Trainee Testimonials

Annika Neukirch, Senior Associate

Prior to beginning my traineeship at Stronachs, I studied law at the University of Aberdeen. I found Aberdeen to be a great place to live, and was delighted when Stronachs offered me a traineeship starting in September 2014.

Although I was nervous on my first day, it helped that I had met the other new trainees in advance, and that everyone went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. During the first week there was a firm-wide social event, and everyone from support staff to the partners made an effort to talk to us and to get to know us.

Although Stronachs is one of the largest full-service law firms in the North-East, and has staff across two buildings in Aberdeen, and also an office in Inverness, I still found it easy to get to know everyone. There are several firm-wide social events throughout the year, such as the summer barbeque and the annual quiz night, with the highlight being the firm Christmas party, at which the trainees perform a sketch for the rest of the firm. This is a great way to get to know the other trainees, as it requires planning and rehearsals. In addition to the firm-wide events, there are many other opportunities to get involved, including bake sales, the annual ‘Ride the North’ bike ride, and our regular after work drinks.

My traineeship began in the Employment team. I was a little nervous because I had not studied employment law at university, but I was really made to feel part of the team, and was involved in a broad range of matters from day one which really helped me to develop an understanding of the law. While it was initially daunting to work in an area of which I had no prior knowledge, it was so much easier to learn through practice than from a textbook. I loved my first seat and already had an inkling that this might be an area which I might want to qualify into.

One of the great things about working for Stronachs is that, as a full service firm, trainees get the opportunity to move to different seats every six months. I was able to suggest which teams I wanted to work in, and went on to have seats in the Private Client and the Corporate teams. Stronachs encouraged me to experience as many different areas of law as possible before deciding on one to specialise in, and this was great advice because I found that the practice is often very different to what you learn at university.

It has also been rewarding to feel my confidence in my abilities grow, and to see that reflected in the increased responsibilities that I was given as I moved through my traineeship. While it can be challenging to be faced with new tasks for the first time, there is always someone who is willing to help and provide advice and constructive feedback. The partners cultivate an ‘open-door’ policy, and it is great to be able to seek their input and guidance.

After my third seat, it was clear to me that my work in the Employment team had been my favourite, and so for my final seat I asked to return to the team. It was a very different experience coming back compared to when I initially began, as I was familiar with the people and the processes, and after a couple of weeks it felt like I had never left. I was delighted to be offered an NQ position with the Stronachs Employment team, and am very excited to continue my work with them as a qualified solicitor.