Legal

"During my time on the graduate scheme I feel my contribution has been valued by my colleagues and having worked with people in various departments, have always found everyone to be friendly, approachable and ready to help." Emma Brown, Legal Graduate

Our legal team supports all of our businesses in managing their legal risks. It plays a big role in helping us to reach our strategic aims, to protect our reputation, and to look after our customers' needs.

We're looking for people who can combine an interest in financial services with an enquiring mind and an eye for detail. It also takes a commitment to teamwork, and an ability to communicate well with the people around you.

You'll be working in a busy commercial setting, and collaborating with many teams across our company. You'll develop a balance of legal and non-legal knowledge in a practical way, and across different disciplines - including pensions law, life insurance, commercial contracts, dispute resolution and asset management.

During your traineeship, you'll work towards your entry qualification to the Law Society of Scotland. We'll provide the support and mandatory training you'll need to achieve this. There'll also be talks and workshops from other teams, to provide insight into many different commercial and technical matters.

That's as well as the various training and personal development opportunities available across our business.

And it's not like every other in-house traineeship. During your second year, there's also the chance of a secondment outside of our company - at Burness Paull, a top Scottish commercial law firm.

  • Duration: Two-year traineeship
  • Structure: Typically four placements/seats, including the possibility of a secondment exchange with an external legal firm.
  • Development: Bespoke trainee CPD plus training and development through the Legal Academy.
  • Entry requirements: 2:1 (Hons) LL.B degree in Scots Law, or an accelerated LL.B degree in Scots Law with a previous 2:1 (Hons) degree or above. You also need a valid Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, or be due to complete the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

Read the below stories to hear from some of Graduates who have been in the same position as you, along with one of their placement managers:

Emma Brown

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

Before joining Standard Life I was completing my legal diploma at Edinburgh University. Previous to that I was studying for my undergraduate law degree at Stirling University.

How would you describe our culture?

I would describe the culture at Standard Life as supportive. I get a real sense that people want others to succeed. During my time on the graduate scheme I feel my contribution has been valued by my colleagues and having worked with people in various departments, have always found everyone to be friendly, approachable and ready to help.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

I would say the main benefit is definitely the network of other graduates. Starting as part of a cohort has meant I have contacts throughout the company that would have taken years to build up otherwise. There is also a great social aspect to being part of the graduate scheme, meaning you don’t feel like the only new person!

What projects have you been involved in since you joined?

I have really enjoyed the graduate sustainability challenge. The grads were split into teams and given £50 with the aim of raising as much money as possible for our charity partner, Place2Be. It was a great opportunity to get to know people I hadn’t previously worked with and was a good way to maintain a connection to the grad cohort a year into my role, as well as helping out a great cause!

What advice would you give to someone considering applying?

If you are considering applying for the grad programme, the main piece of advice I would give is just to be yourself. Academic achievement and previous experience are valued, but what will really make you stand out is your personality and enthusiasm for the company.

Mairi Nolan

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What were you studying before joining Standard Life?

Prior to joining Standard Life I was studying the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. This is a mandatory qualification which all law graduates must undertake if they want to practise as a solicitor. I graduated with my law degree in 2012 and took two years out which I spent working, living and travelling in and around Australia before returning in 2014 and commencing my Diploma in 2015.

How would you describe our culture?

I would describe the culture as being open and inclusive. I have been struck by the level of cooperation and collaboration between different business areas on certain projects which is something I wasn’t expecting to see so much of. I have found all of my colleagues to be very approachable. No matter which area of the business they come from, whether in my own department or from another, they are very happy to sit down and explain what I am being asked to do and how that fits in with the business as a whole.

What do you think is the main benefit for a graduate working at Standard Life?

The main benefit for me has been the levels of responsibility I have been afforded right from my very first day. I have been given assignments that I have been allowed to work on autonomously, which is something I would not have had the opportunity to do in private practice until my second year. This has helped me to develop my skillset as I have had to think independently and develop knowledge of our products which has allowed me to feel like a valued member of the team and that the work I am doing really matters.

What projects have you been involved in since you joined?

