Chris Comfort, Partner
Having worked as a student with the firm whilst at Aberdeen University, undertaken a Traineeship with the Firm and qualified as a solicitor in May 2012, I am currently a Partner within our City Centre Property Department.
I have to say that the training I received from Aberdein Considine has been second to none. It has been challenging at times, as it is not a Firm that let you just do a bit of photocopying or drafting to be checked and re-written. If you want to be retained as a qualified solicitor you have to prove to the Firm that you’re capable by being hands-on with the legal work right from the outset. That approach worked very well for me as the ever increasing responsibility during the traineeship meant that there was no shock to the system on qualification.
I always felt that support was there and the “open-door” policy, mentor system and social events coupled with the down-to-earth attitude of the partners was really helpful. I was struck by how approachable everyone up to and including the partners were. I was also impressed that the mantra within the firm is that it is as important to be able to relate to clients as it is to be good at the legal work, and that I was encouraged (and rewarded) to be involved in the development of the Firm itself, in terms of marketing and looking to bring in more business.
So whilst there was a lot of hard work involved, I could feel it was paying off at key points throughout my traineeship. Most notably, when returning to Aberdeen University during my Traineeship to attend the (formerly requisite) Professional Competency Course, I found my hands-on experience of the job helped me immensely in comparison with my fellow trainees from other firms.
The main thing that stands out from my time working at Aberdein Considine is that, while the academic side of the job is very important and you need to be able to “walk before you run”, you also get a high level of responsibility from the outset. You need to be able to communicate with clients, colleagues and a host of other people on their level, from a Managing Director of an Oil Company to a nervous first time buyer. Not only do you have to do all that “law and lawyering”, but you also need to involve yourself with the things a smaller firm might not do and a bigger firm might have someone do for you.
Having read this you may wonder why I and my fellow ex-trainees on this page are still here? Given the training and level of experience at such a young age we could all have disappeared off to other firms, set up on our own, or (living in Aberdeen) sidestepped into the “Oil and Gas” industry. Well, the answer is fairly obvious. Whilst hard work, this not one of those jobs that turns you into a burnt-out, heavy-eyed jobsworth, dragging yourself in resentfully every morning and struggling to keep your eyes open when travelling home at night, trying to imagine what colour that plant in your garden would be in the daylight. The variety of work means every day is different and a new challenge. The Firm also recognises the importance of a healthy work / life balance, and that its staff need a life outside of work.
It may sound clichéd but at Aberdein Considine you are not just a trainee, you are the future of the Firm. In retrospect all those extra things you do, which can appear a burden at the time, are there to make you a better lawyer; one who does not just churn out paperwork but one who can bring business to the firm, manage their own caseload and not only generate fees but also obtain the gratitude of the clients at the end of the day.