Traineeships

The first 8 months of my traineeship have flown by and I’m already 3 weeks in to my second seat. As such, this is a good time to take stock, reflect and look to the future.

My first seat was in the Commercial Property team in Aberdeen. As with most new trainees, it took me a couple of months to navigate my way through the IT systems, firm processes and generally get to grips with my new role. Everything follows from there: you get involved in client work, you have your first quarterly review and before you know it, it’s Christmas, you’re fully immersed into your team and life as a trainee. It was great to apply what I had learnt at university to real life transactions. That being said, there is a lot more to consider than the law. Communicating with colleagues and clients, prioritising tasks and managing your time are all vital skills you will soon develop.

One of the advantages of doing an 8 month seat is that in the last few months you are comfortable in your role, you have gained a degree of confidence and feel able to take on more challenging work. This is aided by the fact you have established a support network in your team members who you can call on for guidance and advice about how to go about tackling aspects of transactions you are unsure of.

After becoming part of the property team, settling in and gaining confidence in my ability, I was apprehensive about moving seat. Seat choices are not a decision to take lightly. At Brodies, we are asked to submit our top three choices to assist HR with the allocation of seats. It’s worth taking the time to think about it before you commit to your choices. Brodies operate in a wide range of sectors which means there is plenty of choice when it comes to seat moves. There are seats in all of the main divisions – including Real Estate, Corporate, Litigation and Personal and Family; and the subdivisions therein. Ask yourself: what did you enjoy at uni? What are you good at? Have you any practical experience in a particular area? And most of all: what are you interested in?

Before starting my training at Brodies, I worked in the oil and gas sector. I spent a year working in an oil and gas services company and a year working in the regulatory side of the sector with the civil service. I am keen to put the knowledge and skills I gained in previous roles (combined with those gained in my first seat) to use. This is why I opted for a seat in the Oil and Gas team.

I’m now at the end of week three. Initially, there was that first day feeling of being the newbie and feeling like you’re starting over again. But luckily for me I’ve moved from one friendly team to another. Everyone has been welcoming and helpful and I’ve got involved in client work from the get go. Moving seat was made easier for me being based in Aberdeen. It’s a smaller office and so you tend to get to know people that bit quicker. I had met and chatted to most of my new colleagues prior to changing seats and so this made the move less daunting.

As is the case with every seat, there are differences between the teams and the ways of working. In Commercial Property, I had my own transactions which I was responsible for as well as assisting team members with their transactions. There could be between 20-30 matters ongoing at any time. In comparison, in Oil and Gas, the projects are bigger and you become involved in them for longer. There may only be 2-3 matters you are working on daily.

My top tip when changing seat: don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself time to adjust to your new surroundings, team members and workload.  Treat every task as a learning opportunity and enjoy it. I’m excited to see what the next 8 months have in store.

Ross Gardiner

Trainee at Brodies LLP
Ross is a trainee on Brodies corporate and commercial team.
Ross Gardiner

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