1. Why did you choose Brodies to do your traineeship?

I applied to Brodies in 2005. I was initially attracted to the firm because I met lawyers from Brodies at a university roadshow. You could tell from the positive way that they spoke about the firm it was an exciting and supportive place to be. I was living in Glasgow and Brodies opened its Glasgow office in 2006 so the timing was perfect for me.

2. When did you decide you wanted to join the litigation practice?

    I didn’t do a litigation seat during my traineeship, but I had really enjoyed contentious work whilst a trainee in our employment practice. In particular, I liked speaking with witnesses, investigating the issues in a case and then shaping those into legal arguments. I was on holiday when the interviews for NQ jobs took place and after much agonising on my part, I did my interview by phone from Paris. It was in days when interviews over the phone were not quite as common as they probably are now. I was delighted to get offered the role and to stay at Brodies, and in an ideal place to celebrate it!

    3. What made you think about becoming a solicitor advocate?

    I had built up a good bit of advocacy experience in tribunals and the sheriff courts, so it felt like a natural progression to qualify as a solicitor advocate. I was also really lucky to work in a team and practice area which encouraged lawyers to do their own advocacy from trainee right through to partner. I had role models in the litigation practice who I was able to look up to, who were generous with their time and supportive. I knew that if I wanted to become a solicitor advocate, I would be encouraged by colleagues.

    4. What support did the firm give you?

    I was given plenty of opportunity to build up experience in court before applying. I was able to speak to existing solicitor advocates in the firm who shared styles for the drafting exams and words of encouragement throughout. Our team also allowed me flexibility and time off to complete the exams. That was important because I discovered fairly early on that it’s demanding to balance full time working with sitting your first exams in almost a decade.

    5. What advice would you give to other solicitors thinking about becoming a solicitor advocate?

    Go for it! I have found the experience hugely rewarding. It will not be the same for everyone, but I feel that being in court has really helped focus my advice to clients embarking on litigation about what to expect and how issues might play out before a court. I became a partner in the firm this year and a part of that is down to my role as a solicitor advocate, within the Advocacy by Brodies set. I think that becoming a solicitor advocate is a great way to broaden your skill set and to develop experience which will help other areas of your practice.

    6. What’s your favourite thing about being a solicitor advocate?

    I really like working with other people as part of a bigger team. That’s why being a solicitor advocate is an ideal fit for me. It’s also a hugely supportive community because everyone has had good and bad experiences in court. As a standing junior to the Scottish Government I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting up and working with my fellow standing juniors. Being a solicitor advocate has also allowed me to junior to some great lawyers, so I am learning all the time which is hugely motivating.


    Niall McLean

    Partner & Solicitor Advocate