Position: Trainee Solicitor
Why did you choose Harper Macleod?
I chose Harper Macleod because much of what the firm talked about in terms of being innovative and business-minded stood out to me. During the time I was at university, increasing pressure on the legal market meant that many traditional Scottish firms were fast disappearing. Harper Macleod stood out in that they had continued to grow despite the recession and the trainee retention rates remained high.
What did your Summer Placement involve?
I completed my six week summer placement in 2015 within the corporate department. I was working predominantly for the team led by Partner Paula Skinner which advises early stage and high growth companies. The team works closely with Scottish EDGE and Entrepreneurial Spark ("E-spark") and is well-known as being the market leading advisors on alternative finance in Scotland. During my placement I completed research tasks, attended client meetings and completions, and shadowed the then trainee at E-spark legal clinics. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement as I was able to be involved first-hand with much of the work of the department and made to feel very much as part of the team.
What was your highlight during placement?
I wrote various blogs for my department which then went on to appear on the Harper Macleod website. The blogs were on topics such as crowdfunding, which is something I had absolutely no knowledge of prior to my summer placement.
How did placement prepare you for becoming a Trainee?
Through my placement I was able to develop a clearer understanding of the importance in not only being technically and legally minded, but in acknowledging the needs of a client and recognising the pressures they might face. I feel that the summer placement prepared me for my traineeship in that it took me from a student who focused solely on studying the law and what it meant to translating this focus to the client and the practicalities of what it may mean to and for them.
What advice do you have to people looking for a Summer Placement?
The best advice I could give is apply to a firm that genuinely interests you, as that enthusiasm shows through an application. It's difficult at times to sell yourself and talk about your achievements but can be easier to discuss your interests. This could be particular areas of law you really enjoy, why you enjoy them and if possible to demonstrate the interest e.g. through subject choices, achievements in the area, being a member of specific club/society.
Challenges you may face?
A summer placement can be daunting for someone who hasn't previously worked within a large commercial firm and six weeks is one of, if not the longest of the summer placements offered. It's always initially challenging to get to know the IT systems and where everything is. There are opportunities to get involved with work from other departments and this is encouraged. I found that there was always someone you could ask questions and that the best advice is to get involved as much as possible.
How has your Harper Macleod Experience been so far?
My entire experience with Harper Macleod has been so rewarding and the firm invests a lot of time and support in their training. My current seat is within the corporate department as part of a team led by head of department, Partner Donald Munro. The work I'm involved with mostly concerns advising privately owned businesses, primarily family owned and owner managed businesses, together with acquirers of these businesses. As a trainee there's an even greater level of responsibility with opportunities to appear in court, and be involved with research tasks from other departments should they require. I'm often regularly encouraged to attend business development and networking events such as those hosted by Entrepreneurial Spark or the firm.
Describe Harper Macleod and it's people in 5 words?
Through my placement I was able to develop a clearer understanding of the importance in not only being technically and legally minded, but in acknowledging the needs of a client and recognising the pressures they might face. Lamia Al-Lamki