I’m currently in the second year of my Brodies traineeship, but back in 2015 I did a four week summer placement with the firm – and I’d highly recommend it as a first step in your career as a lawyer.

Here are five ways in which my summer placement helped me prepare for life as a Brodies trainee:

1   Daily life at a law firm

For many people, a summer placement will be one of their first experiences working in a law firm, or perhaps even an office! Doing the placement helped me understand the business model and daily workings of a law firm in a way I hadn’t quite understood before.

You’ll learn about the firm’s different practice areas and teams and what they do, how they work together, and what they specialise in. Becoming familiar with this at summer placement level is really useful when you return as a trainee.

2   Trainee tasks

I spent my placement working alongside the real estate team in Edinburgh. At the time, I was impressed by the quality and variety of work that was given to me so early on. Looking back, most of this work is very similar to what you’ll be doing day-to-day as a trainee.

The work you are involved with will, of course, depend on your practice area. In real estate, I spent time doing research tasks, helping to revise legal documents such as dispositions, and drafting documents such as standard security discharges, (which are used to release security over a property; for example when someone pays off the mortgage on their house). Gaining this experience boosted my confidence going into the traineeship, as I already knew I was capable of managing the workload.

3   IT training

Law firms usually use specialist IT systems, which you’re unlikely to experience before a traineeship. During my placement induction I was taught how to use these systems– it always takes time and practice getting used to new methods so this definitely gave me a head start in preparing for the traineeship.

4   Meeting fellow trainees and colleagues

For me, one of the best parts of the placement was meeting and getting to know other summer students who would later join me as fellow trainees. Having familiar faces around me on day one of the traineeship put me at ease on what was an exciting, but nerve-wracking, day.

At the time, we attended “Learning Breakfasts” together (an overview of the firm’s practice areas and business services such as marketing and HR, with the added bonus of a breakfast roll!). Now, we attend training together for the PEAT 2 part of the traineeship as well as our different practice areas.

The Learning Breakfasts also introduced me to different teams across the firm, including colleagues from Glasgow and Aberdeen.

And as a summer student, you also have a buddy; a junior member of the team and valuable contact who provides support and answers any questions you might have.

5   Traineeship application

Doing a summer placement is an excellent way to prepare you for the traineeship application. You can complete your interviews during the course of your placement, rather than doing everything in one day – which is the case for application centre days.

My summer experience also helped me to understand the firm, its operations and its values – and importantly, why I would be a good fit. The interview process went well as I was familiar with my interviewers, and had been given useful inside tips from colleagues (many of whom had done summer placements themselves). Now I’m in a position to share my own tips with other summer students!

Summer placement applications for 2020 are open until Monday 6 January at midday.

Louise Bell

Trainee at Brodies LLP
Louise is a trainee solicitor in Brodies' commercial litigation team.
Louise Bell