If you'd told me when I was starting university that I would one day return to Shetland to live and work as a lawyer for Scotland's largest law firm, I don't think I would have believed you. At that time, I had started studying law and German at the University of Edinburgh, having recently returned from a year at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich. After graduating, I went on to work as a lawyer in Edinburgh. Looking back, at that time I didn't anticipate ever being able to move home without making a career change, and made the assumption that the route for a lawyer, especially a corporate one, was mainly confined to cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.

I'm pleased to say I'm now eating those words. Fast forward to March 2020, when the pandemic hit, and I returned home to Lerwick, where I continue to work for Brodies. Like many things, COVID-19 has only accelerated change that was already happening, and people are realising that there are other options when it comes to where we work. I now have colleagues working in all corners of Scotland – and further afield.

Lerwick - dynamic and confident, with a rich legal history

Attitudes are changing (as we know from seeing the huge increase in house prices across the Highlands and Islands) but some 'city' lawyers may still be dismissive of working in a more remote location. I would challenge this view, both professionally and personally. Working and living in Shetland is hugely engaging, particularly due to its rich legal history. including the St Ninian's Isle treasure and landmark property law servitude cases. Of course, Scotland's rural economy is also rapidly changing and Shetland generates its fair share of excitement in the legal industry as a whole; with large-scale projects such as the Shetland Space Centre and developments in the renewable energy sector. Shetlanders are entrepreneurial folk and punch above their weight in this area.

Having lived in cities like Edinburgh and Munich, Lerwick feels like a proud, confident and remarkably cosmopolitan town; perhaps most obviously in its ability to succeed in hosting international events such as the Island Games, the Tall Ships Races and the Up Helly Aa festivals. This is no surprise as it has always been an internationally trading, adaptable port town, and has always welcomed people from overseas - from the Klondykers to visitors on cruise ships.

Perhaps surprisingly, the adjustments to working life brought about by the pandemic mean that I feel even more connected to my team and clients than ever before. The embracing of technology has meant that co-ordinating document signings, client calls, training and team meetings has never been easier. For example, clients can sign documents electronically with one click from their mobile phones, which is something they see as a huge convenience, avoiding the journey into a law firm office.

My clients are often based overseas, in Europe and beyond, so whether I'm in the city or not is usually irrelevant. For clients based in Shetland, I enjoy being a part of that community again and being able to offer a local service.

An island of opportunity

The opportunities I have now are down to the experiences I had while growing up. My childhood was far from limiting or insular and I distinctly remember school exchanges to Germany, France, Faroe and Iceland. Having such an international-facing education gave me the tools to study languages at university alongside my legal degree, and there's no doubt that the German-speaking skills I first learned at Anderson High School have played an important role in my career to date .

The opportunities Shetland presents to me have continued from school into adulthood. Lerwick is a dynamic, thriving place to live and I'm glad to have been able to come 'full circle' and work in the community I grew up in. As well as the professional rewards, I try to make the most of being here in my free time, including nipping down to a footprint-free beach in my wetsuit after work. My fiancé and I are currently in the process of building a house; an environmentally-friendly build with a view of the sea - something we would never have been able to do on the mainland.