The Apprentice…..well, Trainee Solicitor, actually

In this article, Anna Brown talks about her experience of working with Walker Laird as a new Trainee Solicitor. Anna is no stranger to our News having previously reflected on her work experience with Walker Laird. You can read that article by clicking here. Her first taste of the firm certainly didn’t put her off and now she’s a Trainee Solicitor going through her qualification to become a fully-fledged lawyer. Here’s what she has to say about the whole experience so far:

After completing two weeks’ work experience at Walker Laird in July 2015, I was very lucky to be kept on as a part-time member of staff. I was employed to help out in the office with various duties – mail, reception cover, scanning, taking deliveries, filing, doing legal research etc. I then progressed into the Civil Department, where I worked as a Legal Secretary whilst studying. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an LLB in June 2016, and have completed my Diploma in Legal Practice at Strathclyde University. I have now been fortunate enough to have been offered a two-year specialised training contract in the Civil Department in Walker Laird.

Legal Studies And Progression

Studying on the Diploma alongside working part time in Walker Laird was very useful as one complemented the other. I started the Diploma course with a good basic understanding of how the legal profession operates in practice, which is something you would not know from the undergrad LLB course alone. This has been hugely beneficial for me. Even the simple tasks expected from the Diploma, such as creating a paper file, are a mystery to many others on the course as they have not had the privilege of being involved in a legal office.  On the other side of things, the Diploma gave me a greater understanding of the process of various legal transactions which I would not have been able to learn in a busy workplace. I can therefore apply this knowledge when working on various tasks at work.

I have now started my traineeship at Walker Laird. I have been a trainee for just over a month now. The experience I have gained from working in Walker Laird for almost two years before starting is experience I could never have gained from a classroom, and has been the most helpful over the past month. The support from my colleagues has been overwhelming, and they have reassured me that they will continue to help me every step along the way. I already knew the way in which the solicitors and staff in my department operate and so I know what is expected of me.

My role now includes a wider variety of duties and more responsibility. I am now largely involved with preparing for Court throughout the week, in particular for Paisley Sheriff Court on Friday’s. The Friday court deals with Summary Cause, Small Claims, and the new Simple Procedure cases. The Simple Procedure in a new court procedure and will soon replace small claims. This was something I was taught at University, and something I could bring to the team when I started. I am also a lot more involved in dealing with our Family Law cases, meeting with clients, liaising with other solicitors, drafting letters, and administration duties for court. I have also worked closely alongside my colleague Michael Wilson who specialises in Personal Injury in assisting him in preparing for Personal Injury cases that have litigated.  My roles and responsibilities will only continue to grow, but I feel the training I am getting has me prepared for every new challenge that comes my way.

I feel in the past month I have had such a hands-on experience and have learned so much already. Every day I learn something new. The size and nature of Walker Laird is going to allow me to have a specialised, intense traineeship with the greatest support around me. Working closely alongside three solicitors, in the Civil Litigation department on a day to day basis, is a traineeship that is rare to come around.  I personally am very grateful for this opportunity. I am only at the beginning of my traineeship, and have a vast amount to learn but it is such a rewarding experience to see all the hard work over the past five years paying off. Most importantly, I am thoroughly enjoying my traineeship, and working for Walker Laird. I would not have chosen to start my career in any other way and I am excited to see what the future has in store for me.