Rhona Stone - 10 weeks at McSherry Halliday – a student experience:

What is it like to do work experience with McSherry Halliday, you ask? Well, I’m going to give you an insight from the perspective of a postgraduate student taking on a 10 week placement at the firm. Oh, and I should also mention that this was a virtual placement. As we all know, not many people are going into the office just now – the word “Coronavirus” springs to mind. McSherry Halliday partnered up with the University of Strathclyde to offer a placement opportunity under the University’s “Work-Based Learning” elective. This elective is offered on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. The idea behind carrying out a placement in a firm is that students will get an insight into working with “real-life” clients and be able to apply what is learned from workplace activities to their day-to-day learning and development throughout the Diploma.

McSherry Halliday are an Ayrshire based law firm dealing with a range of matters. Louisa Doole, Associate Solicitor at the Irvine office, offered to take me under her wing for 10 weeks. The Irvine office deals with the likes of conveyancing, matrimonial affairs, private client and more… so there is a lot to experience! The University requires you to carry out 40 hours of work so I decided to do the placement over 10 weeks, working half days on a Thursday.

Over the weeks, I’ve been shown how to navigate the Law Cloud system which is used by the firm. From this, I’ve been able to set up new client files myself and carry out tasks for other files. I’ve also had the opportunity to draft the likes of letters, Qualified Acceptances and deeds, along with documents for the cashroom, and observing virtual client meetings. The placement has also given me an insight into the effect the pandemic has had on the legal sector and the changes which have had to be made to accommodate this. An example of this being the amended legislation to allow for legal documents to be witnessed and notarised virtually – something which was not permitted previously. Although it has been a shame not to be able to carry out the placement in person, it has definitely been worthwhile! Who knows where we will be in a few months’ time – work might still be online so having had the experience of it prior to starting what might be a virtual Traineeship will be extremely useful. It seems as though flexible working arrangements will be something which continue as we come out of the pandemic as well!

If you have the opportunity to carry out the Work-Based Learning elective at Strathclyde, I would highly recommend that you do so!

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