Planning & Environment

My name is Ross Keohane, I am in 4th year at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh. This past week I have been doing work experience at Brodies LLP to get an insight into the legal world and the working life of a lawyer.

As a 16 year old boy, who has only recently started to think about life beyond school and the possibility of studying Law at university, this work experience has been invaluable. Of course, I was extremely nervous because I knew that Brodies LLP was one of the best legal practices in Scotland, but I didn’t need to feel anxious because right from the beginning, I was made to feel welcome and was quickly put at my ease.

My first day on the job was spent working for the Property and Planning Departments in Atholl Crescent, where I was armed with a hole-puncher and asked to get on with some filing. Strangely the dark art of hole-punching rarely features in TV legal dramas, but I could see that in real life organization is essential and when it was all done it left me with a sense of accomplishment that I’d done something to help.

Day two was spent in the Litigation Department in Lothian Road and on a trip to the Court of Session. My time in the litigation department was spent mainly doing admin work for the lawyers working there. This is work which has to be done, and gave me an honest impression of what legal life might be like. Later that day I was given a tour of the Court of Session by Mary Allan. She showed me the ins and outs of the court system and then took me down to see where all the files from past cases are kept. As the lift doors opened I felt like I was entering a different dimension: the world of the court runners. Despite the dry nature of the documents, there was a warm atmosphere in this area, which I hadn’t expected in the legal world, and it is one of the most memorable times during my time at Brodies, as the camaraderie shone a whole new light on the prospect of working in law in my later life.

On Wednesday I was reunited with my trusty hole-punching companion to complete more filing. However later that day I was given the opportunity to sit in on a meeting between Neil Collar and a planning group. I was very impressed by Neil and I learnt a valuable lesson about the tactics behind boardroom negotiation and trying to win over the business of others.

I was now in the second last day of my week at Brodies and Thursday was spent working with a group of younger employees, one of whom was still at university. For the first time in my week I had the chance to get a first hand account of what studying law would be like. “Oh, it’s very hard work,” they said, “There’s not much time for fun and games!” Their attempt to scare me away from trying to become a lawyer was, however, a failure. After what I had seen over my week at Brodies I had already decided that the work that it would require would be entirely worth it.

 I would like to thank everyone who helped organize my time at Brodies and everyone who took time out of their day to see me.


Neil Collar