Trainee blog December 2014 - Getting stuck in (and not just into the Christmas pudding)
John Morgan is another of our new trainee bloggers, also from Brodies LLP where he works in the firm’s Banking and Finance department in their Glasgow office. John is from Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire and attended the University of Glasgow for his LLB, spending time abroad at the Universities of Toronto, Connecticut and Cagliari. He then ventured to Edinburgh University for his Diploma
This is the latest in a new series of articles looking behind the scenes at one of Scotland biggest law firms through the wide eyes of their trainees.
Christmas time at Brodies
The Christmas rush appears to be somewhat of a festive tradition in a banking seat, with many transactions timetabled to complete ‘before the end of the year’ and lawyers – in our case, fuelled entirely by Glasgow’s burgeoning posh burger scene - working full tilt to dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘t’s and make it home for Christmas pud!
The chance to write this blog has offered the perfect chance to take a step back, reflect on my performance, and offer others some tips on how to make the most of the first few months of a traineeship.
1. Throw yourself into the deep end
My motto for the first five months has been to never refuse a piece of work, no matter how busy I seem. As Brodies is such a large firm, I’ve been passed work from all across the firm – sometimes with only the most tenuous of links to banking…
The best advice I was given by my trainee buddy, Dave, was always to accept work with a smile, no matter how difficult or strange the request. This seems simple but has stood me in very good stead -it’s odd to hear from more senior members of staff that trainees can enter the job with airs and graces!
The banking team have made it easy to say yes – the work is so varied and there’s not been a day where I’ve not been pushed in some way. I think this has been the main factor in my feeling so comfortable just five months in; and is also something almost every trainee I’ve talked to – from Brodies and firms across Scotland – has been able to say. It’s actually a pretty great job to do!
2. Throw yourself into everything
In the first few months of my traineeship I have been lucky enough to experience some really exciting work, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that a traineeship isn’t all about work
Barely a week goes by at Brodies without a trainee or department lunch/night-out. If you’re at a smaller firm or want a more varied view of the profession, then the SYLA and TANQ societies, and indeed the Edinburgh and Glasgow YP groups, offer a massive range of social and professional events, from whisky and wine tasting; conferences, talks and seminars; through to more formal annual balls. One event coming up is the GYP Burns Supper in January, which Brodies has a table at - I’ll report back with how it went sometime in February!
3. Don’t throw things out
Now to the confessional part of the blog (it’s all about honesty!): the worst part of my time here. For me, this was the half hour I spent scrambling around trying to find an original document that was to be sent urgently to a client.
Fortunately, the tale of the misplaced document was short-lived, as it was soon found in another desk drawer, but you can take three pieces of advice from it:
(1) It pays to be organised,
(2) Stress is never more than a moment away, so don’t get too comfortable, and
(3) Within hours, you’ll really start to care for your client’s welfare and best interests.
Ultimately, the client is king, and making their life a little simpler is easily the most rewarding part of being a lawyer.