When applying for traineeships, one of the things that attracted me to Brodies was the firm's commitment to corporate social responsibility initiatives. Trainees are encouraged straight away to get involved with volunteering opportunities, such as mentoring and the PRIME work experience programme (check out recent reflections from Rhea Darroch and Lucy Rice on their experiences as PRIME students). I decided to get involved with the School Mock Court Case Project as a tutor on the senior programme.

School Mock Court Case Project

The School Mock Court Case Project is a Scottish charity that operates in secondary schools across Scotland. There are approximately 3000 students involved across 100 schools, each of which enters a pursuer and defender team into the competition. Students work in teams over a number of weeks to prepare and submit initial writs and defences, complete adjustments, and lodge witness lists and inventories of productions on the basis of a set of personal injury-related facts. This culminates in a proof before a real sheriff, where students act out the roles of lawyers and witnesses. A preliminary round of intermediary trials takes place, followed by a round of semi-finals. The project ends with a grand final where one school's pursuer or defender team is declared the winner.

As part of the project, students attend a series of 90-minute tutorials, with coaching and guidance from real practitioners. This is an important part of the students' preparation process, and is the part I became involved in.

Benefits of volunteering

It was incredibly rewarding to see the students grow in confidence and develop their knowledge. and inspiring to watch their creativity in action as they formulated arguments and strategies for the trial.

Admittedly, the project also presented challenges as the number of questions I didn't know the answer to grew each week! However, this was part of the fun and encouraged me to keep my own knowledge up to date. The project was a great opportunity to use my legal skills outside of day-to-day work, including those that don't feature heavily in my role at present. For example, my current seat doesn't involve litigation, so it would be easy to let my knowledge of court procedure and advocacy skills slip. Thanks to the project though I've kept on top of those.

Volunteering as a trainee has allowed me to add value to the firm beyond the work I carry out for colleagues and clients. It's an opportunity to demonstrate how the firm is a catalyst for positive social change – particularly to the next generation of lawyers. By supporting students and helping to break down barriers to accessing the legal profession, trainees can embody the firm's values showing that our involvement in our community goes further than providing legal services.

Applications for summer placements 2022 are now open– apply today! For more information on the School Mock Court Case Project.


Emily Tarbet

Trainee Solicitor