A big attraction to the field of insolvency was that it is an industry that develops your knowledge of law, accounting, finance and business management. Being someone who wanted to work within law in a more corporate and commercially inclined setting appealed to me.
More about Ben
Ben studied LLB (Hons) Business Law and LLM Corporate and Insolvency Law, graduating in 2016 (LLB) and 2017 (LLM) respectively. He is a Senior Insolvency Executive and explains what it is like to work within the field of corporate and personal insolvency and his experience of studying at NTU.
Why did you choose to study at NTU?
I hadn’t done any research on, or made a visit to, NTU prior to applying for the LLB (Hons) Business Law degree – I applied solely based on the description of the course. I knew I wanted to study law at university but had more of an interest in the corporate and commercial side, as opposed to criminal or civil, and NTU was the only university offering a Business Law degree (other universities were offering joint honours courses but this did not appeal to me).
I visited NTU after receiving a conditional offer and although I had already made up my mind about the university I wanted to go to, my visit to NTU completely changed that. I loved that the City campus was so close to the city centre (unlike other ‘city’ campus universities), the staff and current students were all friendly and the buildings looked modern and well maintained - the Students Union was the best I’d seen! There was a real sense of community which wasn’t apparent when I visited other university campuses.
I enjoyed my three years at NTU so much that I stayed for another year to do the LLM!
What extra-curricular activities did you take part in? What impact did this have on you?
A self-imposed condition of me attending university was that I would support myself financially, so I consistently worked throughout my studies. One of my roles was as a Student Venue Supervisor at Nottingham Trent Student Union (NTSU), a role in which I worked alongside 100+ different NTU students and met 100+ more on event nights whilst I was working behind the bar!
Working alongside my studying only impacted me positively. It enhanced my ability to manage my time between working, studying and everything else but also meant I got to meet so many people outside of my course and housemates. It also meant I was financially independent (outside of the student loans) and that was a great feeling.
I also managed to find time to be the Social Secretary for LEX Law Society in 2014/15 and really enjoyed arranging social events, including Ocean Wednesday’s Socials and the Annual LEX Law Ball.
What does your current day involve?
There is no typical day in insolvency.
I’ve had days in the past where first thing in the morning I’m in the office, dealing with the statutory and legislative requirements of placing a company into liquidation, assisting the former employees with claiming their redundancy entitlements and taking calls from disgruntled creditors demanding payment. Later that afternoon I’m then preparing a witness statement for an application to court for the agreement of our fees as Joint Administrators of another Company. The following day can then differ entirely from the prior, and I could be required to be out at the trading premises of another company we have in Administration, conducting a stock take of assets we intend to sell, securing books and records to assist in our statutory investigations or liaising with the landlord to return the trading premises to them.
Working within insolvency doesn’t just mean dealing with corporate entities, it also extends to dealing with insolvent individuals (for me, that’s predominantly persons in bankruptcy). These assignments can involve dealing with the debtors’ financial affairs or the sale of personal valuable assets. In some instances, there is a need to liaise with solicitors in simultaneous divorce or custodial proceedings, meaning some cases can be of a more personal nature. The variation of the day to day, for me, keeps the role interesting and means that I am constantly learning and seeing new things.
What attracted you to this field of work?
The LLM Master’s Degree in Corporate and Insolvency Law definitely set me up to pursue a career in insolvency, but a big attraction to the field of insolvency was that it is an industry that develops your knowledge of law, accounting, finance and business management. Being someone who wanted to work within law in a more corporate and commercially inclined setting really appealed to me.
From a legal perspective, I find myself dealing not only with aspects of corporate and insolvency law but also commercial law, land law, competition law, trusts and equity, and civil law (to name a few), as well as using overseas legislation when working on international assignments.
What challenges have you faced?
I thought that working in a role where I was required to handle my own cases portfolio would be easy compared to the juggling of studying and working whilst at university. I had great passion for my job and enjoyed the things I was doing but my confidence in my time management ability, combined with a ‘yes man’ mentality, saw me taking on more and more work. This saw me struggling to manage my workload within my working hours and had a detrimental effect on trying to achieve a healthy work life balance.
I looked back on my time at University, particularly to those times during exam season, and wondered how I kept up with it all. Amongst my course mates there was a real sense of team effort and support, which looking back is a credit to the way our course tutors, Nottingham Law School and the wider NTU community made us feel. I had taken for granted this natural sense of team effort and peer-to-peer support and could see I wasn’t asking for this same help in my working life when I required it.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed – whether this be from your colleagues, course mates, employer or tutors. I reached out to my managers and colleagues to assist me and soon felt back on top.
What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?
There is no one single highlight of my career so far, albeit I have had many enjoyable experiences and I hope there are plenty more to come. One thing that I am proud of in my career to date is being recognised as someone who is reliable, hard-working, and always happy to help others.
My biggest challenge of my career so far? Waking up for the 5:30am alarm when I was commuting into London!
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to qualify as a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner, continuing to support and advise distressed companies and persons.
If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?
There certainly isn’t anything I’d do differently, but I’d probably tell myself to make the most of every day and enjoy it whilst you can – these are the days you’ll look back on for years to come.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Don’t take the small things at university for granted: having all of your friends in one city, the late nights in the library with your course mates and learning from some fantastic tutors. You’ll look back on these memories for years to come!