1. Why did you become a Solicitor Advocate?

At university I became set on a career as a litigator and advocacy courses on the Diploma in Legal Practice were by far and away my favourite. I enjoyed – and still enjoy – analysing problems, structuring written work and the adrenaline rush of standing on my feet presenting an argument. I won the class prize for civil advocacy (which I would later find out had also been won some years previously by my future colleague Tony Jones KC!) and it gave me some confidence that, as well as enjoying the work, I might have some skill in it.

My early career was spent appearing regularly in the local Sheriff Court, I enjoyed this and the camaraderie among the local lawyers. In time though, I wanted to push myself more.

I moved to a firm in Edinburgh where two partners I worked with were solicitor advocates who both appeared in court regularly and they supported me through the higher rights of audience course as soon as I had enough experience to apply for it. On qualifying I was encouraged to appear in the higher courts as regularly as I could and ended up with my first two Court of Session appearances being on the same day!

2. What have you learned about yourself since becoming a solicitor advocate?

    I've learned that I enjoy a challenge. The qualification process itself is intense with candidates having to fit classes, studying, exams and days observing court hearings around a full-time legal practice. It's nothing, though, compared to actually appearing in the higher courts.

    One of my first Court of Session appearances was before a senior judge. I was asking for a type of order that I'd argued for in Sheriff Courts countless times, so I was reasonably relaxed going into the hearing. Right from the off, though, I realised I was going to have to work the hardest I had ever done in court to convince the judge to grant the order. It was a tough and testing twenty minutes, but I got the order and came away from the hearing buzzing. It's still a huge thrill to come away from a demanding hearing with a good result.

    3. What TV or film lawyers do you identify with and why?

      It's perhaps a cliché, but I think most lawyers at some stage identify with Aticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. That version of the character is principled, committed to civil justice and has the courage to advance a case in the knowledge that he is unlikely to win and that doing so will make him acutely unpopular in his community. The character's enlightened thinking and strong values mean he would fit in well as a colleague at Brodies!

      4. What 3 things can't you live without to do your job?

        A copy of the Court Rules – I always tell junior lawyers that they need to be able to tell a decision maker not only what order they want but also where the decision maker's power to make that order comes from. Even for something that seems relatively mundane, you might be asked to give chapter and verse on it, either because the decision maker doesn't know themselves or they just want to check you do!

        Two or more pens – if you take only one pen to court, it will run out during the hearing. Always. See also, notepads.

        Decaf coffee - I learned early on that the adrenaline rush of appearing in court is quite enough without supplementing it with my usual morning double espresso!


        Jamie Reekie

        Senior Associate & Solicitor Advocate