I was delighted to secure a summer placement in Corporate and Commercial at Brodies back in February. When COVID-19 hit though, I feared my opportunity to gain experience with the firm could be jeopardised.
However, I didn’t need to worry. Brodies adapted the programme to take place virtually. This let me have a taste of life at the firm, albeit from home instead of the office. This is what the first part of my two-week placement looked like…...
The start date was finally here, leaving me excited and nervous. After a few last-minute tech checks, I logged in to begin the induction.
By the afternoon, my nerves had vanished, thanks to a warm welcome from the Brodies team. Although I was completing the placement virtually, I felt like part of the firm from the start, having had plenty of interaction with colleagues via video call. The afternoon was spent in IT training, and I was grateful to have a one-on-one call with an IT trainer to clarify anything I was unsure about.
I also met my ‘buddy’, who is a trainee. Trainees are matched with placement students to provide guidance and advice. My advice to any summer placement student is to check in with your buddy regularly: they are an invaluable source of support and can relate to your experience.
My first appointment was a meeting with my mentor. Mentors are fully qualified solicitors, assigned to summer students. They allocate research tasks and ‘live’ work while providing guidance and support. After an informative introduction I was ready to get started!
My research tasks included a presentation on a recently passed piece of legislation, and a briefing note covering distinctions between Scots and English law in three areas. I was nervous when my mentor told me she was inviting the rest of the team to my presentation, but I knew it would be a great challenge, which was exactly what I signed up for.
The day began with ‘learning breakfasts’. Each session covered a different practice area; on this day, it was commercial services, corporate, and projects, energy and infrastructure. They provided a fascinating insight into the day-to-day work of both senior lawyers and trainees, the client base, and deals and cases. It was also interesting to hear about how the firm had responded to the challenges of COVID-19, from an IT and business development perspective.
I was assigned my first live piece of work; a report with details of a company. I put my university learnings into practice - examining the articles of association and commenting on liens, shares, and charges.
After another learning breakfast, this time from banking, I continued with my report – and checked in with my mentor to ask for guidance. It's so important to ask questions; you're not expected to know everything instinctively and asking for help means you get the most out of tasks.
Later, there was a music quiz for us summer students and first-year trainees, hosted by a partner. It provided some well-earned relief from all the hard work and we all enjoyed laughing at the various outfits the host wore!
My day started with another learning breakfast, delivered by the employment team. After that, I sent my completed report to my mentor, before continuing with my research tasks. I could hardly believe that the first week was over, and when I closed my laptop for the weekend, I felt a great sense of achievement.
My experience at Brodies so far has helped prepare me for my future career. I’m grateful to everyone who has shared their knowledge with me -my buddy, my mentor and other colleagues across the firm too. Doing a summer placement virtually seemed daunting initially, but Brodies delivered a truly fantastic scheme despite the unique circumstances, and I'm honoured to have been a part of it.
Applications for our 2021 summer placements are open until Monday 11 January.