Esther Roberts, Trainee in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, real estate, planning and construction team.

Gaining ground in real estate construction—reflections from a first-seat trainee

Esther Roberts, Trainee in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, real estate, planning and construction team.
Esther Roberts
2 min Read

First-seat trainee Esther Roberts reflects on her first few weeks at Russell-Cooke.

From undergraduate to trainee solicitor

Although more than two years had passed between receiving my training contract offer as a second-year undergraduate and stepping into the office on my first day, I couldn’t help but feel utterly unprepared. 

My first week consisted of meeting my fellow trainee cohort, extensive training, and getting acquainted with the team I’ll be working with for the next six months, while going for occasional lunches and after-work drinks.

It may sound clichéd, but I am delighted at just how warm and friendly everyone is. The teams have made me feel extremely welcome and I am constantly reassured that no question is too silly which is a relief!

Stepping into real estate construction

My first seat is in real estate construction, meaning I gain exposure to both the construction and real estate teams. While this provides a valuable opportunity, it highlights my limited knowledge in these areas of law.  

I’ve only previously covered real estate law briefly during my LPC real estate module, and my understanding of construction law is quite minimal. Despite this, this seat seems to be an excellent first experience. Not only do I get to sit in a smaller team of construction lawyers who have already given valuable training in their area, but I also sit alongside Russell-Cooke’s large real estate team and get involved in their work too.  

As I move into my second and third week, I have gained exposure to a huge range of tasks. This has included sitting in on meetings with clients from building contractors to ultra-high net worth individuals. I’ve also researched points of law for partners, drafted and sent an undertaking for costs, and registered titles with the Land Registry. 

It’s still all new to me yet the daily opportunities I encounter are gradually chipping away at the sense of unpreparedness I felt on my first day. I am now in week three, and I have truly enjoyed my start as a first-seat trainee at Russell-Cooke and am looking forward to what the next few months in real estate construction will bring. 

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

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