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Alumni profile - Catriona Jardine

Wed 26 October 2022

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Catriona Jardine, LLB(H), 2014 & PGD, 2015

Tell us a little bit about your life before Edinburgh Law School

Before studying at Edinburgh Law School, I attended Dollar Academy. One of the highlights of my time at Dollar was playing the tenor drum in the award-winning pipe band, which involved performing at all sorts of events and competing at national and international level. This experience made me realise how much I enjoyed being part of a large team and interacting with other teams from across the world, being two key features of my current role in Disputes and Investigations at Slaughter and May.

What did you study at Edinburgh Law School and why did you choose the programme?

At Edinburgh Law School, I studied the four year LLB Honours degree and then the year-long Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. Both programmes are renowned - at home and abroad - for producing excellent and well-rounded lawyers. Not everyone who studies the LLB sets out to become a lawyer, but I always had a strong feeling that legal practice was for me. I enjoyed using logic, precedents and other tools to solve complex problems, and there was nothing more stimulating than a good debate! It therefore seemed natural to qualify into a disputes role following my Law School studies.

What do you think is unique to the Edinburgh Law School experience and what are some of your favourite memories?

The Law School’s unrivalled location is its unique selling point. I fondly remember attending classes on campus in the morning, then watching proceedings in the High Court or Court of Session on the Royal Mile in the afternoon, followed by an evening spent at a law firm in the city centre to gain insight into private practice. The Law School is also very close to the Scottish Parliament, where laws are debated and ultimately made. In short, the Law School is truly at the heart of the Scottish legal world!

What have you been up to since graduating/what are you doing after graduation and how have your degree studies with us helped you in this?

Since leaving the Law School, I have qualified as a solicitor in Scotland and England & Wales, and as an attorney in the State of New York. I could not have achieved my out-of-Scotland qualifications without the study and exam-taking skills that I honed at the Law School. The wide range of subjects and exams taken in my first two years of the LLB was a fitting dress rehearsal for the New York State Bar Exam, and the practical assessments peppered throughout the Diploma undoubtedly helped me prepare for the England & Wales Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. I also consider that my time at the Law School built up my confidence in relation to securing my two graduate legal roles (Trainee Solicitor at Pinsent Masons in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Associate at Slaughter and May in London). In particular, holding positions of responsibility in various Law School societies and committees involved meeting interesting people in the legal industry and learning to present myself in a professional manner.

What advice would you give current Edinburgh Law School students?

My advice to current Law School students is to seize the opportunities that interest you, as who knows where they could lead you. It is all too easy to remain in your comfort zone and ignore prompts to apply for things. I have always lived by the motto ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’! Had I not applied to the law firms Pinsent Masons and Slaughter and May, I likely would not have the varied and stimulating international practice that I have today. Plus, my US qualification journey was great fun and it resulted in another string to my bow. Whatever the opportunity sitting on your radar, be brave, have a go and see what comes of it!