract with my current firm just before I graduated from Cambridge – they then sponsored me through law school.

B: Can you describe a (working) day in the life of RK?

R: As you know, hours and work can be so varied! Officially our working hours are 9.30 till 6 and recently my department has been relatively quiet so that’s been about when I get in and out. I’m about to head to lunch, and today so far I’ve sorted out some postclosing matters for a deal that closed last week, had a kick-off call for a pro-bono matter, reviewed and updated our internal memo on listing procedures for the London Stock Exchange and attended our department quarterly meeting. A pretty average morning!

B: What advice would you give someone looking to become a lawyer? Any advice you were given en route that was helpful?

R: I’d say that the subject of your undergraduate degree doesn’t really matter but your grades and outside interests really do. If you’re a non-law undergrad like I was, you’ll need to prove you’re serious about law even though you actively chose not to study it for your degree, which can be tricky! Definitely get involved with your university law society early on and attend recruitment fairs and law firm presentations, and apply for vacation schemes or open days as soon as you’re eligible – once you’ve attended one, it’s easier to tick that “genuinely interested” box and be accepted for more.

Also – and I think this is true of any industry, not just law – it’s infinitely better to just submit five job applications that you’ve really thought about and tailored to that particular firm than fire off fifty identical cover letters and CVs. Believe me, these firms receive thousands and thousands of identikit applications and anything they think you’ve copied and pasted will be promptly set aside.

B: What are the biggest misconceptions about being a lawyer that you think are out there? Any myths you want to bust (or confirm!)

R: That all lawyers go to court! My sister is at a different firm that specialises in arbitration, and goes all the time. I’ve never set foot in a courtroom outside of a school trip aged 15. I work on deals, not cases!

B: Best and worst bits of the job? Biggest challenges?

R: I work with some great people! Almost all the lawyers I’ve ever worked with have been really clever, fun and interesting people. There’s definitely a certain drive and perfectionism we all have in common but my department is a great place to be and I met some of my absolute best friends through work.

I think the biggest challenge for me personally is the variability of hours. As I’m in a transactional area, I can have two weeks of past-midnight finishes followed by two weeks where I barely bill any time at all. When your bonuses and performance reviews put a lot of emphasis on whether you hit an hours target, slow weeks can be really demoralising and on the flip side busy weeks can mean cancelling really important plans. People tend to be very understanding but ultimately the client calls the shots, and if there’s work to be done and no one else can do it, you just have to put plans aside.

B: I’ve found that people really stress about training contracts (and I know the numbers are tough!) but personally I found being a trainee waaaaay tougher than the application process… any thoughts on coping with the journey to working in law, since it can be super long, super competitive, and of course isn’t always peachy when you’re on a very late deal…?

R: Personally, it’s easy for me to finish a tough week and just flop on the sofa for six hours straight on Saturday and binge watch a show because I’m tired. If you’re like me – my advice is to try not to do that too often, as I’ll then get to Sunday evening and feel like the weekend was wasted. I always try and spend some time with friends, do a workout class, book an event or, if I am sitting in front of the TV, I’ll work on one of my costume projects at the same time – it’s a creative outlet and making something gives me a sense of achievement, even if I did it while watching Netflix! It’s different for everyone but basically my advice is – if you don’t have much time off, really make sure that the time you get to yourself you’re putting towards something or someone you love, rather than just spinning wheels waiting for the next work email to come in or Monday to start.

B: How do you relax and wind down outside of work, and look after yourself generally? Anything that particularly helps you stay balanced?

R: I have a lot of hobbies and interests, and making time for those is really important to me. I love reading – history, true crime (I stayed up till two last night reading the Ted Bundy biography “The Stranger Beside Me” and barely slept a wink!), trashy regency romance novels, fantasy and sci-fi. I’m also listening to podcasts at the moment on my commute – my favourites include “You Must Remember This” (on the forgotten scandals of Hollywood), “My Favourite Murder” and “The Soundtrack Show” (which analyses film soundtracks). TV-wise I love Westworld, Game of Thrones and anything David Attenborough.

