When I was first asked to write this blog about what I have been doing in the year that has passed since receiving my offer of a traineeship with Gilson Gray, my first reaction was shock. How can a year have passed already? Perhaps I am getting old and a year is no longer a seemingly infinite unit of time… or perhaps having the weight of securing a training contract lifted from my shoulders allowed me to have a more enjoyable year. Time flies as they say.
In the days after receiving my traineeship, I went to Barcelona for a week with my girlfriend. What could have been a rather sombre holiday was mercifully thrust into a weeklong celebration by this news. Gilson Gray is a firm that I knew I could fit in at and thrive in, and it was incredibly satisfying knowing that the 6 years of work I had put in at university had paid off.
More or less as soon as I landed back in Scotland, it was time to head back to Aberdeen (where I did the LLB) to begin the DPLP. I had heard mixed reviews about the DPLP at all providers in Scotland, though I must say that my experiences were only positive. The course is a refreshing change from the LLB. The first degree gives you a technical foundation of the law which, of course, is important. However, the DPLP allows you to develop this foundation into a level of practical knowledge. It does its best to prepare you for the day-to-day tasks in practice.
Moreover, the DPLP exposes you to practice areas that, otherwise, you may never have come across in your career. For example, all students are required to participate in Litigation courses. A lot of people may have avoided this at all costs if it were optional. I for one certainly would have. Public speaking was not (putting in mildly) something I enjoyed prior to completing the DPLP. However, obligating you into these opportunities forces you to try new things and, by the end of the academic year, I began to really enjoy speaking in front of a mock Court or my peers.
The summer after the DPLP was a big one; my final 3-month summer. The type that only school and university affords you. As my girlfriend was still working, I stayed in Aberdeen for the majority of the summer. However, that did not stop me making the most of it. I got a part-time job at a golf course in Balmedie which kept time ticking. Playing golf for free on one of the best courses in Scotland every day was a satisfying perk of the job! Similarly, I spent a great deal of time organising an annual golf day with a group of friends from home in St Andrews which has been running for 5 years now. Safe to say I didn’t win, nevertheless it was a great day when it came around. I also went to Malta for 10 nights with my girlfriend which was incredible. The food, people, weather and experiences were all second-to-none and I will be sure to go back. Oh, the company was great too (I’ll get a thick ear if I don’t mention that).
The final week of the summer was spent moving into my new flat in Edinburgh – a city I did not know well at all but am coming to love extremely quickly. There is so much to do and see, especially with the Fringe Festival being on. That week was topped by the annual Gilson Gray BBQ, held in the Rutland Square Gardens. This was my second time getting to go and it really is a brilliant day. Seeing my soon-to-be colleagues out of the office with a beer in hand was a great way to get to know them and settle the nerves a bit. It meant that on my first day (the Monday immediately after) I had already spoken to many of the people at the firm and, genuinely, they are all great.
So, that brings me to now. At the time of writing, I have been at the firm for 4 full days. It has been a massive learning curve, but a massively enjoyable one at the same time. The amount of responsibility you get from day one is really exciting. Within 30 minutes of sitting at my desk, which is in the Commercial Real Estate department, I was on the phone carrying out tasks for my team. Whilst it may be daunting initially, you soon become excited by it and hungry for more.
Overall, I have a great year and the first week of my traineeship with Gilson Gray has been the most satisfying part of it. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with my new firm!