Mon 28 Aug 2023

What to expect when you're expecting to start your traineeship

For every legal graduate, starting your traineeship is an exciting yet undoubtedly daunting experience.

The first week will consist of mainly induction training, after which you'll join your team. Your traineeship will be divided into four seats, typically six months in each of our four divisions: Corporate, Commercial Real Estate, Private Client and Litigation. 

To provide a better insight into the life of a trainee here at the firm - and to settle any first day nerves - we caught up with some of our trainees to find out what to expect when expecting to start your traineeship. 

Kirsty (Asset Protection)

My first seat in my traineeship was in the Asset Protection team in the Private Client Division. From the get-go I was given a wide variety of work to do and was soon given the opportunity to work autonomously as well as assisting other solicitors. You quickly learn to apply what you have studied in university to practical situations where you are working towards the best outcome for your clients.  My trainee manager and the wider team were all incredibly supportive and you get involved in very high-quality and interesting work.

I found a major benefit of a Private Client seat was the high level of client contact, be it accompanying a solicitor on a home visit to take instructions on Wills and Powers of Attorney or advising Executors throughout the process of administering a loved one's estate. Assisting people through what will inevitably be a sensitive time is an immensely rewarding experience and sets you in good stead for dealing with clients throughout your career.

I also got involved in the team's work administering various charitable trusts. This including attending trustee meetings and a conference for charity trustees hosted by a wealth manager, which was an informative experience.

Our trainee intake has had many opportunities to socialise, both as a group and among the firm as a whole. We revived the annual Burns Night dinner which went down a treat. A personal highlight for me was organising a group pottery painting evening at my favourite local studio.

Hannah (Real Estate & Infrastructure) 

My first seat in real estate was the best start I could have asked for in my traineeship. The team were all so welcoming and were always on hand to answer my (many!) questions. I really valued how they would take time out of their days to explain the commercial property world to me. From the beginning, I was kept busy with a full and interesting, but manageable, workload. The range of property issues I dealt with such as leases and licences made for very enjoyable work. I had the opportunity to attend client meetings straight away which was great exposure at the very start of the traineeship.  

I have been really fortunate to find myself working alongside such fantastic trainees and we have become a very tight-knit group. In work, we have been able to answer each other's questions and queries, but more importantly we have had lots of opportunities to socialise together. This is a very social firm with regular staff drinks as well as karaoke and board nights to name a few. I have also joined our charity committee which has been a great insight into the firm. I have been able to get really involved in the firm in such a short space of time.

Bethany (Construction)

Having little knowledge of Construction law, I was nervous to start my traineeship as I did not know what to expect. However, my nerves quickly subsided as I was warmly welcomed by Mimi, Jonny and Caroline. I was given a lot of responsibility to progress matters but was well supported by the team who were always there to answer my questions. A typical day would involve drafting documents such as collateral warranties or appointment agreements, reviewing contracts, or negotiating with the other side to agree contract terms.

We had a weekly meeting with the contentious construction team to discuss current projects and any business development events coming up. I attended quite a few Business Development events with the team which was a great way to gain more knowledge of the industry but also to network. In just six months I learned a huge amount about construction and developed a range of skills such as drafting, negotiation, and how to communicate with clients.

I assisted with agreeing contracts for developments such as care homes, office blocks and student accommodation all over Scotland. Clients include developers, purchasers, funders, as well as architects and engineers so there was a real variety of work and the opportunity to see construction from all different perspectives.

I also found that there were plenty of things to get involved in within the firm, such as committees and social events. I joined the charities committee and enjoyed Bingo night and going out with the real estate team for karaoke. I will also be taking part in the Kiltwalk in September to raise money for our charity of the year. 

Erda (Corporate) 

My first seat was in the Corporate team. Having already had an interest in this area before starting, I came with high expectations and working in the team exceeded all of them. Over the six months, I had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of work ranging from assisting other members of the team with co-ordinating due diligence processes, drafting ancillary documents in connection with transactions to dealing with post-completion mechanics.

I was given a good level of responsibility throughout and my team were very supportive - I was never thrown in at the deep end and there was truly no such thing as a silly question. What I particularly enjoyed about working in the Corporate team was the opportunity to work collaboratively with the rest of the firm. Often, in corporate transactions, there will be input from other departments e.g. Banking, Employment or Commercial Property. Not only was this a good opportunity to learn more about the different practice areas but it gave me the opportunity to get to know more people in the firm. 

Alongside work, trainees are also encouraged to contribute to the wider firm through organising social events and joining committees. I have joined the Giving Something Back (GSB) Committee to assist with co-ordinating fundraising events for our charity of the year and also signed up to take part in the Kiltwalk. My experiences as a trainee have been very positive and for anyone considering a seat in the Corporate team, I could not recommend this enough!

Jordan (Banking)

This was my first seat of my traineeship. I had just finished on the diploma earlier that year with the banking module being one of my favourites, so I was very happy to get this to start. My first day, I was kindly greeted by the team who each explained a little about what they did and the type of work I was likely to be involved with. It wasn't long until I was helping with a variety of matters and was given lots of responsibility to take on.

Some of my tasks ranged from drafting corporate authorisations and security documents through to liaising with different clients. Banking was a great first seat as not only was I interested in the banking work itself, but I was also able to gain some property and corporate experience too. 

Away from the desk, the first seat runs at a great time in the year as at the halfway point, you have your team Christmas party and then the firm wide party! There are also plenty of other social events which allow you to get to know other people in the firm.

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