I’m also a huge Star Wars geek and in the last couple of years have got into cosplay, so I love researching and making props and costumes in my spare time and attending comic conventions, and I even take lessons in lightsaber fighting! It’s basically a fusion of kung fu and tai chi, except instead of wooden practice swords we use plastic ones that light up. Other sports and activities I love are Kobox (obviously!), skiing, diving, yoga, pilates, hiking and golf. Some weeks I’m busier than others, but for me balance is when I’m happily busy at work but with time for my interests and seeing friends and family.

B: Best and worst career advice you’ve ever been given?

R: Best: people don’t dwell nearly as much on the criticism they give you as you do. I think particularly in law, we’re such perfectionists that any negative feedback can really knock us. Take it, learn from it and try and move on – because the chances are that the person who said it hasn’t thought about it since they did!

Worst: “You can’t wear dangly earrings to work!!” My mum was an incredibly badass accountant-turned-banker in the 80’s when the City really WAS a man’s world, and any sign of femininity was seen as distracting or a weakness – this classic quote was from my first day at work when I was going to wear drop earrings. I don’t think she realised when I started my TC in 2015 how much the world, and corporate dress code in particular, has changed from “her day”. The fact our firm has casual Fridays continues to amaze her, as does the fact I never wear suits (stretchy jersey dresses for the win!)

B: Do you feel like workouts impact how productive you are at work?

R: 100%. I always try to work out in the mornings. It wakes you up, it gets your metabolism going, it clears your head, and ultimately I think it’s great to start the day with a bit of me-time – whether it’s yoga, running or, in my case, punching the hell out of something heavy to some really loud music.

B: If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be and why?

I honestly don’t know! I always have loved writing and secretly wanted to be a novelist, but I realised early on I wasn’t suited temperament-wise to such a solitary and unpredictable job. I also occasionally daydream of being a guide at a safari camp! Spending all day in the bush and then the evening round the fire with a glass of Amarula listening to the sounds of the wild and chatting to guests from all over the world sounds pretty fun to me. Having said that, I’d probably make it about three weeks without internet access before hotfooting it back to London.

B: Any role models career-wise (whether in law or not)?

R: My mum! She was the first in her family to go to university and then trained as an accountant as one of five women in a class of over 100. She then went into banking and made way more money than my dad for the first 10-15 years of their marriage (which was very unusual then). She ended up giving up work completely to look after me and my sister about the time I started school, but my parents were married for 10 years before they had kids, so she fit in a pretty incredible career before deciding to make that change. People are always shocked to find out my parents’ house is in her name! She’s incredibly driven and hard-working and is an example I try (and fail, a lot of the time!) to live up to.

B: Fave restaurant in City – any great places to take clients you’d recommend people?

R: I go to the Ned a lot and really like their restaurants, but if I’m not eating there I’ll usually head back towards Chelsea to have dinner. Mossimann’s, which is a dining club set in a gorgeous converted church in Belgravia, is the ultimate favourite – unfortunately I can’t go without my dad, as he’s the member, but I always beg to go there on my birthday! I love Rabbit, on the King’s Road, which does incredible seasonal British food tapas-style, and nearly died of happiness when they opened a Sticks ‘n’ Sushi less than two minutes walk from me!

B: And finally, what does ‘success’ mean to you?

It’s kind of abstract but that little fist-pump moment you get when you’ve absolutely nailed something. Whether it’s at work or not, the aim for me is for life to have more fist-pump moments than “d’oh” or “loo cry” moments.

**Quickfire Round**

Fave KOBOX combo – I know you go a lot 😉

Uppercuts. When I hit the bag hard enough that it jumps up, it makes me feel like Captain Marvel.

Pancakes or full english?

Full English for sure, I’m a savoury girl!

Burpee or bear crawl?

