Name: Jamie Meechan
Position: Trainee solicitor
Hobbies: Music, Film and TV
Current department: Employment
Number of TC applications made and interviews attended: 5/3
Why did you decide to train as a solicitor?
I wasn’t one of those people who always knew they were destined for a career in the law, but instead knew that I wanted to go to university and found that the subjects I enjoyed at school seemed to lend themselves to a law degree (my fear of blood shattered any hopes of becoming a doctor). At university, and after having various spells of work experience, it became clear that I wanted to train as a solicitor.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when trying to secure a training contract?
Identifying a way to stand out from the crowd/the other applicants – you have to be remembered, why should the firm hire you over someone else with similar academic results? Articulating ‘commercial awareness’ was not always the easiest of tasks either.
What was the toughest training contract interview question you were asked (at any firm) and how did you answer?
I always found the “why have you chosen to apply to us” questions difficult, or at least found it difficult to answer this without sounding artificial and as if I was reciting excerpts from the website.
I always knew why I wanted to work for a full service commercial law firm, but genuinely distinguishing one such firm from the other was sometimes difficult without any real inside knowledge of the firm. Summer placements and work experience can really help in that regard, and indeed many of the trainees joining us next year will have come through our summer placement schemes.
Tell us a bit about the type of work handled by the department you’re in at the moment…
In the employment department we act for both employers and employees and so provide advice and representation on both sides of the employment relationship. We advise on a whole range of employment matters – from reviews of employment contracts and policies to high value TUPE transfers and complex discrimination issues, and we provide advice to clients across the whole range of our sector groups – from charities and the third sector to the retail sector.
We are a Scottish based firm but have clients based throughout the UK and so represent clients at tribunals north and south of the border.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your job?
Always learning new things and being part of a great team are certainly some of the enjoyable aspects of the job. For me, ultimately, client satisfaction and knowing that your hard work is appreciated is what makes the job worthwhile.
What about your job didn’t you expect before you started?
I didn’t expect the exposure to clients, or the encouragement to get involved in business development and bringing in new clients. At MacRoberts we have a ‘MacRoberts Network’ group for the junior lawyers in the firm where we meet to discuss our networking and business development activities. Building good and meaningful relationships is key to a successful career in the law and so getting started on this at an early stage is essential.
During my time in the private client department I was also asked to find a home for a turtle shell that we took possession of during the administration of an estate – I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting a task like that before I started!
Who’s the most recent email in your inbox from, and what’s it about?
An email from a client confirming that they would like to go ahead with a retainer proposal I had sent across to them.
Where’s the best place to go to get your office’s gossip?
That would most likely be the café – whether it be at end of month office drinks, or lunchtimes – not that I ever gossip.
Describe your training partner in three words.
Helpful, knowledgeable and approachable.
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).
I spent a weekend in the same field as Kanye West and the Dalai Lama
I am a previous winner of ‘employee of the month’
I share a birthday with the Queen
If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
It took me long enough to decide on a first choice of career, I didn’t really choose a second! I have however always quite liked the idea of running my own business.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in law?
Get as much experience as possible (legal or otherwise), work hard and don’t expect to always know the answers straight away.