Ellen Smith, due to return to the firm as a trainee in 2019, discusses her time at Brodies.

I can't quite believe the number of years that have passed since I first came into contact with Brodies, but here we are.


It all started about 4 years ago in 2013, when I was an awkward 17- year old who had just sat her Highers. I was part of one of the first intakes of students in the PRIME initiative, the purpose of which is to give a small number of secondary school students a taste of what life in a law firm is like.

That week was honestly one of the most exciting things to have happened to us all year!

It was that experience, led by Brodies, that first opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in law. The week had been filled with opportunities to question people from within Brodies and even providing chances to explore aspects of a law career outside the firm.

Acceptance to university and work experience at Brodies

As soon as I was accepted by the University of Edinburgh to study law I heard from Brodies again.

Part of me expected the firm to forget about the kids from the PRIME initiative, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

I was congratulated by the Chairman of Brodies, Christine O'Neill, in person and I believe the picture can still be found somewhere hidden in the Brodies website. (The original article can be read here).

Throughout my first year at law school, Brodies again kept in touch and offered me the opportunity of a week's work experience in the department of my choice that summer.

That week was my first time in an office environment since PRIME, and the first time being given actual work to complete, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. However, everyone in my team was openly supportive. They understood my limitations, having only completed one year at law school, and took the time to explain exactly what was required of me and the purpose of the work being done.

I was placed in the personal and family team in the Atholl Crescent office, examining wills and estates, and at the time I was the only person I knew with a legally binding will at 19 that I had drafted myself.

Despite studying abroad in Copenhagen for my third year, Brodies never lost touch. They made sure I had all the relevant dates for the applications for Summer Placements and the information that was given at events I couldn't attend due to being abroad.

Summer Placement

And now I am here, in the middle of a Summer Placement. Brodies once more showed their ongoing support by allowing the timing of the placement to be flexible in order to work around the other commitments I had made this summer. This placement so far has been significantly more intense than the one in first year and I have been given more independence and responsibility with the tasks I've received.

As with before, the teams I have been placed in have always been happy to give guidance and to answer any questions I may have. These two weeks have shown to be a valuable insight into life as a trainee and to the reality of a career at Brodies.

I am grateful for the constant support Brodies have given me and the genuine interest they have always shown in my future. I would never have thought that such a large firm would invest so much time into one person but I think it reflects the true character of the firm as a whole.

I hope the rest of this Summer Placement is as positive as the first half has been and that perhaps this relationship can carry on into the future.

Brodies is a founding member of PRIME. Formore information about the programme, click here


Ellen Smith

Trainee at Brodies LLP