Time definitely flies when you work in the legal sector. In May this year I was made a Partner, but in 2006, my career in law started when I became a trainee lawyer.
I graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in law and initially secured a traineeship with Bishops in Glasgow, which, just before I joined, became part of Brodies.
At that time trainee seats worked in six month rotations. I had the chance to experience working in teams within real estate, litigation, construction and private client. I quickly realised that litigation was the right area for me - the client-facing aspect, the problem-solving and no two days being the same were all deciding factors for me.
Traineeship: the learning starts here
University teaches you about the law, but being a trainee is all about learning on-the-job - particularly about the softer skills required, including being able to speak to people and explain technical legal issues in a way that they understand. As a trainee I learned a huge amount from the people around me. I was able to observe the way in which people worked - their style and manner. This was hugely instructive as it helps you to develop your own style and to inform the type of lawyer you want to be.
Being a trainee also gave me an opportunity to push myself - it definitely wasn't a case of coming in and having to make the coffee or do filing! I was given a lot of responsibility from an early stage and I really felt like an integral part of the team.
Supportive colleagues are hugely important
It goes without saying that the training and support offered at Brodies is excellent. For me though, what was incredibly valuable was the time that was given by colleagues within the teams that I trained. They were willing to explain things and share their knowledge and experience with me.
Brodies is a very supportive and collegiate environment to work in - and people have a genuine interest in helping trainees to progress. It's fair to say that my promotion to Partner just wouldn't have been possible without the support and encouragement of my colleagues.
Advice for trainees
If I could give advice to anyone who is starting out in their career I law, it would be this: just enjoy it! Your traineeship is very much an experience that is shaped by you - you get out of it what you put in. Say yes to every opportunity you're presented with, whether it be going out of your way to help with an urgent client matter, attending a networking event - or getting involved in fun team activities outside of working hours. All of these experiences are opportunities to learn more about the business and yourself, and will help shape the lawyer that you become.
Brodies' 2021 traineeship applications are open until Monday 5 August at midday.