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? 
 '‘The summer placement programme was far better and of a higher standard than others’; ‘variety of work on offer’; ‘leader in Scotland’; ‘small firm feel’; ‘it has a reputation for having approachable staff and good social events’; ‘carries out high-value, complex work’; ‘the ethos of the firm appealed to me’; ‘friendly atmosphere’; ‘that the firm does IP work interested me’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The responsibility given to trainees from the start’; ‘training is good’; ‘the work on offer’; ‘that we have regular social events is great’; ‘supportive teams’; ‘great opportunities to do a range of work for a large number of clients’; ‘everybody is nice’; ‘the team of people we work with – they’re brilliant lawyers as well as being friendly individuals’; ‘I’m encouraged to share my opinion’; ‘inclusive and welcoming nature’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Promises not being delivered’; ‘workloads are largely burdensome’; ‘salary is not competitive’; ‘long hours’; ‘lack of variation in terms of trainee seat rotation’; ‘Edinburgh office is dated and too small’; ‘difficult to make social plans during the week due to the unpredictable work demands’; ‘secondment opportunities are limited’; ‘trainee seat preferences aren’t taken very seriously’; ‘some senior staff have a distorted idea of what trainee hours/commitment should be’
Best moment? 
 '‘Speaking with industry experts at a seminar’; ‘being the main point of contact for an international transaction’; ‘preparing a research note for a client and having it sent verbatim by my colleague’; ‘being sat in a department with some great colleagues and establishing long-term friendships with them’; ‘my mid-seat review went well’; ‘receiving positive feedback after my secondment’
Worst moment?
 '‘The long hours at certain points in the year’; ‘not once being given my preferred seat choice’; ‘forgetting a document in the court run and annoying the fee earner’; ‘making mistakes’; ‘5am starts travelling to Edinburgh’; ‘waiting for counterpart signature pages to come through and then collating them into one signed document’; ‘having to explain to a client why a deal was delayed’'

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

Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars) – reliable, friendly and good-hearted

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 wide range of industry sectors and areas of business, with extensive expertise in corporate, commercial, IP, property and planning, and finance. Around 40% of Burness Paull’s work has an international element.  

The star performers

Banking and finance; Commercial litigation; Corporate and commercial; Corporate tax; Crime: fraud; EU and competition; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Investment funds; Licensing; Pensions; Personal injury: defender

The deals

Acted as UK principal legal counsel to AIM-listed Savannah Petroleum in a $270m reverse takeover transaction; acting for AstraZeneca in four pieces of patent litigation at the Court of Session in relation to patents for a breast cancer treatment; acted for Scottish Enterprise in the launch of the £100m Scottish European Growth Co-investment Programme with the European Investment Fund; advising the Hard Rock Café on licensing matters concerning its premises in Glasgow, successfully securing an Extended Hours License for NFL Super Bowl events, despite objections from Police Scotland; advised Sterling Resources Limited on the $163m sale of subsidiary company Sterling Resources (UK) Limited (and all of its business and assets) to Dutch exploration and production company Oranje-Nassau Energie

The clients

Ardian Private Equity; Arran Aromatics; Hampden Park Limited; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; L&S (Broadwood); Maven Capital Partners; Rubislaw Investments; Standard Life Aberdeen; Ted Jacob Engineering Group; The Royal Bank of Scotland

The verdict

‘Ambitious’ Burness Paull is a ‘large Scottish firm’ that carries out ‘high-value, complex work with expertise’. Many trainees completed a summer placement at the firm where they ‘connected with the people’ and were impressed by the ‘friendly atmosphere’. Training at Burness Paull is ‘rigorous and comprehensive’ and we’re told the firm ‘invests a great deal in trainees’. There’s an ‘in-house training programme’ and invitations often go out to specialists who come to the firm to discuss matters such as ‘health, wellbeing and resilience to stress in pressured environments’. Some complained about ‘long hours’ and ‘working on weekends’ saying it made them feel ‘overwhelmed’. Others groaned about ‘not once being given my seat preferences’ and finding some colleagues ‘overly passive aggressive’. Needing improvement is the Edinburgh office which is ‘small and dated’, and there ‘could be more international secondment opportunities’. Aside from these drawbacks, trainees greatly benefit from ‘being able to lead my own transactions (with supervision) from start to finish’, ‘work on large-scale transactions’ and being part of a team that is ‘friendly, social, knowledgeable and helpful’. Trainees are given independence and responsibility which many of them relish, however, a handful felt that ‘you can occasionally be pushed too far out of your comfort zone’. The social aspect of training at Burness Paull was commended by trainees, they enjoyed having ‘regular social events’ and found the CSR initiatives ‘rewarding’. If working with ‘brilliant lawyers’ and having ‘opportunities to do a diverse range of work for a mix of clients’ is important to you, an application to Burness Paull is a must.

