Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP

Address: 50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9WJ

Web: www.burnesspaull.com

Email: hranddevelopment@burnesspaull.com


Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 ''I completed a summer placement and enjoyed the experience' 'the people are very friendly' 'I had a positive interview experience' 'it is growing, modern and seemed to have a good culture' 'a big firm with offices in various locations' 'the wide and diverse nature of the traineeship' 'good reputation' 'it is forward-thinking' 'they genuinely seemed to put their staff first'
Best thing about the firm? 
 ''There is a friendly environment' 'trainees are actively encouraged to take part in business development' 'the firm is great at hosting social events' 'everyone is approachable' 'the partners who are always willing to help' 'being a purely Scottish firm I've had the chance to work alongside City firms which I wouldn't have got going to a national firm with a Scottish office'
Worst thing about the firm? 
 ''The non-client-facing side of the office is dated' 'the work/life balance at times' 'as it is commercial law, it can be stressful' 'the firm could be better at reflecting trainees' preferred seat choices and locations' 'international secondment opportunities are fairly limited' 'the expectation that trainees should work late' 'the unpredictability of seat locations'
Best moment? 
 ''Being trusted to progress a funds transaction largely independently' 'the department away day' 'helping to complete a large property deal' 'getting real client contact and work which is challenging from day one' 'the office Christmas party' 'doing a difficult task and getting recognition that you have done well' 'being involved in one of the biggest property deals in Scotland'
Worst moment?
 ''Staying late trying to get documents agreed and feeling a bit out of my depth' 'accidentally saving over an existing document' 'working until after midnight and returning at 5am' 'receiving critical feedback on a piece of work' 'going to a networking event and not knowing a single person' 'feeling overworked in December' 'sending an email without the attachment''

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

James Bond - sexy, Scottish and working internationally

The Verdict

The firm

Burness Paull is a market-leading Scottish firm with a full commercial offering across the three main business cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The firm advises on a whole range of industry sectors and areas of business with extensive expertise in corporate, commercial, IP, property and planning, and finance, to name but a few. Around 40% of Burness Paull's work has an international element. 

The star performers

Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property Corporate and commercial; Corporate tax; Crime: fraud; Employment; EU and competition; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Local government; Pensions; Oil and gas; Personal injury: defender; Professional negligence; Projects; Property litigation; Unit trusts, OEICs and investment trusts.

The deals

Acted for BlueGem Capital Partners in its acquisition of fashion retailer Jack Wills; advised Brown-Forman Corporation on tax issues associated with its £285m acquisition of BenRiach Distillery Company; advised leisure company Speratus on securing a premises licence for the new Boozy Cow in Stirling; representing Ion Beam Services in a £10m cross-border dispute arising from the client's supply of a refurbished ion implanter; acted for Santander (CF Trustee) Limited as the lead counsel in its $75m cornerstone investment into ECP Africa Fund IV.

The clients

Barclays Bank; General Electric; Hard Rock Café Glasgow; Highlands and Islands Airport; Kings Park Capital; Royal Bank of Scotland; Signature Pubs; SSE; STV; The Insolvency Practice.

The Verdict

'Forward-thinking' Burness Paull has a 'strong presence in the Scottish market' and offers a 'variety of commercial work'. The firm's summer placement scheme received great acclaim and was often cited as a key factor in influencing the current trainees to join the firm. Recruits are enthusiastic about working with 'high-value clients' on 'work of a good quality' and getting 'real experience on important matters'. Trainees appreciate the 'structured training' which includes 'an intensive induction'. The firm's 'friendly, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere' is enjoyed by trainees, who appreciate the fact that Burness Paull 'does not seem to have a stuffy attitude' and 'there is no obvious hierarchy'. We hear that 'the firm is more of a focused business than an old-fashioned law firm' and trainees speak glowingly of the 'emphasis placed on the firm's brand' and on business development activities. Nevertheless, there were some grumbles about the 'uncertainty of seat choices' which is 'pretty much a lottery'. The working hours also frustrated trainees: 'not just are they late, they are so inconsistent'. On the plus side, standout moments include 'the relief of my first solo completion' and the 'diverse areas of work I've been involved in'. Trainees also like working in 'small, close-knit teams with a lot of intelligent, hardworking people', which helps to put things in perspective when you are 'stuck at the office at midnight printing documents for a meeting the following morning'. If you want to work for a 'modern, friendly and down-to-earth firm' with a 'good reputation and range of departments' where you can feel 'right at home the minute you walk into reception', apply to Burness Paull.

