Life as a Trainee: Laura McClinton
My journey with the firm started when I had already graduated from the University of Dundee with a Dual Qualifying (Scots/ English) Law Degree. I wasn’t sure whether I would go back to Northern Ireland or stay in Scotland so I took an opportunity at an International Law Firm as a Legal Analyst in Glasgow. This role not only cemented my decision to work in law but to stay in Scotland.
Summer placements are not only about finding out if you would be a good fit for the firm, but they are also for you to find out if the firm is a good fit for you. When I took part in the Burness Paull placement I couldn’t believe how welcoming and approachable everyone was. I spent three weeks with the Dispute Resolution and Employment teams and three weeks with the Corporate Finance and Banking teams. All of the teams were really keen to get me involved in a variety of tasks and I never felt like a hindrance to the team, in fact most people loved to have 10 minutes for a coffee and a chat (something as a trainee I can definitely relate to now!)
After accepting a traineeship offer, I completed my Diploma at the University of Glasgow and also worked part-time in the Burness Paull Glasgow office as a Facilities Assistant between Reception and Records Management. This was a fantastic opportunity to get to know many of my colleagues across the offices, as well as clients. When people think of law firms they always think of the Harvey Spector type going out and getting deals done but a law firm is made up of so many other non fee-earner teams. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to call IT, print room and my PA – they are such a valuable part of the Burness Paull team.
When I started my traineeship in September 2019, my first seat was with one of the Glasgow Commercial Property teams. On my first week I attended a client ball, thankfully all those Law Balls meant that I had a few dresses in the back of the wardrobe for such an occasion! I wasn’t particularly interested in property law, having done both Scottish and English property law at university, however, this seat was brilliant. The team were fantastic and the actual work was interesting and varied - no two days were the same. I had the opportunity to get involved in big projects and run some smaller projects by myself. As a seat it was a fantastic opportunity to get a well rounded insight into how property interacts with many other departments, such as banking and tax.
For my second seat I had the opportunity to go on secondment to The Weir Group PLC. The firm has some excellent secondments with clients including Aberdeen Standard, Scottish Power and EDF Energy. Unfortunately, two weeks into the seat the nationwide lockdown commenced so this became a virtual secondment, however the team made sure I was still kept busy and involved. This Secondment was a fantastic opportunity to work on an international scale and get involved in a wide variety of tasks ranging from IP to company secretarial to employment. I would definitely recommend a secondment to any trainee, it gives you a great perspective of how private practice firms, such as Burness Paull, can work better to meet the clients’ needs and also helps widen your professional network.
My third and current seat is with the Employment team in Edinburgh. I am only a month in and I have already had the opportunity to get involved in a variety of different projects. The last two years with Burness Paull have absolutely flown by and I am looking forward to the next five months with the Employment team and wherever my final trainee seat will be. If you want to join a firm where trainees are given a great level of responsibility and exposure to work, a diverse and well-rounded work load, all whilst in a very approachable and supportive working atmosphere, I would definitely recommend applying to the Burness Paull Summer Placement programme.