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Viberts bursary student interview: Rebecca De Freitas

First published in Skills Jersey Direction Magazine 2021/2022 issue

Trainee English Solicitor, Rebecca De Freitas talks about her career in the legal profession and her progression with Viberts.

What did you want to be when you were 8?
I was absolutely certain I wanted to be a dancer for the majority of my early life – law was not a consideration until much later on!

What is your favourite way to relax?
We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, I love taking my paddleboard down to the beach after a long day or at the weekend and spending some time out at sea.

What’s the best bit of Jersey?
It is so difficult to pick just one bit, but the beaches are second to none. The hidden gems like Beauport are unbeatable.

What is your favourite restaurant?
It has to be El Tico in the summer.

What is your favourite item and why?
Most definitely my coffee machine – I would not make it through the day without caffeine!

What does a typical working day involve for you?
I am currently doing the first seat of my Training Contract in the firm’s Personal Law Department. The work is extremely varied and a typical day could range from drafting Wills for Jersey and offshore clients, assisting with probate applications and administering both Jersey and foreign-domicile estates, advising and assisting with capacity matters and Lasting Powers of Attorney and preparing applications to the Jersey Court to register Wills and Deed Poll applications – it is a really interesting practice area.

How did you get your job?
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was leaving school and my history teacher, at the time, recommended looking into Law. I decided to take a gap year and applied to work in different Law Firms in Jersey to see if I could see myself having a career in Law in the future. I had an interview with Viberts, absolutely loved the feel of the firm and accepted a job offer as a legal assistant in the Personal Law department. I subsequently became a bursary student with the firm, which meant that they supported me through my legal studies (my law degree, the Legal Practice Course and my Masters) in the UK. I then re-joined the firm full time after the completion of my studies in August 2020. It has been a brilliant five years with Viberts.

What motivates you in this role?
Definitely the people – it is so rewarding doing such great work for our clients and seeing the positive impact it has on what is usually a really difficult time in their lives.

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role?
Law is a career where you are constantly learning and looking to better your skillset. I am currently undertaking my period of recognised training to become an English Solicitor and I would one day hope to go on to do my Jersey Law exams to qualify as an Advocate.

What are the three most important skills required for your role?
It is difficult to narrow it down to just three as there are so many important skills required for my role. The first would definitely be communication – whether that be with my clients or my colleagues, clear and effective communication is key in delivering the best job possible. I would then say that empathy is essential – often when we are meeting with clients they are going through a difficult period of loss or considering their wishes for the end of their lives. These are often tough conversations to have and it is so important to understand and appreciate the thoughts and feelings that surround these discussions. Finally, team working skills are key in this and all other practice areas. I am so lucky to work with such brilliant colleagues. We bounce our ideas off each other all the time and collaborate on matters to ensure that we are getting the best possible outcome for our clients.

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession?
Work hard, make the most of any opportunities to learn new skills and keep an open mind about where you want to end up. Each practice area within the profession offers such a different range of experiences and chances to work with and for such a diverse range of people. If you are willing to put in the work, a career in Law can be an extremely rewarding and exciting one.

Tell us a fun fact
I used to captain the women’s dodgeball team at university!

The Viberts bursary scheme is now open to applicants. Click here to find out more and apply.

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