 A day in the life of...

Laura Fitzpatrick trainee solicitor, Burness Paull 

Departments to date:  Commercial property (Glasgow) and contentious construction (Edinburgh)

University:University of Glasgow 
Degree:LLB (Hons), 1st 

8.30am:  After a quick coffee stop, I'm usually at my desk for around 8.30am. Having noted down a list of actions before leaving the office the previous evening, I usually have a rough idea of what's in store for the day. I say 'a rough idea' because, as any trainee will know, our to-do lists are very much subject to change.

9.00am:  I have been assisting a colleague with a case and our client's defences are due to be lodged in court this week. Having taken instructions from the client and considered the supporting documents, we require some further information on a specific point of law. After a quick de-brief, I hit the books and the usual online sources - nothing like a tight deadline to put those university research skills to the test!

11.00am:  Having prepared the research note, it's time to join a conference call and help take a witness statement for an adjudication I have been assisting with. After the call finishes, I head back to my desk to pull together the draft statement and catch up on my emails. I note that we have received an interlocutor from the Court of Session containing a number of important dates. I mark these deadlines in the teams' diaries and call counsel's clerk to mark the next hearing in his diary.

1.00pm:  The morning has flown by and it's time for lunch. For me, this usually involves picking up a sandwich from across the road and catching up with my friends in the office. Once a month, we also have departmental training over lunch.

2.00pm:  We have received some correspondence from another firm of solicitors in relation to an ongoing action. Our respective clients have been trying to settle the matter and some new points have now been raised by the other side. I print off the additional documents and speak to my colleague about how we should progress. Our client sends us some further information and it is agreed that we will issue our response tomorrow after considering all of the supplementary documents. I download the material and prepare a first draft of our response.

3.30pm:  I have an internal meeting and am asked to assist the team with an ongoing arbitration. We've received a box of contract documents, plans, drawings and specifications. These need to be sorted in to a logical order with copies made and scans saved down to the system. With another meeting scheduled for tomorrow, I get to work.

4.15pm:  A colleague needs something taken up to the Court of Session urgently. I call a taxi immediately and deliver the documents to the advocates library. I email my colleague on the way back to the office and let her know that the documents got there in time.

4.45pm:  I get back to the office and see that my colleague has made some minor amends to our response. I update the letter accordingly and print this off so it's ready for tomorrow's post.

5.00pm:  After catching up on some more emails, I prioritise my outstanding tasks and make my to-do list for tomorrow (subject to change of course)! There's a few small pieces of work that I want to finish off before leaving for the evening so I make a cup of tea and tick them off my list.

About the firm

Address:50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9WJ

Telephone: 0131 473 6182




Managing partner : Ian Wattie

Total partners: 65

Other fee-earners:196

Total trainees:42

Other offices: Aberdeen, Glasgow. 

Who we are: We are a top-tier commercial law firm serving a UK and international client base from Scotland. At the last count we were advising clients in more than 60 jurisdictions.

What we do: We work across sectors that are vital to our economy, with a focus on oil and gas, financial sector, property and infrastructure, and corporate Scotland.

What we are looking for: We're looking for academically excellent, well rounded, focused and sharp individuals.

What you'll do:During your two-year traineeship you will have four stimulating six-month seats in four practice areas. We are also recognised for the quality of our extensive training programme.

Perks: Competitive salary; holiday entitlement; contributory pension plan; bonus scheme; life assurance; legal discounts; healthcare benefits, including a health cash plan; interest-free season ticket loans for commuting; reduced rates for city-centre car parking; cycle-to-work scheme.

Sponsorship:Payment of Diploma of Legal Practice.


Facts and figures

Training contracts available for 2020: 18

Applications received pa: 300 

Percentage interviewed: 20% 

Turnover in 2016: £53.3m (+4% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £449,000 (-6%)

 Application process

Apply to:Kerry Davis, graduate recruitment and development advisor.

How: Online.

Whats involved: See website for application process details.

When to Apply:See website for deadline dates.