Understanding the client’s perspective

I am a trainee in the Scottish offices and am about to qualify into our Projects & Transactional Services team. As part of my traineeship there was a secondment position open to trainees with ScottishPower Renewables (“SPR”). This was a new position open to second year trainees.

Having spoken with Fraser McMillan, the Partner responsible for the secondment, and a lawyer who had recently returned from secondment, I found out a bit more about the post including the type of work I would be involved with and the role I would have.

As I was about to enter my second year and had completed my first seat in Corporate and my second seat in the Projects & Construction department, I had the required experience. I was also keen to gain further exposure in transactional work, therefore I felt that this was a great opportunity for me to gain that experience. I was successful in my application and became part of the in-house legal team at Cathcart, Glasgow.

I was part of a close knit team which consisted of the UK Legal Director, Principal Solicitor, Paralegal, Legal Assistant and Administrator together with three other secondees. My role was primarily to assist the legal team wherever that was required, therefore the scope of the work that can pass your desk is of a wide variety and often poses a challenge.

A key part of my workload was to provide corporate secretarial assistance, which required me to become familiar with the companies that are part of the SPR group and to be able to respond to requests quickly in this fast paced environment. My time with the corporate department was a great help with this part of my role where I was aware of the basic role of a company secretary including the necessary filings and resolutions required for the day to day running of a company.

Further to this I assisted with the bread and butter work of any energy lawyer, including assisting with grid connections, power purchase agreements and radar agreements. Then there were the more unusual aspects to assist with, including drafting a demolition agreement, a tree planting agreement for the provision of habitat management areas adjacent to a large windfarm and negotiating the agreement for lease for the world’s largest consented tidal demonstration project.

It is an extremely busy team where everyone has a high workload therefore you must be proactive and organised in order to meet the demands not only of the legal team but also the wider business to which the legal team provide a service.

The secondment provided me with a crucial insight into how businesses operate and of the commercial issues that affect our clients. It has improved my core skills and has been a fundamental influence on my chosen career path

This opportunity gives you a great insight into being an in-house lawyer in comparison to private practice and develops your project management and transactional skills. It is a rolling secondment opportunity therefore a trainee interested in this opportunity can tailor their seat choices and experience appropriately (trainees with a background in Corporate, Planning & Environment and/or Construction). If you are keen to work with one of the world’s largest renewables companies and with a key client for 6 months, this is the ideal opportunity for you.