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How the Norton Rose Fulbright energy law LLM scholarship is helping to take a young lawyer’s career to the next level

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Legal Cheek Careers meets Rodica Procop, a student at Queen Mary University of London’s energy and natural resources law institute

Two years ago global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright announced a tie-up with Queen Mary University of London that saw the firm agree to cover the cost of two students’ fees for a prestigious energy law masters course.

Legal Cheek Careers caught up with Rodica Procop, one of the first recipients of the award, to hear about how she secured it and her plans for using the qualification to develop her career.

Legal Cheek Careers: How did you obtain the scholarship, and what advice would you give to students applying for it this year?

Rodica Procop: I think the opportunity presented itself based on my energy background and focus. For the main part of my career I focused on the energy & natural resources field, in mergers & acquisitions, related regulatory matters, finance and capital markets issues, environmental and privatisation aspects, just to name a few.

Following the thorough application and interview I went through, I would recommend applicants to be acquainted with the industry’s latest news and developments. The LLM itself requires keeping up to date with such important information. The scholarships offered by Norton Rose Fulbright in partnership with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) are great opportunities to building careers in the energy law sector and I think the applicants’ future dedication for this field should be evident. This means that not only seasoned advisers should be tempted to apply, but also young lawyers at the start of their career with a desire to focus on this exciting and distinct field.

What interests you most about energy law — and why are you drawn to this area?

I think my propensity for the energy field was brought on by the fact that it is an ever-changing one, requiring adaptability and creativity. For example, it has been growing steadily in Romania, especially in view of the recent discoveries of natural gas fields located on the continental shelf of the Black Sea. Also, new technological as well as geological discoveries make it an attractive field for future investments and particularly foreign players, which could change and shape the development of a country. These advancements require new and adapted legislation that requires specialists in this area. It is also worth noting that there are very few lawyers specialised in energy regulation in my home country.

How do you think the LLM will help you stand out from the crowd?

The insight I gained thus far here at Queen Mary gave me a different, more practical perspective with which to tackle future professional challenges in this area. Besides benefiting from the advantage of studying at one of the most renowned universities, the impressive professional background of the lecturers and guest speakers reflected in our class discussions, presentations and debates. This readily provided us with key information that we would have otherwise accessed in maybe years of practice. I think this formative flow of information is one of the benefits of undertaking this year of study, preparing me for the coming challenges in any legal system as it relates to oil and gas, renewable and nuclear energy, regulation and many others.

What are you looking to get out of your vac scheme at Norton Rose Fulbright?

After meeting with Neil Miller, the litigation partner in the energy practice at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, as well as with Holly Stebbing, a senior associate in the same team, I saw not only that I will be interacting with some of the most experienced professionals in the field, working on major projects that would be the pride of any passionate lawyer, but also with a team with a distinct openness and that enjoys its work. I am eager to start my two week internship and delve into the day to day activity of one of the most reputable law firms.

What are your future career plans?

I feel that this experience will not only enable me to make a significant professional contribution during my time in the United Kingdom and when I return home from the course, but will also set the first stone in a future career in the regulation of this sector. Working as an energy lawyer for the past five years has brought me close to this field that I only intend to support and develop. I am certain that with the upcoming of new technologies in a country historically focused mainly on oil and gas new opportunities and challenges will arise and I intend to be prepared to tackle them.

Find out more about the Norton Rose Fulbright energy law LLM scholarship

Queen Mary University of London’s LLM in Energy & Natural Resources Law has been ranked in the Top-10 Energy Law LLMs worldwide in 2017. Find out more here.

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