Life as a Summer Student: Maddie Joseph
What was your experience at Burness Paull?
2020 is probably going to go down as the year of unpredictability and cancelled plans – which made going ahead with my summer placement at Burness Paull that bit more special.
I had returned (a little earlier than planned) from my third year out in Spain and wasn’t sure how or if the placement would go ahead. However, Rhona and Eilidh, from the graduate recruitment team, kept us up-to-date with the ongoing changes and were extremely accommodating in scheduling the placement for a date that suited everyone.
I spent my week with the Edinburgh Construction and Projects team, interacting with different solicitors, partners, trainees and offices. The range of tasks I was assigned varied from drafting letters to advocates, to organising a social event, and even attending a commission, where I got to hear some Spanish – something very exciting for a law student having returned from Madrid!
We were given various training sessions throughout the week and left with a strong idea of Burness Paull’s identity and values, and their pride in being an independent Scottish firm.
What are your tips for a successful vacation scheme?
- Make it an investment - Burness Paull care about their graduate recruitment, so if you’ve been offered a summer placement, they care about you! Reciprocate this by investing your energy fully for the time you are with them to get the most out of the experience. Be proactive by taking plenty of notes, asking questions and getting involved in the social events.
- Be confident - Being offered a summer placement at such a competitive firm is a credit to you and your ability, and although it’s not something we’re great at in Scotland, it is okay to feel proud of yourself! You will encounter unfamiliar territory every day, so it is absolutely fine to ask questions. There are such good support systems available to you, so take advantage. Confidence in yourself as a person is also key. Something that was stressed the whole week was that Burness Paull is a social firm and it’s the people themselves which make clients feel at ease and trust the firm with their business. The social events are a great opportunity to talk about things outside the legal bubble and really get to know the people you are working with. I imagine they would have been somewhat less virtual in previous years, but the cocktail masterclass and quiz the trainees put on for us was a lovely way of seeing everyone in a more causal setting.
- Have fun! - You only have limited time with the firm, so enjoy! It really is a case of the more you put in to it, the more you’ll get out of it, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Everyone is extremely friendly, and many have been in your position, so are rooting for you to do well. I was put at ease from the Monday morning and my traditional expectations of the corporate world disappeared with any worries that I had.