Oh Christ. Is Miranda reading this? Bear crawl! Definitely bear crawl!

Nature or nurture?

You can’t ask a former anthropology student that question, she’ll spend three weeks agonizing and then give you a 12-page essay that doesn’t even answer it! Like any true-crime aficionado, I’d probably say mostly nurture. But as a cat owner, nature certainly can’t be discounted.

Martini or cosmopolitan?

Martini – I like a citrusy, dry one with a grapefruit twist. But I’d choose a good margarita over either!

Talent or hustle?

Hustle.

Fave latin phrase from law-school?

In vino veritas – definitely learned during law school, although not actually during lectures…

Chocolate or cheese?

CHEESE.

Louboutin or Jimmy Choo?

Louboutin, as long as I’m not walking far.

Fave legal drama?

Does Judge Judy count?! Funnily enough for a lawyer I’ve never watched Suits or The Good Wife or anything like that. But my mum always has Judge Judy on somewhere in our house so I have a soft spot for her.

You have to hug, marry and water-balloon 3 kobox instructors – which ones do you choose?! 

Marry Miranda, obviously. Hug Joe or Jesse. Water-balloon Jacob (This is 100% revenge and I reserve the right to revise this when he’s back on the timetable permanently!)

Fave movie?

Hot Fuzz!

It’s your last EVER meal of your life. What do you go for?

Christmas lunch followed by my mum’s EXTREMELY boozy raspberry trifle! With wine. Lots of wine.

Hope that was a useful insight into lawyer life – Bekky is definitely the coolest lawyer I know. Catch her at KOBOX in City most weekdays 😉

B xoxo

 

Advertisements

My daily routine – how fitness, full-time work & life can co-exist

person holding white ceramic teapot on white wooden surface
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

These posts are always a bit strange I guess – my fiancé laughs at them because he’s like ‘who cares about your daily routine?’ He’s kind of not wrong… does anyone care?! Possibly not.

But I kind of do – I love reading them. I guess I’m just nosey – and it’s an easy way to understand how people who seem like they’re always at the gym or always at work or whatever actually do with their time in reality. Fair enough if you’re not interested in the boringness of my daily routine – dial out now!

Sometimes I’m asked how I find the time to read, or workout, and the reality is everyone prioritises things they want to or have to I guess. I don’t go out a lot, and my job and fitness commitments mean I don’t go out in evenings during the week… so it’s just each to their own! Whatever makes you happy. This post should give you an idea.

Side note – I also don’t really believe in work-life ‘balance’; everything you do is part of your life… you just need to build and tweak and make sure you’re healthy and happy with how you’re spending the majority of your days. I moved from marketing to law to get more out of my career, so work is important to me.

Anyway, here’s my daily routine – as standardised as possible, with indications of how it can vary! NB: This is assuming work is fairly normal and nothing big is kicking off. If work hours go longer in the evenings, I make sure I’m doing my workouts every morning instead of the chill time at home – you’ll get an idea as you read.

PS. It should go without saying but nothing in this post is sponsored, it’s all just my preferences!

6.15am

First alarm goes off. I DEFINITELY SNOOZE IT. It goes off every 2 minutes or something like that. I’m not a morning person but now I’m nearer 30 than 25 it is getting a bit easier! Fractionally.

6.35am

I just have to snooze past 6.30 but finally get up. Sometimes I pop on activewear and head straight to city for KOBOX or to the gym near work (if work hours are longer in the evenings I switch all my workouts to these morning ones), but hours are good right now, so often I just do 15 minutes of yoga in my PJs or an ab or Tone it Up or Kayla home workout.

6.55am

So at this point I either finish my yoga or home workout and have a quick shower, with a cold blast as although I hate a cold shower, it does seem to boost my mood and has alleged benefits – Max Lowery is a big advocate!

Alternatively, I’m walking 15 minutes to a further tube station to head to my morning gym workout or KOBOX class during this time!

