Traineeships

What is a ‘dedicated’ traineeship?

I am one of three first year trainees undertaking a dedicated real estate traineeship with Brodies.

This means that I’ll spend two of my eight month seats within the same department and one seat in a department outwith real estate.

This additional seat can be in any practice area you like – some people opt to do something quite closely linked, such as property litigation, while some choose to do something completely different, like employment law.

Either way, working at a full service law firm like Brodies gives you the greatest opportunity to gain experience in the areas of law that most interest you.

Won’t I be specialising too early in my career?

Some people may be concerned that applying for a dedicated real estate traineeship means that they are setting in stone their career path before they’ve really had a chance to figure out what it is they want to do – this isn’t the case at all!

Experience in any area of law will always equip you with transferrable skills that you can take to other departments. Real estate provides an excellent grounding in key areas such as drafting, negotiation and client contact.

Doing a dedicated traineeship does not mean you won’t get exposure to other relevant areas of law.

Brodies is frequently involved in significant, high-value transactions. Ensuring the success of these transactions means that you will need to work closely alongside colleagues in other teams – particularly in planning, projects and banking.

Also, remember that you will do one of your three seats outwith the real estate department – and you may even spend some time on secondment.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that Brodies’ real estate department is huge, and within the wider department there are lots of smaller teams you can choose to be part of, including: renewables, land and rural, commercial leases and residential property. This means that while you are in the real estate department for two seats, these two seats could be in two completely different areas.

What are the benefits?

One of the greatest advantages of this particular type of traineeship is that it means you get the chance to hone your skills and gain concrete experience in one particular area of law. With this comes the opportunity to take on more responsibility within your department and assist with a higher level of work – and to do so sooner in your career than may normally be the case.

A dedicated traineeship will stand you in good stead when it comes to applying for NQ positions, and the concrete experience you gain will enable you to hit the ground running once you qualify.

Another benefit of being a dedicated real estate trainee is that you will be assigned a ‘career mentor’ who is most likely to be an associate or partner within real estate, but from a different team or different office location to you.

This is an excellent source of support and guidance as they will be able to tell you about the numerous exciting directions your career may take. You will be given the chance to meet your career mentor fairly early on; you can tell them how you’re getting on; the areas of law that interest you most and what area you’d like to be working in. While, of course, the work you will be given will be dictated by the needs of the firm, indicating areas of particular interest and ambitions will almost certainly lead to people thinking of you whenever opportunities present themselves.

Staying in the same department for two seats gives you more time to develop working relationships with your colleagues, which in turn will help you feel more like part of a team from the outset. Above all, it mitigates that nervous feeling we all get when moving from one seat to another!

Mary Ellen Stewart

Solicitor at Brodies LLP
Mary Ellen is a solicitor in the Business Disputes & Asset Recovery Team and specialises in commercial litigation.
Mary Ellen Stewart