Madeleine Gill

About me

Law LLB and Diploma in professional legal practice graduate. I am currently a paralegal and Future Trainee Solicitor at Shepherd and Wedderburn.

Left school

June 2017

Senior Phase

In S4 I achieved National 5 (SCQF level 5) in Maths, English, Business Management, History, French, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

In S5 I achieved Higher (SCQF level 6) Maths, English, Business Management, Chemistry and Physics.

In S6 I achieved Higher (SCQF level 6) Admin & IT, Advanced Higher (SCQF level 7) Business Management and Physics.

Choosing my Destination

I turned to family friends in the industry, and my subject and pupil support teachers. It really helps to get an idea of what a career could be like by hearing a realistic account of someone’s experience. It’s also worthwhile speaking to staff whose job is to guide you through your choice of careers - that’s what they’re there for. I went to university open days for courses even if I had no initial interest in them. I discovered what I wanted to do by picking a subject on the open day brochure that I thought sounded fun - I’d never considered actually doing it before then. 

Extra Curricular & Work Experience

I worked in a pharmacy throughout S6 - it was my first job so it taught me a lot about working with the public, especially in a professional environment. I learned to listen and communicate with all manners of people, be patient when customers were panicked, and be understanding to the concerns and issues raised. These are all very transferable and fundamental skills for any career. In my case, the job of a solicitor is to take a client’s problem, unpick it and provide a pragmatic solution that meets their needs, so these basics have come in handy. 

I was also really into sports which helped with self-discipline, motivation and determination. These are all great skills to take to further education or a career when it comes to tackling difficult tasks, assessments and exams you’ll inevitably come up against.

Skills I've developed

Commercial awareness - particularly if you’re entering a corporate workplace, having commercial awareness is key. Understanding how businesses run and what issues they’ll face, how it’ll affect them and what potentially they can do about it is going to help massively when approaching and addressing problems. Having a bit of awareness of how these things work can help you think of the bigger picture when analysing issues. 

Being receptive - being able to reach out and ask for help, advice or constructive criticism is important to personal growth and resilience. Know that criticism of your work is NOT personal, so don’t take it to heart. Ask questions if you’re stuck - you’ll achieve and learn a lot more by highlighting the areas of knowledge that need help. Ask questions in general - it’s engaging and shows you’re interested. 

My Advice

It’s okay to not know what you want to do. It’s also okay when you choose a path to doubt it’s the right one. Explore your options early and don’t close yourself off to opportunities if they arise. Getting experience in a field to then decide it’s not for you is not a waste of time - it takes you one step closer to where you’re meant to be!

In whatever career or course you end up in, be genuine and have humility. It’ll pay dividends in your work, and it’ll gain you respect in whatever field you enter.