Position: Trainee Solicitor
Why did you choose Harper Macleod?
I chose Harper Macleod because it was one of the leading Scottish firms that was very business minded but also different. I felt the firm's values were aligned with my work ethic - I wanted to work with people who were always looking to improve and provide great client satisfaction. The firm has many leading individuals who inspired me and I wanted to learn and work with these experts.
What did your Summer Placement involve?
I was in the Insurance (now Personal Injury & Reparation) department for six weeks. I was involved the various claims we have which gave me insight into the process of personal injury claims, medical negligence and other fatalities. I worked with a number of partners in the team, including Heather Calderwood, who does defender work in complex personal injury reparation. I completed research and investigatory tasks, often calling clients, insurance companies to seek documents during the various stages of a claim. I enjoyed being involved in the negotiations stage and gained understanding of varying interests from both sides of a claim.
I did not only do work during my summer placement – I got the chance to get involved with the HM touch rugby team and run about in the rain!
What was your highlight during placement?
My highlight was being asked to help in investigatory work about a claimant who had suspicious injuries. I felt like a detective trying to find all the information and it made a solicitor's job even more exciting.
How did placement prepare you for becoming a Trainee?
The placement was really helpful to understand how law works in practice and how much more you need to know than just knowing the law. It was helpful to see and be exposed to communication with clients, the nuances of dealing with insurance companies and other side in a case. This proves important when law students start their Diploma which focuses on training you to think of the wider aspects of providing legal services. After all, you are going into a business that provides legal services, and understanding the concepts of a good business is very helpful moving forward.
What advice do you have to people looking for a Summer Placement?
Look for a firm you want to work in, all the way to partnership (if that is your goal), not just somewhere to do a traineeship. When you like a firm, it is easier to explain why you want to work there and you will enjoy your time much more. Also, honest reasons will always make you stand out more.
Challenges you may face?
Getting around – the office has a maze of three floors so you will constantly run into people you haven't seen before. Good thing, everyone will help if you do get lost! Similarly, getting to grips with IT is bewildering at first, but begins to make sense once you start using it.
How has your Harper Macleod Experience been so far?
Excellent! My first seat as a trainee has been in the Employment department. I am involved with preparation of cases for Tribunals, attending client meetings, helping clients going through various stages of employment disputes. The work is very varied and I have been constantly learning new things, but feel supported throughout the work I do. I feel the work I have done is valued and the firm invests a lot of time to train you. There are many opportunities to get involved with other tasks, such as court attendance and business development events. Everyone has been really friendly and down to earth which makes this a great place to work in.
Describe Harper Macleod and it's people in 5 words?
- Client Focused
The placement was really helpful to understand how law works in practice and how much more you need to know that just knowing the law. It was helpful to see and be exposed to communication with clients, the nuances of dealing with insurance companies and other side in a case. Agne Zasinaite