By Catherine Sloan, Fergus Colquhoun, Mhairi Cruikshank and Lauren McDonach
Meet Catherine, Fergus, Mhairi and Lauren - the Tax and Succession summer interns at Turcan Connell. Between the four of us, we cover much of Scotland. While Mhairi's hometown is north of Aberdeen, Catherine comes from the east of Scotland in Perthshire and Lauren and Fergus come from the west of Scotland, living in Coatbridge and Argyll. So we're certainly a cultural bunch as far as Scots go!
We have, however, in recent years, inevitably migrated to bigger towns and cities. Fergus, Mhairi and Catherine are currently studying law at the University of Edinburgh, with Mhairi and Catherine having just finished their third year of the LLB and Fergus having just finished his first year of the accelerated LLB. Lauren, on the other hand, has just returned from a year abroad in North Carolina to begin her fourth year of the LLB at the University of Glasgow. While this means that for most of us, a 9am start is a pleasant walk into town, for Lauren, a slightly longer commute is required, travelling from Coatbridge to Edinburgh every day. However, don't let a slightly longer commute put you off applying for an internship here, Lauren says the experience you get whilst at Turcan Connell really is worth the early start and it certainly doesn't faze her or our other Glaswegian intern, Hilary.
For many of us, this was our first real legal experience and as such, we didn't really know what to expect. Coming into a completely new environment and actually seeing how a law firm operates for the first time can be intimidating. Hearing horror stories from your fellow law students about constant coffee making and endless days of filing certainly does not help. As the Turcan Connell summer internship is six weeks long this is definitely not something you want or need in the forefront on your mind!
A common preconception among us was that most of our contract would be with trainees, as opposed to directly with solicitors and partners, because we believed that we would simply be helping them with their work. Our experiences at Turcan Connell have proved us all wrong. We certainly have not had to make anyone a cup of coffee and we do work for our entire team, including senior solicitors and partners, on a daily basis. The six week duration, although perhaps daunting at first, has proved beneficial as we now feel completely comfortable and integrated within our teams. It has also helped us to appreciate and experience the variety of work which is undertaken at Turcan Connell.
Turcan Connell makes a big effort to give the interns a real idea of what life as a trainee is like, and the work reflects that. The tasks that we are given are not simulated or designed especially for us to do: they are simply tasks that might otherwise have been given to the trainee. Whilst we have been here, we have been given a vast range of different jobs, depending on what would be useful to the team at any one time - everything from drafting letters and managing inventories; to helping with legal research and attending client meetings.
Interns are given their own desks and become, for the six weeks that we are here, part of the team. By the end you get a very acute sense of what it would be like to work as a trainee. Most importantly of all, you are doing real, useful work for the firm.
One of the most positive aspects about our time at the firm so far has been the friendly working environment that Turcan Connell embodies. From day one we have all been welcomed into our respective teams and can safely say that we feel like valuable team members. Our mentors are on hand to provide support whenever we need it, and meet with us weekly to make sure that we have a manageable workload. The supportive atmosphere definitely helped ease our nerves – we all quickly realised that any questions we had would not be thought of as too small or too silly! This friendly environment continues outside working hours as by the end of our first week, our teams had taken us out for lunch and the trainees had organised drinks to make us all feel truly welcomed.
So, how would we sum up life as an intern at Turcan Connell? Challenging, rewarding, and to be honest, really quite fun!