What it’s like to be a Lawscot mentor and mentee

Julie Harris and Sangeeta Kaur

Julie Harris and Sangeeta Kaur

Setting out on her journey as a mentor with the Lawscot Foundation programme back in 2018, Julie Harris, partner and head of our personal injury team, was matched with Sangeeta Kaur, then a first-year student at the University of Stirling.

Established by The Law Society of Scotland, the Lawscot Foundation encourages social mobility and fair access to the legal profession, offering financial assistance, mentoring and other support to students during their law degree and diploma in professional legal practice.

With Sangeeta now in her final LLB honours degree year, Julie and Sangeeta look back at their mutually beneficial experience as mentor and mentee over the past four years.

Julie Harris

“My training as a mentor involved a brilliant course at The Law Society of Scotland’s offices which was run in conjunction with Project Scotland, a charity which supports young people. Soon after, I was matched with my mentee, Sangeeta, who was just beginning first year of the LLB degree at the University of Stirling. I remember feeling a bit nervous before our first meeting, as I knew that the role of mentor was going to be quite different from that of solicitor advising a client. I was probably going to be pushed out of my comfort zone! Sangeeta and I struck a rapport straight away, and it was lovely to see how excited and enthusiastic she was about starting the law degree.

Sangeeta is now in her honours year at university, and over the course of her degree we have discussed various queries relating to the course work, subject choices, methods of study and time management and prioritising. It has been a great opportunity to provide support and encouragement – also hopefully to reassure and give some perspective. It has been such a pleasure to mentor Sangeeta. She is so responsive, motivated and has a natural aptitude for the law. Mentoring has served to remind me that it is such a privilege to be a member of this profession. We can sometimes take for granted how interesting the work is and the difference we make to the lives of those whom we represent.

This month Sangeeta is doing a placement with my firm in order to gain some on-the-job experience in litigation. It has been great to meet face to face again. She has also been able to shadow and assist other solicitors within the firm, gaining an insight into both employment and personal injury law.

I would highly recommend the Lawscot Foundation mentoring programme to anyone who may be interested.”

Sangeeta Kaur

“When I began with the Lawscot Foundation and met my mentor Julie at the beginning of my first year of university, I was feeling nervous about the LLB course because it is demanding and at times can be very stressful. However, I felt more at ease because I had somebody to refer to, and Julie’s encouragement and support helped with my motivation throughout my law degree. She was able to give me advice on any uncertainties or queries I had throughout my studies, for example about coursework, how to decide on elective modules and how to establish good study techniques.

Currently in my final year, it is a busy time for me. However, having a mentor has made me feel less stressed. I felt overwhelmed with how to balance my dissertation and assignments with applying for placements. Julie gave me advice on how to stay organised by planning my time efficiently and prioritising tasks and projects. In addition, I had presumptions about the diploma application and believed it would be a lengthy and complicated process. However, Julie put me in touch with recent graduates (Heather Webster and Michelle Wilson) who work with her at Allan McDougall Solicitors, and they explained the process and reassured me.

In addition, the opportunity to do work experience with Julie at Allan McDougall Solicitors was beneficial. I enjoyed learning about how to utilise your law degree in a practical setting as this is very different from studying law at university. I was also able to gain experience with other lawyers in the team, including Gordon Milligan, Fiona Fraser and Alice Bowman. It was great to gain this first-hand, practical insight into personal injury and employment law.

Overall, the Lawscot Foundation and the mentoring programme are great opportunities and have supported me throughout my studies.”

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