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Meet the recruiter

Rachael Driscoll

Rachael Driscoll

Rachael Driscoll (she/her) is the legal talent assistant at Cooley (UK) LLP. She joined the firm in October 2022. 

What has been your most memorable moment in the job?

I’d have to say law fairs! I’ve only recently joined Cooley, but I’ve already attended two fairs. It’s a lot of fun meeting interesting candidates who are so enthusiastic about a career in law. 

Does your firm run a vacation scheme?

Yes – that’s the way we recruit our trainees. We’ll be running one in-person summer programme in 2023. We put a huge amount of effort into and focus energy on this programme so we can select the talent we need for the four to five training contracts we have each year. Typically, we run two back-to-back programmes. This year, the deadline is 15  January 2023.

How important is the vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?

The summer programme is a great way to get to know Cooley as a firm and to build relationships with the lawyers you could be working with in your legal career in future. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and demonstrate the potential Cooley is looking for.

Training and qualifying with us is a commitment for both the candidates and the firm, so it’s important to ensure both candidates and the firm asses that through first-hand experience.

What kind of work can candidates expect to experience during the vacation scheme?

Candidates are expected to get involved with as much of the day-to-day work they’d do as a trainee lawyer as possible. It’s about candidates getting an authentic sense of what it’s actually like to be a trainee.

They may be involved in client calls, attending client meetings, helping take witness statements, assisting with research assignments, attending a court hearing, po-bono work and helping with marketing project work – in addition to professional development sessions! It’s a really varied scheme that that allows participants to find out what it takes to be successful at Cooley.

What key skills does your firm look for in candidates when they apply?

We look at every application in full, focussing on several core skills that go beyond just academic performance.

We look for candidates to demonstrate:

  • motivation;
  • initiative;
  • communication skills;
  • leadership skills;
  • service orientation;
  • work ethic;
  • superior judgement;
  • problem-solving skills;
  • commitment;
  • enthusiasm;
  • team spirit; and
  • professionalism.

We want individuals to be their authentic selves. Diversity of thought and opinion, plus different backgrounds are critical in making the organisation as successful as possible.

How is the firm adopting the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)?

From 2024 onwards, we will be following the SQE route. We’re currently putting our plans in place and will be partnering with a preferred provider to deliver it. Please keep an eye on our updates and LawCareers.Net profile for updates.

How important is diversity and inclusion to your firm?

Cooley wants to ensure that every single person feels welcome and included at the firm. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is embedded into Cooley’s culture and we’re dedicated to building a truly diverse organisation that celebrates differences.

We launched the Cooley UK Diversity Fellowship in 2021 and this is a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights about a career in law at Cooley at an earlier point than they typically might and continue connection and mentoring afterwards. Students who demonstrate a commitment to promoting DE&I are encouraged to apply and successful fellowship recipients are awarded a paid summer programme position, as well as a bursary for their subsequent legal studies.

For more information, please visit the website.

Should candidates use examples of non-legal work experience in their applications?

Yes, most definitely. All work experience is relevant and we’d like candidates to showcase any experience they have in their application. It’s important for us to get an overall understanding of a candidate and we recognise relevant skills can be developed in any number of scenarios.

We understand that obtaining legal work experience can be difficult and is not always accessible. However, it’s important that candidates use their non-legal work experiences to demonstrate those relevant transferable skills.

How important is it for candidates to show they have researched the firm? What key things about your firm should any good candidate be able to talk about?

Researching Cooley is crucial. Candidates should have an idea of our key practice areas, clients and any wider ongoings at the firm. We’re keen to understand why our Firm is one they are considering for their future legal career. While we don’t expect candidates to be experts – we do expect them to know enough about the firm to have made a considered decision to apply.

Does your firm run an assessment centre?

Yes, the assessment centre is a fundamental part of the process to gain a place on our summer programme. Candidates will participate in business case study and potentially go onto interviews with a range of lawyers at the firm. This allows students the chance demonstrate a range of abilities and to find out whether starting and developing a career with us is right for them. We enjoy the opportunity to get to know candidates more, during these processes.

Does your firm attend university law fairs in the autumn term? What is your main objective when you go to a law fair?

Yes, we attend as many law fairs as we possibly can. Being back in person this year, we’ve really enjoyed meeting new people and interacting with them. Fairs are an opportunity for us to answer any queries students may have face-to face.

Our main objective is to get to know the students and for them to get to know us. From explaining the recruitment process and the opportunities we have to offer to genuinely creating a buzz around the firm, law fairs are a great way to meet candidates!

What's your desert island disc?

I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan so I’d have to say her new album Midnights!