Mairead Smith
What was your experience at Burness Paull?

I currently am a fourth-year law student and this summer at the end of my third year, I was a summer student at Burness Paull. Before starting my placement I was a little apprehensive especially as it was all taking place online.  I quickly realised on starting that there was no reason for nerves as Burness Paull were so welcoming to us and had so much planned for us during the week. The firm put a huge amount of effort into the scheme.

I was placed in the Edinburgh Property Team and there I got involved in work that the firm was doing: this included drafting legal documents, doing research into some topical areas in the sector and helping summarise contract and title documents. The team endeavoured to make sure I got a broad experience during the week by giving me varied tasks, including one where I got to use my Gaelic. It was exciting to learn more about the law in practice and to put some of what I learnt at university to use. It was really useful to get feedback from my supervisors and some of the other Partners/lawyers in the team on my work. They were keen to get to know and support me - it was lovely to even get messages and calls from lawyers I wasn’t directly working with. My supervisors and trainee buddy were great to have on hand to be able to ask questions and advice as well.

What are your tips for a successful vacation scheme?

Although I was based in the Property Team for most of the week, there were plenty of opportunities to learn more about other areas of law. We were lucky to have interactive seminars on various areas including innovation, pensions and employment. These were valuable because it gave us an insight into the work the firm was doing as a whole and the diverse culture of the firm. Everyone was open to us asking questions or just having a chat: a tip I would give to future summer students is to take advantage of this. Despite working at home, it was so easy to send a message or email - everyone was so willing to help! Through doing this I got to hear some more about renewables and secondment opportunities which I am keen to be involved with in my future career.

Another tip I would give to any future Summer Students is to make the most of social opportunities as there is such a team culture at Burness Paull.  As a summer student, we were asked to organise a social for our teams, which was such a worthwhile opportunity to meet some more of the staff as well as have some fun. The trainees also put on a great social involving a cocktail class and quiz: which was relaxed and an excellent way to connect with more people in the firm and my fellow summer students too. I would also recommend that future summer students keep an eye on their Outlook calendar to make sure that they don’t miss any networking opportunities and other events they could participate in.

For anyone who is thinking they would be interested in a career in a Commercial Law, I would highly recommend applying to Burness Paull. I had such an insightful experience and I am delighted to be joining the Edinburgh office as a trainee in 2022!