31st July 2019

How being a Legal Intern has helped me

I’m pretty sure the last thing you would expect to happen on a hot summer’s day in a pub is receiving a phone call that will kick-start your legal career sooner than expected. This happened to me and, unknown to me at the time, it was a phone call that would benefit me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Now I know what you are thinking, it was just a call offering you an Internship within the Executries department, how could this benefit you in more ways than you could have ever imagined? Let me answer this for you by highlighting three of the most important ways of how being an Intern in Blackadders has helped me. Sit back, grab a cuppa (and maybe a snack, treat yourself!) and continue reading.

1. Support

One of the most beneficial things about being an Intern at Blackadders is the support I have received. Upon commencement of my Internship, I spent one-week receiving training on various aspects of the firm, such as the systems and procedures used. This was a great start for me as it eased me into the role and provided me with a concrete introduction to the firm. During my first week, I was also assigned a mentor who, during my Internship, has provided a great deal of support, help and advice. She always made sure that I knew what I was doing and, during the more stressful moments, was on hand to lighten the mood with some impressions – whether they would receive the Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell is questionable but they certainly did the trick!

My mentor was not my only source of support during my Internship, however. The Learning & Development department was always available for a quick chat or some advice, whether it be how to insert a table in Microsoft Word or how to be more confident in your work, they were always willing to help. I remember starting my Internship and pressuring myself to be the best I could be and never make mistakes, almost like Elle Woods pressuring herself to make it into Harvard Law School – although that was for a very different reason.  A member of the Learning & Development team talked matters through with me and, over time, I have grown a great deal not only as an Intern but as a person. My confidence in my abilities at work has increased but, not only that, my confidence in everyday life has increased.

Finally, Blackadders has an incredibly positive working environment where every member of staff supports each other. When I started as an Intern, everyone in the department was incredibly helpful and supportive – as I was reminded daily, there is no such thing as a stupid question! I felt like I had always been a part of not just the Executries team, but of the Firm, and everyone was welcoming – in essence, I felt at home here. I have formed friendships with many colleagues since I started my Internship here, who have provided a strong support network for me, and that is something I will always be thankful for.

2. Networking

At University, particularly while studying the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, I was taught about the importance of networking in your legal career. As someone who, admittedly, can be socially awkward, networking is something that I have always found difficult. Being an Intern at Blackadders has helped me greatly in terms of growing my confidence in networking.  Firstly, I have been able to liaise with many different departments during my time in the Executries department and secondly, there are many different social events whereby you can interact with members of staff you would not usually meet in your everyday work.

Two such social events are the Blackadders Friday Club and the annual Christmas Party. I found these to be a great way to meet colleagues from all departments and build a rapport with them. Friday Club is a social event which usually occurs on the last Friday of each month. Colleagues from all departments gather in a local bar to relax and get to know each other over a beverage or two (or ten, swiftly followed by a cheeky McDonalds!). Personally, the Christmas Party greatly improved my confidence in networking as colleagues from all offices, not just Dundee where I was based, attend. I must say that the festive atmosphere definitely helps matters but it is a great way to meet new people and build a network. You could compare it to the Yule Ball in Harry Potter, minus the thought of the dreaded Triwizard Tournament.

3. Handling difficult situations

Finally, being an Intern has taught me how to handle difficult situations. I remember while studying the Diploma being taught that every client is very different and how it is important to personalise the service given to each individual client, but I never really understood how this could be done. From my own personal experience working in the Executries department, I understood that the clients were going through a very difficult and emotional time. I learnt very quickly to adopt a compassionate and patient approach with each individual so that the Executry process was made as easy as possible for them.

I personally feel that handling difficult situations is something that can only be learnt from experience, there is no magic spell that will teach you this.

In summary…
To summarise, my Internship here at Blackadders has taught me so much, helped me grow as an individual and provided the perfect platform for me before starting my Traineeship. Through the support I have received during my Internship I have grown in confidence, not only in my legal abilities, networking, handling difficult situations but also personally. If you had asked me at the start of my Internship whether I could write a blog about my experience, I would not have had the confidence to do so. However, due to my personal growth during my Internship, I have written this blog in the hope that it will inspire others to consider becoming an Intern. Personal growth is a journey and I have by no means completed it yet, however my Internship has greatly helped me along the path.

I am eternally grateful to Blackadders for giving me this opportunity and I would highly recommend being a legal intern to anyone. I would like to round this blog off with a quote from Elle Woods: ‘Most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.’

Blythe Petrie,
Legal Intern (Future Trainee Solicitor)
Blackadders LLP



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