In this interview, originally published by Private Client Global Elite, global senior partner Rachael Reynolds shares insights into her career in law so far, the advice she would give to trainees starting out and the trends she sees gaining momentum in private practice, among other areas.
Why did you become a lawyer?
It was a combination of growing up in a house where human rights and miscarriages of justice were regularly discussed and debated, some great work experience as a teenager, and a childhood love of TV courtroom dramas. When I was 16 I did a week's work experience at a local firm and was dispatched to take notes on a crown court trial. I watched as a witness was destroyed in cross-examination, and then I sat with the defendant in the cells as we waited for the jury verdict - I was hooked, and although I have ended up in a very different area of law, that experience planted a love for good advocacy and the drama of the court room - which still gives me goosebumps.
Who had the biggest influence on your career?
I think we are all a product of the influence of the village of people who have invested in us, by sharing their time, experience, and wisdom. There are many who have supported and guided me to where I am now – from teachers and mentors who gave up free time to help me with my goals, to my husband who gives me unconditional emotional support and who helps me keep the plates spinning.
What were your proudest professional moments?
Seeing a change in law come into force arising out a case which I argued which identified a gap in the jurisdiction's arsenal of fraud and asset tracing tools; and being elected senior partner of Ogier - a firm made up of some of the most talented, forward-looking and inspiring people in the industry. It's a true pleasure to be a part of the firm's leadership team at such an exciting time of growth, innovation and success for the firm.
Choreographing the partners dance video for the Ogier Christmas party a couple of years ago was also a career highlight!
What was your worst day at work?
The day of the dress rehearsal of the partners' dance video for the Ogier Christmas party!
Did you have a mentor who supported you in your early career? What was the most valuable thing they taught you?
I have been lucky enough to have mentors at each stage of my journey. There was a teacher at school who encouraged me to apply for Oxford despite that being something the school didn't have much experience of. At the Bar one of the senior members of chambers took me under her wing and taught me to find and use my voice. And I have been fortunate enough to work for people who lived out the integrity, fairness and hard work they taught, and who who helped me to believe in myself when I doubted.
What advice would you give a trainee just starting out?
- Look for a firm with an identifiable vision and lived-out set of values
- Get yourself a mentor and a support network as soon as possible
- Own your own development – find areas that you are passionate about and seek opportunities in that area – don't wait for permission!
- Keep perspective on your work / life balance - some things are in fact more important than work
- Do an act of kindness every day (give a compliment, say "well done", offer a helping hand to someone struggling)
What do you think will be the most significant trend in your firm's practice areas over the next 12 months?
Environmental, social and governance is increasingly on the agenda. A genuine commitment to ESG is increasingly an indicator of progressive, forward-thinking firms that are sustainable in every sense. Our goal at Ogier is for environmental sustainability to permeate our business at every level and I think this is increasingly something that all of us, at any stage of our careers, should be looking for from our employers.
There will inevitably continue to be more insolvency related enquiries arising out of the current financial crisis - and a drive to find more cost-efficient ways to help entities to survive, restructure and recover
What is the most unusual or shocking request you've ever had from a client?
"Couldn't we just shred that?"
What was your top lockdown box-set?
The West Wing (still the best screenwriting of all time) got me through the lockdown and two quarantines.
What do you do when you're not working? Any hobbies?
I have two teenagers on the cusp of flying the nest - so I am making the most of the time we still have them at home.
And on the beach with a book, or on the water, are my happy places - and help me remember why we moved to Cayman (and part of the reason why, despite us promising friends and family we would only be going for a couple of years, we are there 13 years later)
What would you do if you weren't a lawyer?
Not sure I would want to do anything else – but if forced to change direction, maybe learn to skipper a yacht...
Where can you see yourself in ten, fifteen, thirty years?
I hope to be precisely where I am in 15 years - and then after that, I am picturing a pig farm, horses, an orchard and grandkids. My mum looked after my children when I went back to work - and I would love to do that for my children (no pressure kids)