Suzanne is a Partner in our Real Estate and Infrastructure team, based in Edinburgh. This month she celebrates her 20 year anniversary with us. In this short interview, she reflects on her career and her time at Morton Fraser so far.
Tell us about working at Morton Fraser?
In many ways it seems like yesterday that I attended the old Queen Street offices for my trainee interview back in September of 2001, but in other ways that seems like a lifetime (or at least half a lifetime!) ago. The Firm has evolved significantly since then, having significantly grown in size, opened in Glasgow, merged with other Firms, completed various office moves, and generally become a more sophisticated organisation, but the one thing that has remained constant is the culture, which has been nothing but friendly and supportive throughout my legal career. I recall at my trainee interview our then Chief Executive advising those attending that she was not looking for trainees that day, but for future partners of the Firm, and in my case that proved to be the case. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with many people who I now consider to be close friends, with many, many laughs along the way.
What type of work do you get involved in? / What is your favourite part of your role?
I focus on public sector development, which covers a range of specialisms across real estate, construction, public procurement, funding and governance. I work across a variety of sectors including affordable housing, culture & heritage and health. I enjoy becoming involved in work which fulfils a policy objective of Government, which makes me feel as though I have made some (small) contribution to wider society. For example, I have been involved in a number of targeted Government grant and loan schemes which have sought to fill a market failure in housing supply.
How has your role changed during your time at the firm?
Even though I have been with the Firm throughout my career, that doesn't mean that I have stood still. Starting as a trainee, I got the opportunity to work in a variety of seats, including litigation, where I fulfilled a short-lived dream of becoming Ally McBeal (a tv lawyer in the late 90s for any younger readers out there), before realising that transactional law was more my thing and qualified into a real estate role in 2005. Shortly after our move to Quartermile, I completed a year's secondment to the City of Edinburgh Council, during which time I started my focus on public procurement law, an area which I have specialised in ever since. I also tutored part-time at the University of Edinburgh Diploma in Legal Practice for a number of years. At Morton Fraser I worked my way through the ranks and was promoted to partner in 2016. Since then I have had two children and now work part time and flexibly. On return from my most recent maternity leave at the start of last year, I undertook a part time secondment to the in-house legal team at Historic Environment Scotland. It’s the variety that makes it interesting (and that's before you throw in the likes of the credit crunch and a global pandemic)!
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone looking to progress in your field?
One of my trainee managers once told me never to put off doing something today, because you never know what is going to hit your desk tomorrow. That was sage advice which I remind myself of regularly!
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