Trainee Testimonials

Lewis Needle, Solicitor

My first experience with Stronachs was meeting lawyers from the firm who attended a 4th year careers insight event at my school, all the way back in 2013. Inspired by this, I completed a week’s work experience with the firm in 2015 as a 5th year pupil. I then returned in 2019, first to attend the firm’s engagement evening event, which allowed me to meet firm staff and gain further insight, and then to take part in the firm’s summer placement or vacation scheme as a 3rd year law student in the employment team. That summer, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to stay on with the firm as a residential property assistant where I stayed for a further 8 weeks, gaining a great deal of insight into the working life of a lawyer.

Having felt so welcome during my time at the firm, I applied for a traineeship as soon as I could, and found the experience to be much less burdensome than others. There were no time limited online forms to fill out, or extended days spent at test centres, but rather a simple application form and an interview. At said interview, I was made to feel immediately at ease by James Downie, Head of Energy, who was genuinely interested in getting to know who I was as a person and didn’t simply focus on my academic achievements or previous, sector specific experience. This spoke to the values Stronachs looked for in its staff, which meant I was overjoyed to receive a traineeship offer in October 2019, to be starting with the firm in September 2021.

I commenced the traineeship in the residential property team, and if you had told me when I was at university that my first seat would have been in property, when I was solely focussed on company law, competition law and corporate governance, I may not have been overly impressed. However, in hindsight, I would encourage anyone to jump at such an opportunity. From day one Lindsay Dron encouraged me to think and work independently, trusting me with client calls and meetings right from the offset. For some, this may seem daunting, but the support given to me during this time allowed me to quickly gain confidence in the work I was doing. During this first seat, I took clients from initial enquiry calls all the way through to the settlement of their house sale/ purchase. This experience in client contact and work load management has been invaluable and incredibly transferable, offering me a great start to the traineeship.

Following this, I was able to build upon my property experience with a move to the commercial property department for my second seat. Working alongside Emma Stephen, I furthered my understanding of property matters whilst also gaining greater experience with commercial contracts, something that would become very useful in the later stages of my traineeship. Emma, like all Partners within the firm, operated an ‘open door policy’ which meant I never felt like I could not seek assistance when required. Even though I am no longer in the team, I still feel I can go to Emma as a mentor, and I think this speaks volumes to the culture and ethos of Stronachs. It was also around this time when I started to get involved in the firm’s publications, writing articles for the firm’s website and also chapters for the firm’s publication ‘A Guide to the New Energies’. Writing these chapters has been a rare opportunity and has allowed me to attend industry specific events, such as ones focussed on offshore wind, with a level of specific and relevant knowledge I never would have expected to gain from a ‘legal’ traineeship.

My third seat was with the firm’s corporate team, and I have continued to work with the department while I complete my final seat, which is a blend of energy and corporate work. I can’t imagine there are many firms in Aberdeen, or the country, where you receive one to one training and tuition from the firms Managing Partner, but I am grateful to say this is exactly what has been provided to me by Neil Forbes. With his guidance, along with assistance from all other members of the team, from NQ to Partner level, I have been lucky enough to work on a range of matters including high value M&A deals, corporate reorganisations, contract reviews and industry advice notes, assisting a broad range of clients from a wealth of different industries. As with the other departments, the corporate and energy teams have trusted me to work independently, whilst always offering the support needed when and where required.

I can now happily confirm that I have accepted an NQ role with Stronachs’ corporate team, which will, by the time I qualify, mark the end of a decade’s worth of work to get to this stage from my first introduction to Stronachs all those years ago. Now, as I approach the end of a richly varied traineeship, I look forward to embarking on the next decade of my career, further developing as a Solicitor within Stronachs.

April 2023