Eilidh Smith, a second year trainee at Brodies, talks about the PEAT 2 review process and how to make the most of yours
Self reflection and preparation
The Law Society of Scotland requires trainees to have a review with their supervisors every three months. These reviews allow you to reflect on how much you have learnt and can give you real perspective.
That said, the reviews also mean more paperwork and can seem to be more of a burden than a benefit. The thought of recalling all the work you have done for the last three months (and not just the time you made that embarrassing typo in an email) is daunting. With five reviews now under my belt, I have some top tips to make the most of your review and make preparation as easy as possible.
Get objectives set
Set a list of objectives at the start of the review period. Some take the view that in your first three months you don’t need objectives, your focus should be on getting to grips with everything. While this is true, objectives are helpful for preparation for your review. You may agree with your supervisor that these are objectives for two review periods, but it is good to have something in your mind to focus your work and preparation for the review.
Do it as you go
Working for numerous fee earners, it is likely that the trainee in the team is probably the person who has had sight of the most files. To recall all the work over the last three months is an impossible task. I approached my first review in a manner that I can only warn against - with a blank page, no clear set objectives, a brief recollection of what work I had done, and thousands of emails.
My fellow trainees have a couple of methods for preparing. A common theme is ‘do it as you go’. Some keep a note of file references where they have completed work they want to discuss at their review. Some keep a blank review form in hard copy and make bullet points under various competencies. My way is to keep a list of my objectives and competencies on my desktop. Every time I finish a piece of work, I note it under the relevant section. Whatever way you find works for you, I recommend the ‘do it as you go’ approach.
Make the most of the review
The review can be a good time for self-reflection and a discussion about your progress. If you are well prepared, this can be of great benefit. You will be able to (hopefully) receive praise, highlight areas that you want to gain experience on, and receive constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is a great asset - it allows you to consciously work on specific areas in order to improve.
Don’t forget to set your objectives for next time! Try to avoid this being put off to a later date - come prepared with a list of proposed objectives.
Remember - your review form will serve a greater purpose
You review form will serve a greater purpose further down the line. At Brodies, our internal reviews form part of the NQ recruitment process – and are submitted along with your application. Even if your firm doesn’t formally use them, they are useful reminders when collating examples for competency-based questions. Preparing properly now will cut down the stress of NQ applications and interviews.
Eilidh Smith is currently a second year trainee at Brodies LLP. She obtained her LLB at the University of Glasgow having studied at the University of Helsinki in her third year. She later returned to the University of Glasgow to obtain her Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. Eilidh is currently working in the employment team at Brodies, having completed a seat in litigation, and is shortly due to move to her third (and final) seat