 A day in the life of...

victoria blair

Victoria Blair trainee solicitor, Burness Paull 

Departments to date:  Commercial property (Aberdeen) and exploration and production (Aberdeen)

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

8.15am:  I generally aim to be in the office for around 8:30am to give me time to make my morning coffee and check my emails before I start receiving new tasks. This varies depending on my workload and what I have on each day. Today I know that at 8:30am my team and I are having a practice run of a presentation we are giving so I get to my desk slightly earlier.

8.30am:  My team and I have been asked to give a presentation on life as an oil and gas lawyer to students from Texas that are visiting Aberdeen. We all get together for our final run-through before our presentation later this morning.

9.30am:  After our team run-through, it’s time to head to Aberdeen University and get set up for our presentation.

10.00am:  As a team, we deliver our presentation and host an interactive session where we get to know the students from Texas and they get to know us and the firm and ask some questions. Opportunities such as these are great to practise your presentation skills and networking – I am ever hopeful of being asked to go on a reciprocal visit to Texas!

12.15pm:  After a morning of presenting and networking, it’s time to head back to the office.

12.30pm:  Back at the office, I check through my emails that I have received since leaving the office earlier in the morning and respond to a couple of urgent ones. I have been assisting my team with a transaction, so I spend 15 minutes or so before lunch updating the transaction checklist following the emails I received this morning, to ensure our file is up to date.

1.00pm:  It’s lunch time now after a busy morning. This usually involves quickly going out to get some food and then heading to the kitchen with the other trainees for a catch up. We often have training sessions over lunch where lunch is provided and we have an opportunity to hear about the latest legal updates.

2.00pm:  Back at my desk, it’s time to finish a due diligence report that I have been assisting a colleague with. This involves reviewing the last two legal agreements in the online data room and making notes on the main provisions of these. Once I have done this, I use my notes to put this information in to the due diligence report which we will send to our client – this tests my ‘know your audience’ skills as the client does not want a repeat of the agreement. I then send this to my colleague for her to check and make any required changes, before our report is sent out.

4.20pm:  I have some letters to draft, sending out documents, as we are nearing completion of a transaction. I prepare the letters and date them for tomorrow as we have missed the post for tonight. I send the letters to my colleague who is leading this transaction to check, in case they want to make any changes. I then organise the various documents that will need to be sent out with the letters into piles so we are organised for tomorrow.

4.50pm:  One of the parties that I sent an email to earlier asking for their comments on a document has responded and let me know they have no comments. I respond to their email and update our checklist to reflect the response.

5.00pm:  Towards the end of the day, I go through my inbox and make sure my emails are up to date. I make my to-do list for the next day, knowing that this is likely to change as I am given new tasks. I like to check in with my team to see if there is anything I can help with before tidying up to go home for the night.

About the firm

Address:50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9WJ

Telephone: 0131 473 6182




Managing partner:  Tamar Tammes

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

Total partners: 63

Other fee-earners: 245

Total trainees: 43

Turnover in 2017: £53.8m (+1% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £452,809

Trainee places available for 2021: 18

Applications received pa: 300 

Percentage interviewed: 20% 


Total partners: 63

Other fee-earners:245

Total trainees:43

 Application process

Apply to:Lorraine Bale, graduate recruitment and development advisor.

How: Online.

When to apply:See website for deadline dates.

What's involved:See website for application process details.

 Vacation schemes

Spring:Insight day. See website for details.

Summer:Six weeks during June, July and August. See website for application process details.