Life as a Trainee and becoming fully qualified during lockdown – Top tips for aspiring solicitors
Congratulations to our esteemed colleague Ross Baron, who has qualified as a Solicitor this week after spending two years as a Trainee.
His qualification could not have come at a stranger time after having spent the last few months of his traineeship working from home during lockdown.
This week Ross discusses his journey into becoming a Solicitor and offers his top tips for other Trainees out there.
Ross says: “It has been difficult because I’m so used to being in the office with a close-knit team, where we would all bounce different ideas off one another.
“But it has also been positive in the fact that I have been forced to be that bit more independent and to take on more responsibility.
“I have been involved with a number of commercial property issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept me busy.
“I have been responsible for serving Irritancy Notices where tenants have failed to pay rent and I have also assisted landlords and tenants to amend their existing leases to accommodate businesses being close.
“Whilst it has been a relief to be over the finish line, there’s still a lot of work to do and this is just the start of the rest of my career.
“I am looking forward to developing my own caseload and continuing to act for clients that I have done so throughout the traineeship. I am also looking forward to welcoming new clients along the way.”
Ross was inspired to become a solicitor when a former flatmate began studying law and he became intrigued by the subject.
He spent the next four years studying his law degree in Dundee and abroad for one year in Turkey.
Ross recalled: “I had previously studied another subject and found I did not like it very much. I was more interested in technical aspects, analysing things and finding solutions to problems.
“My flatmate at the time studied law and that is ultimately when I decided I was going to study it also.”
He moved back to Edinburgh and reached out to Watermans Legal. Soon after he became the first ever Trainee Solicitor for the company in 2018.
Reflecting on his past two years at Watermans Legal, Ross said: “Being part of a small knit team has allowed me to carve out my own area of work.
“I have been involved in a wide variety of areas of law and it’s been quite a unique traineeship.
“One of the main highlights was being involved in the purchase of our office in Dock Place.
“That was in the first few weeks of my traineeship and I was thrown in the deep end, which was a great experience and helped me to learn a lot.”
Ross feels most passionately about being involved in litigation and commercial property cases.
“With litigation I enjoy the drafting aspects and being able to find a solution for our clients when they find themselves in some difficult situations” Ross admits. “It is about being able to find a solution that the clients ultimately will be happy with.
“With commercial property, whether it’s the clients that are well established and progressing their business, or new clients who are just starting out, I enjoy helping them on the first steps in new commercial ventures.”
So, what routine has Ross been following during lockdown?
Ross said: “I try and get up as early as possible, make sure I get a good breakfast in me and set up my work station at the dining room table.
“I work until around lunchtime then make sure I go out for a walk at lunch, even when it’s raining.
“I have also been in the office once or twice each week because that’s still a big part of what we do.”
Ross’ top tips for Trainee Solicitors
Be Proactive – Ross says: “Start early in your university course to seek opportunities for work experience. A lot of the firms start recruiting for summer placements early so be proactive in that.”
Make the most of extracurricular activities – “Don’t forget any clubs or societies that you’re involved in, all of that will pay dividends at some point. It’s good to have on your CV.”
Keep on top of industry updates – “Think about what area of law you want to work and make sure you are up to date with law changes and industry updates.”
Think of the location you want to work – “There is work to be had throughout Scotland and a lot of the traineeships in Edinburgh and Glasgow go pretty quickly because there is a high demand for them. But there is still good quality experience to be found around the Sheriffdoms, particularly around the local Sheriff Courts.”
Scott Whyte, Managing Director at Watermans, said: “At Watermans Legal we have a fantastic balance between youth and experience in our team.
“Ross falls into the former camp, although his experience during his traineeship has prepared him as a well-grounded Solicitor, who I am sure will have a very successful legal career.
“He has worked extremely hard through university and during his traineeship and should be very proud of his achievement in qualifying as a Solicitor. I hope he will continue his excellent progress.”
Posted by Lisa Boyle