After five years of dental school, I started my first job as a dentist in 2013. 

After undertaking a few training positions in hospital, completing rotations in paediatrics and oralmaxillofacial surgery, I entered general dental practice full-time in 2015, working in a busy NHS dental practice in Fife. During this time, I also studied for and completed professional membership examinations into the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh). I learned a lot about patient care and working as part of a team, but also how to successfully manage an intense work schedule and work well under pressure. However, as the years passed, I began to realise that practising dentistry was not motivating and exciting me in the way I had imagined.

I had always been interested in law. I liked the idea of solving problems and helping people. I actually applied to study law in 2007 along with dentistry. So, I took the bold (some might say mad) move to apply again for law school 10 years later. I started the accelerated LLB at the University of Edinburgh in 2017, then progressed onto the Diploma at the University of Glasgow in 2019. Throughout these three years, I continued to work as a dentist part-time to fund my studies. The accelerated LLB allows anyone with an honours degree to complete the LLB at an ordinary level within two years and be eligible to apply for the diploma after this. It is very intense, and you have to hit the ground running, but it flies by.

I originally did a four-week summer placement with Brodies in 2018 in the personal and family practice in Glasgow and was offered my traineeship after this. I worked in Brodies during the week, and as a dentist in the evenings and weekends. Working in an office was completely new to me, and the experience was extremely valuable. It gave me a real insight into how life as a lawyer would be and solidified my decision to re-train. I also kept in touch with several people I met during the placement, who were a great help and source of advice over the final two years of my studies.

I started my traineeship with Brodies last year, finally putting down the dentist drill. I've had a really good experience so far and have been involved in a large variety of client matters already. Every day is completely different – very different to working in the surgery. It is a steep learning curve but having gone through a similar process when I started dentistry, I feel this prepared me well. My colleagues are also incredibly friendly and supportive. My organisational and communication skills that I gained during my seven years as a dentist working with the public have proved extremely useful, especially within personal and family where there is a lot of client contact involved.

I don't regret making the switch to a legal career. Looking back, I think at 18 it's very difficult to decide what to study at university, at that age it's hard to appreciate the options you will or won't have after finishing a a degree such as dentistry. I am very proud to have been a dentist and a member of the profession, however, it is not where I wanted to spend the rest of my working life. So, at 30, I am starting all over again.

It's never too late to change your career path if an early decision turns out not to be what you expected. Believe in your own abilities – and don't be afraid to make a change. Remember, there is #nowrongpath.

Apply now for our 2023 traineeships.


April Sloan

Trainee solicitor