My name is David MacLellan, I am currently part way through my LPC at The University of Law in Leeds. When I finish I am hoping to get a training contract at a successful independent law firm like Stamp Jackson and Procter (SJP).
From the outset of the vacation scheme you know how beneficial the experience is going to be, but that does not quite prepare you for how impactful it really is. The scheme itself is masterfully thought out. Organised as a mini training contract you rotate between the firm’s company commercial, commercial property and compensation departments. On day one, you get a welcome pack with procedures, instructions, and general information about the city of Hull. In each seat you then sit in with directors and senior solicitors from each department, and although you are tasked with your own exercises (work that trainee solicitors would do on a daily basis), sitting in with them and immersing yourself in that environment really teaches you more in two weeks than most courses at law school.
In commercial property, unlike at law school, you get to really learn about the practical side of the profession. Naturally the exercises are very transactional, and you get to see how you would approach giving advice to clients about property purchases or leases, and what you would have to consider practically when doing so. In addition, you get to hear and experience how that kind of work is carried out in real time around you, which lets you appreciate just how dynamic commercial property really is.
Company commercial was an area of law I thought I knew really well. Again, from law school you presume that it is fairly mechanical in practice, in respect of it being naturally very business orientated. It was quite surprising, and exciting, to then realise just how personable it really can be. In part you glean that from the tasks you are assigned, but also again from just being able to listen to and be a part of the environment around you. SJP works with owner managed businesses, and you really appreciate just how advisory focused it can be in practice, and how involved you are on a day to day basis with any one business or individual. The sheer scope of the work is also impressive, allowing you to apply your trade in most areas of law and business, which keeps things really interesting.
Compensation also took me by surprise. SJP has a very highly regarded practice that focuses on high value work, which is an area of law that they just do not teach at school, so every minute was a brand new experience. I never would have thought that I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. They really let you dive right in, and take a crack at analysing cases, giving you a real sense of just how important the work is and how rewarding it can be.
Altogether what made the experience that much better was just how welcoming the firm was. People really go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and they were always happy to answer your unending amount of questions about life in practice, the departments they worked in, or about the firm itself.
The city was also incredible. Hull was awarded the culture capital of the UK in 2017, and it is not hard to see why. It is a city that is rich in history with a vibrant downtown culture which you get to experience, whether by going out to lunch with the solicitors and staff, or drinks at the end of the evening. It is a city that is on the rise, and it is the perfect place to start your career.