7.05am

If I’m still at home, I do a 10 minute facial. This is a relatively new skincare routine and twice daily ritual for me – part of my new skincare obsession. I cleanse [my current one is Pretty Athletic Purifying Gel Cleanser], massage, and do face yoga. Every other day, I then also do a facial massage with some Rituals Pure Face Oil. It sounds like a faff and indulgent, but I love this little me-time ritual – it makes me feel pretty great and I do it instead of makeup.

At the moment I go barefaced to the office. Sometimes with a slick of lip colour if I fancy (usually a nude, pink or coral for day but red is my favourite, though less work-appropriate – sometimes I rock it anyway though!) Occasionally if I’m feeling very ‘ugh’ I’ll pop on some under-eye concealer but I try to go naked-face as much as possible! My skin feels soooo much nicer this way.

7.20-8.00am

So I’m either still travelling to City if it’s a morning KOBOX day as I mentioned, or if at home I make breakfast – these days, a green smoothie is my favourite, or a smoothie bowl… In colder months, I go for oats microwaved with water, and berries. Its unusual for me to make eggs on a weekday but occasionally eggs, tomato and spinach scramble might occur!

I eat this and drink my coffee (we have a really useful Nespresso machine that changed my life!), read a magazine… Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair or Elle are all my staples! I know some people hate magazines, but I find them really relaxing and I even love the artistic ads in Vogue. I’m obsessed with art and language and the idea of transformation… and I love a celeb interview here and there. And so I read these while I eat and make the most of my me-time, pretty much! (Boy will already have left for the gym at like 6.15am!)

I leave the house at 8 sharp and do the 15 minute walk to a further tube station for some LISS, listening to my fave podcasts Talking Tastebuds and The High Low.

8.15am

I arrive at the tube, and duck underground to travel to work. Often I get a seat, but if not I know I’ll get one when everyone heads off at Oxford Circus. This is where I do my reading – on the train at the beginning and end of each day. Join me with my book club here.

Alternatively, if I left for a morning workout, this is when my KOBOX class starts! I have to get up too early (5.30!) to make it to the 7.15 so I do the 8.15 and skip the cool-down to rush to work instead.

9.00am

I’m either about to skip the KOBOX cool down and shower and run to work (picking up a KOBOX shake for breakfast en route!) or I’m already at my desk with a coffee picked up from Nude or Rapha or The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs… yes, I like my snob coffee as well as being a bit of a health w*nker!

I don’t start work til 9.30 technically but I like half an hour or more to get started slowly, chat to colleagues, browse the Financial Times, plan my day and get into a good headspace. If I’ve KOBOXed I tend to rush in at 9.20… it always stresses me out though! Usually I’m in by 8.50am.

I always fill my 1 litre Kayla Itsines water bottle (I didn’t buy it, I got it free at one of her meet-ups years ago!) and make sure I’ve drunk this by lunch time! I get through about 3 of these a day. It lives on my desk and I’m constantly sipping and re-filling.

9.30am

Work starts, but I’m already working and sipping my water and coffee and chiiiill 🙂

10.45am

This is a guess time-wise but I get up to make a green tea every morning at some point! Otherwise I’ma justa workin’.

12.30am

I used to pop for lunch upstairs with friends & colleagues but I actually prefer to get outside the office for a walk now – either eating my pre-prepped lunchbox quickly at my desk or nipping to Vitamojo for a quick lunch grab, then getting in a 20 minute walk outside at the moment if I’m honest… I recharge best this way and it feels like more of a ‘break’. I often wander over to Planet Organic and grab a green smoothie if I’ve had a small lunch, or pick up a kombucha for an afternoon ‘snack’.

1.00pm

Often I meet a friend and colleague on my way back to work to grab our afternoon coffee (from the places I mentioned earlier) to take back to the desk! Mine is always a black Americano or black filter – I have a MAJOR milk phobia!

1.05-1.10pm

Back at the desk… more water bottle re-filling and drinking will happen all afternoon – I actually love water. Weird, huh?

