Our guest blog is penned by Lewis Raynor, a law student who spent a week in our Edinburgh office on a work experience placement. Thanks, Lewis!
Why spend a week with Gibson Kerr?
Over the past several years I have been fortunate enough to attend various work placements. However, none have compared to the hands-on experience I received at Gibson Kerr. As a law student, work experience is priceless. To be given such a hands-on experience by Gibson Kerr was marvellous. Prior to my placement I was looking to bolster my experience in the legal sector to help me decide in which area of law my future lies. This placement is ideal for anyone looking to better understand their future career options. It will also improve your knowledge of Personal or Property law and the manner in which firms conduct themselves.
Monday: Personal Law – helping a client plan for the future
I started the week in the personal law department with Lindsay. I was incredibly lucky to be able to sit in on a client meeting regarding wills and power of attorneys (POA). Not only was I able to observe Lindsay, but I was also tasked with note taking. This meant capturing fundamental details and the wishes of the clients. It also allowed me to understand the tremendous standard of care required when dealing with clients. Upon completion of the meeting, the process of will drafting was demonstrated to me. I was then challenged with drafting two wills and the corresponding cover letters myself. Lindsay graciously answered my questions and also provided me with valuable feedback on my drafts. I never imagined I would be able to draft a client will. The realisation that the draft will form the basis of the document eventually signed by the clients was surreal.
Tuesday: Property – making an offer on a property
Tuesday began with the opportunity to observe Elaine and the process of making an offer on a property. Elaine also outlined the process of sending the terms of engagement to a client and introduced me to the fee calculating process. I was lucky enough to observe Elaine handling various phone calls with clients and prospective clients. This further demonstrated the significantly high standard of client care required. Later in the day I was also able to observe the administrative steps required when handling a payment. Anna walked me through the whole process in tremendous detail and was more than willing to answer any questions. This was an aspect I had previously never contemplated; however, I now have an understanding of its importance and the key role an administrator plays in a work environment.
Wednesday: Personal Law – drafting a Power of Attorney
To my delight, I was again challenged with the drafting of two POAs and the corresponding cover letters. Lindsay had previously explained and demonstrated the process of drafting a POA and now it was my turn. Again this was invaluable experience that I never thought possible to obtain at my level.
Thursday: Property – the inner workings of the team
In the morning, once again I was able to observe Anna. This time the subject matter was the process of administering a purchase. Anna walked me through the process of completing a handover checklist step-by-step and explained the methodology behind her process. Next I joined the handover meeting between Beverley and Anna, in which they discussed any possible queries with the handover and how to procced.
During the day I also attended the monthly property team meeting. This gave me the chance to observe the inner workings of the team. Then later in the day, I shadowed Beverley while she completed the conveyancing handover. Finally it was my turn to draft a disposition and standard security.
This entire day gave me great insight into the process followed by the property department. I became aware of some aspects of purchasing or selling a property that I had previously never realised occurred.
What did I take from my week at Gibson Kerr?
I have received invaluable and priceless legal experience in private client and property law, that I never imagined I would have received. I was afforded various opportunities over the week to draft wills, POAs, dispositions, and other documents. At my disposal I had experts in their respective fields who have imparted knowledge that a classroom could never teach. This has given me valuable insight to consider when looking at career paths in the not-so-distant future and has absolutely made a career in personal law a possibility.
A main factor I will take away from this week was the relationships I have formed and the networking. The staff took time to make me feel welcomed and were always available to assist my learning and answer any questions. I have learnt what effective teamwork and communication looks like and that is truly priceless. Anna, Elaine, Victoria, and Rhian deserve a special mention as I was fortunate enough to share an office with them during my placement. As expected, there were nerves on the first day. However, they made me feel incredibly welcome and made the workspace one I was excited to come back to each day.
It’s rather sombre that I have reached the end of my time here. I would not hesitate at the chance to return. I would advise anyone who’s searching for a placement to come to Gibson Kerr for a multitude of reasons. Not only have I been afforded great legal experience, but I have met such an amazing group of individuals. It was an absolute delight to be a part of the Gibson Kerr team.
Everyone at Gibson Kerr would like to wish Lewis all the best in his future career, whichever direction he decides to take.
Please contact our friendly solicitors in Edinburgh and Glasgow if you’d like a chat about any of the areas of Lewis mentions.