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Winning Words: an Interview with Kizzie Fenner

LPC student and aspiring commercial lawyer, Kizzie Fenner won five awards at The University of Law Guildford’s 2016 prize-giving, where top students were commended for their excellent scores and achievements.

Awards included the prize for the highest average mark on the Full-Time LPC, along with:

  • Alasdair Benzie Prize for Business Law
  • DLA Piper Prize for Business and Commercial Law
  • STL Group Prize for Property Law and Practice
  • Charles Russell Speechlys Prize for Commercial Dispute Resolution

Here she shares her advice for studying and gives us an insight into her life as a trainee with top firm Womble Bond Dickinson.

Why Law? I’ve always been interested in law; my undergraduate degree was a law degree. I lived for a while in Brussels and worked on EU legislation. It made me realise that I wanted to get involved in the legislative side and work with businesses on complying with those regulations, so I came back to the UK to do the LPC.

You’re currently doing a training contract with Bond Dickinson. What are you working on? It’s a great opportunity because I’m going to get to work in a whole range of departments while I train. There are so many different facets of commercial law that it’s important to me to try out as many as I can.

It’s actually worked out really well because I’m currently working on regulations that were being drafted when I was in Brussels. So it’s like I’m getting to see the process all the way from the EU parliament constructing the legislation a couple of years ago, right through to it being interpreted and implemented by businesses now.

What’s the secret of your success so far? Mostly it is just working really hard. I’ve never shied away from it and you have to be ready to put the hours in for the LPC.

The University’s tutors were a huge help. They were all so approachable and made it really easy to ask those silly questions you don’t want to ask in front of a whole class. I remember speaking to one tutor after my third week because something wasn’t making sense to me; he said lots of people feel that way a few weeks in, but to stick with it and it’ll all start to fall into place. It did and I’m so glad that I spoke to him. It was just really reassuring and supportive.

What’s next? In the short-term, I’m really excited to start working with clients and getting to understand them. It’s one thing to understand the law; it’s another thing altogether to understand your client and their business. The commercial sector offers great opportunities to dip in and out of different departments. I’ll have to pick a specialty at some point, but right now I’m just looking forward to trying out a variety of things to find out what makes up the full picture of commercial law.

What advice do you have for law students? Stop worrying. That’s what I’d tell myself a year ago if I could. I spent so much time stressing over things and all it did was make me stressed; it didn’t help with my performance, if anything it hindered it. I found that the best remedy for worrying was making sure to have a good support network. Family, friends, tutors, anyone you can rely on to tell you when you’re worrying ridiculously and remind you of why you’re doing the course.

I think the other bit of advice I’d give is to be open and interested. Make sure you talk to others; find out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Even (especially) if you’re sure of the field you want to go into, go to different events just to get a broader understanding of what’s going on. It’s about getting that balance between the nitty-gritty detail and the big picture vision. You need to keep your head down to focus on the finer details, but it’s really important to regularly lift your head up and take a look round at what everyone else is doing too.

And travel. Experience other cultures and world views. It gives you a better perspective of your own life and the society that you’re going to be working in.