“All the advice has stood me in good stead,” Gillian says, when asked about her placement project. “'Slow progress is still progress’, and it is entirely unproductive to stress about the amount of work still to do. It’s important to be patient with yourself when learning something new.”
Law graduate Gillian Morrison joined Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) in Shetland last year to lead on the substantial task of registering the Port’s estate on the Land Register of Scotland. This follows a drive from the Scottish Government encouraging land owners to complete the Register to provide an accessible and accurate record of who owns land in Scotland.
Gillian has been carrying out the voluntary registration process, which includes examining title deeds and drafting application forms for submission to legal advisors and Registers of Scotland. She ensures title deeds and records are stored digitally to move this to a map-based system.
“Due to the scale and significance of the land registry project we felt we needed a specific individual to dedicate their time to it,” said Neil Ruthven, Executive Manager at LPA. “We looked for a graduate who not only demonstrated the level of knowledge required to complete the process, but someone who had the ability to work with minimal supervision.”
For Gillian, her 12-month placement has cultivated a range of invaluable skills such as self-motivation, independence, goal-setting and organisation.
She has also developed plenty of resilience along the way. After receiving the first draft of plans from the Plans Assistance Service (PAS), they didn’t quite reflect what she was expecting following her weeks and months of careful preparation.
“I had to be proactive and liaise with the PAS regarding the Port’s boundaries, which involved a lot of back and forth and a series of amendments,” Gillian explains. “This has been a pivotal aspect of the job, as it is important to get our boundaries right so that our titles are as accurate as possible and not open to challenge from neighbouring properties.”
Through the course of her project Gillian has gained valuable insights into the legal profession, helping to confirm her desire to secure a traineeship in private practice.
Gillian has performed an important task that otherwise LPA would have found difficult to complete. As well as satisfying the organisation’s legal obligations, the project has streamlined a number of their property transactions saving both management time and administration.
“If a suitable project comes up in the future we will certainly consider calling on ScotGrad thanks to the success of Gillian’s placement.” Neil said.
ScotGrad is a brilliant way for graduates to get a foot in the door, Gillian points out: “It provides a good wage and the monthly reports were a helpful way to focus my goals and monitor my progress. The residential training programme in Cromarty was helpful in terms of networking with others in a similar situation.
“The autonomous nature of the project has meant I’ve been able to put my own spin on the role, and have been relatively free to take it in the direction I wanted, while still having a support base when I have come across difficulties.”
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