4pm

I’m not a big snacker but if I’m feeling hangry, my go to is either a handful of blueberries and about 8 almonds, an apple and some nut butter (current obsession: Pip and Nut chocolate coconut hazelnut butter – this one (it’s a limited edition so I’m stocking up now!) or if I didn’t bring any in, then I grab an Innocent Gorgeous Greens Smoothie from upstairs in the café.

7.00pm

Work hours vary – usually at the time of writing this, in the department I’m in, they’re good and I’m able to leave at this time, but with my industry (law) this is likely to change when my training contract seats rotate. If I am working late, I go upstairs and get dinner and take a taxi home later if it’s super late (our catering is amazing – often I have really nice fish, quinoa and greens!) but at the moment I often get to leave at this time… yay!

If I didn’t KOBOX in the morning, I’ll pop to the gym for 45 mins before I go home. All of my workouts tend to be under an hour. I feel like you don’t ever really need to go over 60 minutes… and who has the time?!

8.00pm

Leave the gym and commute, and read. (or if I did KOBOX earlier, then I’ll be back in West London after 45 mins commuting and reading, hitting my local Sainsbury’s for fresh veg and lean protein – we’re so lazy we don’t weekly shop at the weekend so whoever finishes work first – usually me, not the Boy! – picks up and makes dinner).

9.00pm

Back in West London now, I’ll do the Sainsbury’s run and cook dinner if I’ve beaten the Boy back (whoever gets back first must chef, tis the rule!) or if I’d done KOBOX in the morning, I’ll have made it home for 8.15pm, so I have more time unwinding with food and Netflix, either with the Boy or waiting for him to arrive.

Our meals take 20 mins max to cook – I’m an expert at clean, green, quick food from lots of experimentation, if I do say so myself! To help, our carbs are usually sweet potato or microwavable brown rice or packs of quinoa so they’re very fast to make. Lean protein is often smoked salmon or trout or prawns (no cook required!) or chicken or turkey (20 mins in our super hot fan oven). Simples.

I tend to make extra dinner and pop it in Tupperware for lunch the next day maybe 2 days a week. The rest I tend to buy lunch. I throw almonds and berries in Tupperware or apple and nut butter ready for the next day’s snack, too, if I remember.

9.45pm

Most days at the moment, if Boy’s hours are good too, we’ll have eaten or be eating by this point and watching Netflix together…

10.30pm

I start my evening facial described above (and see my Top 5 Skincare Secrets here) and clean my teeth, lay out my gym kit and try to find clean clothes for work the next day, and jump into bed by 10.45pm for a 10 minute meditation using the Happy Not Perfect app, or something from youtube or Tone it Up’s app.

10.55pm

Lights out. We always aim for this to be 10.30 but it never is!

***

Obviously because of our jobs, and the fact we both like working out, that occupies most of our weekdays! We spend most time together at weekends doing fun stuff.

Neither of us are super social as this routine indicates – timings vary but this is basically the template for my 5 working days a week – so this works really well haha… but I know some people would want to go out and do more on weekday evenings, so it’s a question of what works for you!

Hope that helps answer how I find time to workout and read and meal prep and things! 🙂 In truth, my hours at work are good at the moment, so being home by 8.15pm if I’ve done an early workout class, or 9pm ish post evening workout in the evening makes it a lot easier!

What’s your routine like? Any tips I can steal? Would mine work for you? Let me know what you think! ❤

B xoxo

Fit Lawyers Unite: Get this limited edition (for 1 month only)

oie_zMjy5GcwzwEXJust a little thank you to all the amazing professionals I’ve connected with via Instagram, whether you’re studying or working… and since you all loved the meme so much on Instagram, I got Bruiser to sniff out and Elle to approve a cheeky brunch or post-workout snuggly bargain…

As of TODAY you can shop this brand new limited edition sweater! Shop now.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 12.43.46

You have 28 days from today to get your hands on one ❤

xoxo