The Inside Track With: Victoria Weinrich-Cooke | Head of Costs, Associate | MRN Solicitors
- August 28, 2023
Every month we speak to prominent professionals working in, around, and for the legal sector in the UK, uncovering their greatest inspiration, what makes them tick in a work capacity and out, and their own career paths and journey to the top of their game.
Interview with: Victoria Weinrich-Cooke | Head of Costs, Associate | MRN Solicitors
WHAT HAS YOUR MORNING LOOKED LIKE?
Today was a very exciting day actually. After starting as usual at about 6.45am working through emails, planning the week and dealing with case allocations, I drove to work in my scruffs as the whole team were due in for office painting day! We worked out a way that we could take advantage of our being together as a team with an activity that wasn’t work related (even though we kept up with that through the day) whilst in the process, achieving another important benefit – a rejuvenated working environment. I have to say it was a roaring success.
HOW IS BUSINESS AT THE MOMENT?
Business is really good at the moment. The office morale is high as we look to build and strengthen our relationships with each other and our Clients. The firm as a whole has undertaken a review to assess improvements to its internal structure, introducing the Associate hierarchy to encourage staff incentive to achieve. The firm has also restructured its benefits systems to ensure it remains competitive and staff-orientated, listening to the needs of the individual.
At the start of the year I worked on business planning for the office, focussing on efficiency strategies, individual staff development and well-being and targeted local business growth. There are reforms waiting in the wings and I am finding my creative side is really enjoying the opportunity to innovate in these new business areas. I am fortunate to work within a team of very talented and motivated people who offer support and collaboration on new ideas to benefit the business and our Clients.
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN ‘LAW’ AS A CHOSEN CAREER?
In fact, I was a Fine Art major, so not really. In all honesty, I felt the law was out of reach for me but I landed a temporary job in a law firm in Huddersfield as a Records Clerk working in a basement. I guess you could say I literally worked my way up, becoming a Legal Secretary, trainee draftsman and finally a Costs Lawyer.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
There are lots of moments I have been very lucky to experience and am grateful for them all. However, representing a Client in the Supreme Court was a real career high for me. I took a moment over the lunchtime break whilst sitting in the courtroom alone under the coat of arms and had to pinch myself as to how I found myself here from where I had come from. Also, more recently winning the ACL cup and finishing top in my class was something I never imagined I could do.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?
I find inspiration can reveal itself in the strangest of ways. Although very rare, negative experiences have driven me on to think “I bet I could do that job, what do I need to do to achieve it?” I am also very lucky to have a supportive partner in the same legal field who pushes me to achieve more. My family have always been there to cheer me on, especially my parents and my son. I am also very fortunate to work for a great family orientated firm which recognises its employees as individuals and the talent upon which the firm is built. They took a chance on me when the Head of Costs role came up in the Leeds Office which demonstrated a lot of faith in me and I am very thankful for that.
WHAT ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT?
I love crime fiction and have recently worked my way through the Stephen King series leading up to the Outsider tv show. Having completed the “Mercedes” trilogy and have moved on to a stand-alone novel “If it Bleeds” which isn’t quite as gory as it sounds!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE START OF YOUR CAREER IN THE LEGAL SECTOR?
I would remind myself to think without limits. Hard work almost always pays off and not having natural talent or affinity for certain skills doesn’t mean that doors are closed to you. They weren’t to me.
HOW HAS THE LEGAL SECTOR CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS?
In costs it has changed considerably and is set to change yet again. Its a feature of the industry that keeps things so interesting. The increasing prevalence of mediation in the law in general in the last few years prompted me to study this more closely. As a qualified mediator, I am keen to see where this will take us in terms of costs and wider litigation in general. Keeping up to date and dealing with so many new procedures such as the introduction of costs budgeting, costs management, QOCS and various fixed costs regimes provide ample opportunities to work closely with our clients to assist them with new challenges.
OUTSIDE OF WORK, WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?
I love to keep fit and have recently taken up hill walking with my partner. We did 30 miles over 2 days – a tall order but a great experience for us both. I am also getting into yoga and I am a season ticket holder at Sheffield United with my son so looking forward to some premiership football next season.
I also love sketching, painting and spending time with my son who makes me proud every day.
AND FINALLY, YOUR GO-TO PODCAST?
I am rather ashamed to say I haven’t yet caught the podcast bug so I am still a bit of a novice. Always happy to take recommendations!
MRN Solicitors is an award-winning firm, with offices in Manchester, Leeds and London. Providing comprehensive legal costs services for over 20 years, the team at MRN serve clients both nationally and internationally, ranging from Top 10 City firms to smaller single partner practices, covering a wide spectrum of legal issues. Services include: Costs Plans, Costs Budgets (Precedent H), Bills of Costs, Negotiations, Advocacy, Mediation, WIP Valuation, File Audits, and Seminars.