However, in December of last year I began my time as Morton Fraser’s secondee at the Scottish Government. The change from being a trainee solicitor in the Corporate Department to a secondee in the Scottish Government Legal Directorate (SGLD)’s Commercial and Business Services Division was a considerable change, one which presented me with opportunities and challenges alike.
Since beginning my traineeship at Morton Fraser, I had worked for various clients in various departments. I had never worked solely for one client, seeing things directly from their perspective. So my period spent on the ‘other side’ of the business relationship to which I was used to was invaluable. Being on the client side of the table allowed me to better understand, first hand, what it is actually like to be a client and appreciate what they are looking for from their solicitors.
Being a secondee also allows an opportunity to create and strengthen bonds between firms and their clients. There is no better way of understanding the culture and requirements of a client than working for that organisation directly. This allows Morton Fraser to better understand and anticipate their clients’ needs, enhancing the services we provide to all of our clients.
I did find that the change from private practice to in-house took some adjusting. This was not helped by the fact that due to the unprecedented times in which we are currently living, I undertook the whole secondment virtually, from the comfort of my own home. As we have all learned over the past year, remote working presents many challenges, not least making it harder to build relationships with our colleagues. The fact that I began and ended my secondment without ever having met a GLSS colleague in real life was unusual, but it did not hold me back. Like so many businesses and organisations, the GLSS and their solicitors have adapted to allow the organisation to work well remotely and my new teammates could not have been more accommodating and supportive to make that transition as smooth as possible.
Obviously, nothing will quite beat looking into the whites of someone’s eyes when building a relationship, but I am quite confident that I was able to both build good relations with my new colleagues and also assist them at a very challenging time. I am sure that the new skills and unique perspective my secondment gave me will stand me in very good stead for my future career - I now know what it is like to be a client as I head towards the end of my traineeship, and will hopefully be able to pick up the good relationships I have built in person!