Matthew Ross recently joined us for a two week summer work experience placement at our office in Inverness. He tells us about his time with the firm.
When I arrived at Brodies' Inverness office for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. This was going to be my first legal work experience. Anecdotes I had heard of law firms intent on breaking the spirit of trainees and summer students unhelpfully came to mind. However, I was pleased to discover that my apprehensions could not have been further from the truth.
The office was sparkling new, having only opened the previous week. I heard it described as a miniature version of Brodies' Edinburgh office, and from what I've seen, this comparison is spot-on; an open-plan setup, big computer screens, and lots of glass to give the place a really bright and modern feel.
My first week was in the real estate practice. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of responsibility I was given – these were real transactions that I was dealing with, not just the imagined scenarios I'd seen in exam questions. With the guidance of my mentor, I drafted documents (like reports on title and dispositions) as well as researching and drafting an advice note for a client regarding access rights. The knowledge that this was now 'real life' added an element of pressure, but I was put at ease by knowing that I had a designated mentor who I could go to with any queries.
The second week was in the family team. I met my second mentor who showed me the ropes and made sure I always had something to do. During this week, I sat in on meetings with clients and prepared file notes of those meetings, as well as researching points of law to help the lawyers with court cases. Again, I was made to feel part of the team and knew that I was working with people who were happy to answer any question I could think of.
Throughout both weeks, aside from gaining experience with legal work, I got plenty of help with the career side of things. I got to meet with the younger lawyers here in Inverness to talk about advice for the future. I had several meetings kindly arranged for me with trainees in other offices, so I could have a chat and get some tips on traineeships at Brodies, from how to excel in the application process, to which seats they've enjoyed the most. I was grateful for these chats, as the information I gained will prove invaluable in the future.
Inverness is a small team but the beauty of that is obvious. Everyone knows everyone. You can have a friendly chat with anybody in the office, from partners and secretaries to junior solicitors and associates. This was something that surprised me, having been told that sometimes colleagues (especially partners) could seem less approachable for a young trainee/summer student in some firms. However, this is clearly not an issue in Inverness, and I've been told this trend continues no matter which of the Brodies offices you are in.
A small team also meant that I was able to get work from all corners of the office. Although I was assigned to real estate and family, this was not kept to rigidly, meaning I could do all kinds of work, from drafting wills and powers of attorney to performing commercial litigation research tasks.
As for what I enjoyed most, I was surprised by how much I liked the family law work – I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with clients and found the range of the cases extremely interesting. If I'd been asked before I arrived, I certainly wouldn't have put family law near my top choice, but this experience has really put it on my radar.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Brodies. Although it only lasted two weeks, I managed to get a taste of a wide range of work in that time. This will help me make more informed decisions as I move on to a traineeship and the rest of my career. It's clear that there's a welcoming and friendly culture here. I was made to feel like a contributing member of the team from day one, and I'll carry the lessons I learnt here into the future.
Our applications for 2023 summer placements are now open! Apply here.