By Dundee Alumni and Diploma Student Kate Scarborough
During August and September 2020 I had the privilege of being the Summer Intern at Scottish Legal News. I’m grateful that the Dundee International Law Society has invited me to write this and share my experience.
By way of an introduction, the Scottish Legal News is Scotland’s largest daily legal publication. It publishes a daily newsletter by email (if you’re not already subscribed I would highly recommend it), as well as posting on its website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. Its sister publications include Irish Legal News, Scottish Financial News, and Scottish Construction News. Its main office is on South Tay street, just a few roads down from our main University campus. The publication includes stories from all across the legal profession and there are a number of different sections, such as the ‘Our Legal Heritage’ section which looks at historical cases and legal stories, a daily case report from a recent case of interest, and a light-hearted shorter story in the ‘And Finally…’ section. Each story is kept relatively short so that it is easy for busy law professionals to read through quickly and be updated on current affairs. Reading the articles on a regular basis will give you a fantastic overview of the legal profession and help with your commercial awareness.
My role as Summer Intern was a lot more hands-on than I anticipated and I was delighted to find that I was shown the ropes and was writing articles on day one. Arrangements for the internship were slightly different to normal due to the pandemic, but I was able to go into the office for the first couple of weeks to be trained by Connor, the editor who is normally responsible for the Irish Legal News. I was surprised when I found out that the team for the group of publications is so small, they all work very hard to produce the level of content they publish. The team encouraged me to be fully involved in the process from start to finish. I was researching to find stories, reaching out to contacts for comments, writing up articles, and editing. On a couple of occasions I was even allowed to press the button to publish! As time went on I was able to get much quicker and I was producing a number of articles each day. I also transitioned to working from home for the remainder of the internship, but thanks to instant messaging I had plenty of support from Kapil, editor of SLN, and the rest of the team.
My time at SLN gave me an incredible insight into the legal profession as each day I was aware of the key updates, changes, and news from law firms big and small, the government, and the courts. It also gave me an understanding of journalism, something I had never experienced before. Many of the skills I had developed in my undergrad degree, such as attention to detail, research skills, and time management were really useful and if you are contemplating a career outside of law then journalism might be worth your consideration. The other major benefit to working at SLN was getting visibility within the profession. My name was attached to many of the articles I wrote and there were a couple of pieces published to announce me as intern. This type of exposure and publicity can be really helpful when trying to make connections within the profession. Further, it looks great on my CV!
Some of my favourite articles I wrote were for the ‘Our Legal Heritage’ series including “The adulterous judge who had his troublesome wife kidnapped and exiled to St Kilda”, “The Scots contract case that influenced English Law”, and “The lamb that strayed too far from home”. I was also involved in writing a profile piece about Legable, a new platform which provides information for current and prospective law students from less advantaged backgrounds to support them in their legal journey. These pieces, along with many others I was involved in, can all still be found on the SLN website.
Opportunities such as these do exist and if you’re lucky enough to come across something like this I would highly recommend you go for it. Even though the work was not directly related to law, I definitely gained skills from my time at SLN that will be invaluable moving forward with my career.