By Juliet Barker, Trainee Solicitor
“Your application was successful and we’d like to offer you a traineeship.”
The words every law student hopes to hear, although I nearly didn’t hear them as I was on a coach full of noisy kids accompanying my daughter’s P4 class to Port Edgar and the Forth Bridges. Not a day I will forget in a hurry though, as it meant that the career change I had hoped to make would finally be a reality.
Two years later – slightly nervously – I began my traineeship at Turcan Connell, as I really didn’t know what to expect. Fresh from the Diploma, I had all the theory and it was time to put it into practice. My first seat was in the Land and Property department, and boy, was it different from the conveyancing and property courses at University. I spent my first two months issuing notices of implied burdens to protect rights which would otherwise have disappeared and then the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012 came into force. It was an interesting time to be a property lawyer.
I found myself dealing with estate plans, boundary issues and preparing for the voluntary registration of some properties. My favourite tasks were plan-related – in one case I plotted the ownership of a large estate, detailing all the various pieces that had been sold off and acquired over the last 60 years, and in another, I was able to establish that the client was indeed the owner of a disputed piece of land. It was really interesting following the history of the land ownership and very satisfying when I was able to demonstrate how I had reached my conclusion.
After Land and Property, I had expected to move to a seat in the Tax and Succession department. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I was placed in the Business Law Team. Despite previous experience working in small and medium businesses and being self-employed, I was not sure that I was cut out for being a corporate lawyer. I had heard horror stories of corporate trainees (at other firms I hasten to add) being required to work all night and that the work was dry and monotonous. I could not have been more wrong. Yes, there have been a couple of late nights but that was at the completion of a deal and I generally leave the office on time. The work is challenging and getting the intricate details of a transaction correct can be hard, but the days pass really quickly and there is nothing as satisfying as seeing all the hard work paying off when the deal completes. When it came to seat move time, I was lucky enough to be able to stay in the Business Law Team for my third and fourth seats and will be qualifying as a Business Law NQ solicitor in October with 18 months of solid experience behind me.
Turcan Connell is a great place to work and I am looking forward to qualification in the knowledge that I have been lucky enough to have a really in-depth traineeship. Although I came to the firm with the intention of qualifying into estate planning and doing executries, it turns out that I have ended up doing something completely different. The curve ball thrown at me by the trainee committee by putting me in the Business Law Team was definitely a good thing.