Since starting at Standard Life I have been involved in many exciting pieces of work. I have been part of the Modern Slavery working group which not only involved reading and understanding how the legislation applied to Standard Life but also involved seeking advice from an external firm of solicitors which has been interesting and something I have learned from. I have also assisted with the review of new General Data Protection Regulation clauses which Standard Life Legal was working on in conjunction with another external law firm in order to ensure we have fully compliant clauses in advance of the new regulations coming into force. This has been an important piece of work as it is something we need to get right as the fines for breaches are potentially huge.

Would you recommend the Standard Life graduate programme to your friends & family? And why?

I would definitely recommend the Standard Life graduate programme to my friends and family. I think it offers graduates a well-rounded and varied programme and provides an enormous amount of opportunities both whilst on the programme and for progression within the business after completion of the graduate programme. The very warm and welcoming environment at Standard Life allows graduates to feel like they are really part of their team which is really important when they are learning as it means they are able to ask questions and learn from their experiences.

What advice would you give to someone joining the programme?

I would say it’s really important to have strong communication and teamwork skills so that is something to work on whilst at university and in the summer before starting in a part time job for instance. For those joining the legal programme, having a good legal knowledge is important. More generally, for all graduates starting, I would advise them to try and build a really solid understanding of business and the financial services sector more generally. There is a lot of jargon and acronyms used in this industry which they will pick up once they start but having some knowledge at the outset will assist greatly in understanding what is being discussed in those first few meeting and phone calls.

Katie Paterson

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What value do graduates bring to your department?

Our trainees are an important part of our legal team and you will become fully immersed in the work of each team as soon as you begin a seat. Each team has a trainee mentor and we have developed suitable work packages for the trainees in each area. Each of our teams bear a demanding workload and you will be no exception. Although your work will be supervised you should expect to be involved in many projects and business as usual queries. We encourage you to take as much responsibility as possible, the more you demonstrate, the more you will be given.

Why should applicants choose to join your department & Standard Life?

Standard Life offers a unique traineeship, it’s not just an in-house Scottish legal traineeship, it is also a financial services graduate programme. The traineeship runs in parallel and receives the full benefit from Standard Life Aberdeen group’s graduate programme, it offers a potential secondment with a private practice firm in Edinburgh, all the training and development necessary to meet the requirements for entry to the Law Society of Scotland combined with all the additional benefits from Standard Life Aberdeen’s Legal Academy and many other development opportunities.

What projects can graduates expect to be involved in?

Our legal team supports the group companies in all aspects of their business. You will be involved in many of the business as usual requests and special projects, many of which will be mandatory change projects which deal with legal and regulatory change. The projects you will be involved in will change depending on which team you work with, for example you will develop a good grounding in commercial contracts, have the opportunity to do research in connection with pensions, insurance legislation and financial regulation including consumer contract questions. You will learn about how Standard Life Aberdeen makes money from the financial services products it offers such as its retail personal and workplace pensions, ISAs and the funds which are sold on an institutional basis or linked to insurance contracts such as pensions. You will also learn and understand legal issues around how the products are distributed, what a ‘platform’ is and the contractual framework and governance which enables the business to manage its risk. You may also have some involvement in strategic projects which support business development and what happens with dispute resolution and remediation processes.

What can a graduate gain from working in your area?

You will receive a first class traineeship with a broad range of experience in 4 different seats from: Asset Management, Product, Commercial, Disputes and the potential for a seat on secondment in private practice and provided you have performed to the standards required you will, at the end of your traineeship, be eligible to be admitted as a solicitor to the Law Society of Scotland. You will have received some fantastic opportunities for development from the graduate scheme and the Legal Academy. You will also benefit from the graduate network within Standard Life and gain insight into how a large financial services organisation operates.

What has impressed you most about graduates in your area?

Enthusiasm, willingness to learn, curiosity and positivity. They work very well together too and have a strong team culture.

What career opportunities can they expect?

At the end of your traineeship you will, subject to performance, be eligible to be admitted to the Law Society of Scotland having gained rich and varied professional experience. Although we cannot guarantee a permanent contract at the end of your 2 year traineeship we have, to date, a good record of trainee retention.

What advice would you give to graduates joining your area?

We encourage personal responsibility and initiative and have a strong culture of recognising and rewarding good performance. We offer you a framework in which to grow and develop. Own your own career, be open to change, always be curious, embrace the opportunities you find and seek those you wish to find.

In order for us to reach our goal of becoming a world-class investment company, we require world-class talent. If you believe you have the potential to help us achieve our ambitions and start your career with a growing organisation, apply below.

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