Will Talbot-Davies, Trainee in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, regulation and compliance team.

A ‘try’ at law—how I swapped rugby for Russell-Cooke

Will Talbot-Davies, Trainee in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, regulation and compliance team.
Will Talbot-Davies
3 min Read

Former professional rugby player and first-seat trainee Will Talbot-Davies sheds a light on his journey from the rugby field to embarking on a career as a lawyer. 

In my penultimate year at school I began to think about my plans for the future. I spent some time attending public galleries at local courts and fortunately obtained work experience at two local law firms. I thoroughly enjoyed this brief exposure to the legal world and decided to apply to study law at university. 

However, just a few weeks after completing my UCAS applications, I was offered a professional rugby contract by the Dragons in Wales. This came as a complete surprise and was certainly not something I had considered as a potential career. I realised this was too good an opportunity to turn down so I hit pause on my law degree and chose to dive head first into the world of professional sport!

At the end of my A-levels I moved to Newport and had to adapt quickly to a completely new way of life. I soon realised the fundamental importance of strength and conditioning, as well as recovery, diet, analysis and the consistency required to improve as an athlete. I had an amazing first year and this culminated in me representing Wales U20s in the U20s Six Nations and at the U20s World Cup in Georgia. 

Former professional rugby player, Will Talbot-Davies, playing for Wales 7s vs New Zealand

Balancing rugby and law

Although I loved my introduction to full-time rugby, I always knew it was a short career and I still had ambitions to one day work as a solicitor. I therefore began a law degree at Cardiff University and fell into a routine of rugby training during the day and studying in the evening. Not long after starting university, I was picked to play for Wales 7s on the HSBC World Sevens Series and at the 7s World Cup in San Francisco. This was an amazing opportunity to travel the world, yet it forced me to be disciplined and manage my time effectively as I often found myself writing essays on planes and in hotel rooms just to keep up.

After my experiences of playing for Wales 7s I returned to the Dragons and began to play regularly whilst continuing with my degree. This period was undoubtedly challenging but I also enjoyed the course and found it provided a great outlet to forget about the daily mental and physical strain that rugby can sometimes pose.  After three years of juggling rugby and studying I successfully completed my law degree in the summer of 2020 and went on to sign a new contract with the Dragons. 

Side-lined to studying the SQE

I thought this was now the perfect time to take a year out from studying to focus entirely on rugby. However, this did not quite go according to plan! I suffered a serious knee injury which required surgery and ultimately led me to be side-lined for over a year. This was a difficult time but one that highlighted to me the importance of preparing for ‘life after rugby’. I subsequently began the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) online part-time at the University of Law and made the decision to pursue getting qualified earlier than I had initially planned. 

Why Russell-Cooke?

I came across Russell-Cooke whilst searching for training contract opportunities and was struck by the breadth of seats available, the quality of training as well as the positive and friendly environment cultivated by the firm. I applied for the training contract and following the recruitment process, was fortunate enough to receive an offer. I knew I was ready to enter a new chapter in my life and was confident Russell-Cooke would be the perfect place to embark on this journey; I accepted the offer without hesitation! 

I spent the last year at Coventry RFC having a brilliant time whilst completing the SQE. With this chapter closed, I am now incredibly excited to begin my new career as a trainee solicitor at Russell-Cooke. Hopefully I will be able to transfer a few of the skills I’ve acquired on the rugby pitch to my new role!

Applications for the 2026 Russell-Cooke graduate training contract open on 16 November 2023 and close on 16 February 2024. 

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