Find out more about the people who work here at RCCandW and their career journeys both to and within the firm.

Faye Donald – Partner Family Law

I have been with Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace for my entire career having graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a degree in Law.  I secured a Traineeship with the Firm of Raeburn Christie in 2003 and in June 2004 they merged with another local Firm, Clark and Wallace.  I became the first Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace trainee and started my Traineeship on 6th September 2004.

I began my Traineeship in the Private Client department and did both Conveyancing and Executry work.  My next seat was in the Commercial Property team and, because of the needs of the business, I spent ten months there before completing my Traineeship carrying out both Civil Litigation and Family Law work.  Towards the end of my Traineeship, a vacancy arose in the Family Law team and the rest is history! I have worked exclusively in Family Law since 2006 and was made Partner in 2013.

Being a Trainee is completely different to University life.  University will challenge you academically whereas your Traineeship will help you understand how the law is applied in the real world, how to explain complex legal issues to clients and build strong interpersonal relationships with clients, within the Firm and other professionals.

The support and guidance I was offered at Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace as a Trainee was invaluable and has certainly stood me in good stead.  We take pride in our Trainees and view them very much as part of the future of the Firm.  One of the real advantages of working in a full service Firm is having colleagues in all areas of the law to call upon when the need arises. The Firm has always been quick to support professional development.  Over the years I have trained as a collaborative lawyer and am also a trained mediator.

Advice to trainees:
  • Be willing and keen to get involved
  • Always go the extra mile for your clients
  • Seize every opportunity that comes your way
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Effective time management is crucial
  • Be open minded and embrace every seat of your Traineeship.   If someone had told me fifteen years ago that I would forge a career appearing in court, I would never have believed them.
  • Lastly, enjoy it!

Rebecca Esson- Trainee, Family Law

Where are you from?

I have lived in Aberdeen my entire life.

Where did you study?

I went to school at Bucksburn Academy and then went on to Robert Gordon University to study the LLB and the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. I then decided to study online at the University of Aberdeen to obtain my Masters in General Law during the pandemic.

Why did you apply to RCCW?

I started working with RCCW in the Inverurie branch as a Property Assistant whilst studying for my LLB and Diploma. This was a fantastic job to have throughout university as it allowed me to gain continuous practical experience alongside my studies. I was able to gain an insight into life at the firm and its core ethos by attending social events and fundraising activities. The firm is committed to providing professional service to its clients whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance for its colleagues. All of these factors, together with the firm being well established in Aberdeen city and shire, led me to apply to Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace.

What departments have you worked across?

I am currently in the Court department in Aberdeen. I began working in an administrative role in the department throughout my diploma. This was a good opportunity for me to be introduced to the department and understand the way in which it operates prior to commencing my traineeship. In the Court department no two days are the same. I am enjoying the variety of work as I am being exposed to clients in family law matters, contract disputes and personal injury claims.

How would you describe your experience so far?

Although I am very much in the early stages of my traineeship I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. I instantly felt welcomed into the firm and my department have been very friendly and supportive. It is often slightly daunting putting knowledge obtained in the diploma into practice but working within such a great team quickly subsided all my worries. The Court department is incredibly busy and the fast paced nature of the work is something that appealed to me from the outset. I particularly enjoy working with individuals and being able to see a case from start to finish, obtaining the desired outcome on behalf of the client.

What one piece of advice would you give a future Trainee?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even as a qualified solicitor you are continually learning and improving your skills throughout your career. Although university might be finished, you will always be learning and evolving in the legal field.

Ruth Lussier - Associate, Private Client

Where did you study / what’s your career background?

I joined RCCW in 2012 after studying both my Law Degree and Diploma at the University of Aberdeen and have spent my whole legal career at the Firm.

Why did you apply to RCCW?

The firm have a great reputation in the local area and I wanted to work somewhere I could be exposed to a range of disciplines. The firm are of a size that they can offer a full range of services, but are still able to form strong personal relationships with clients and generations of the same families.

What departments have you worked in?
I started with the firm as a Legal Secretary within our Court Department in 2012, before starting my Traineeship in 2013. My first two seats were in our branch offices in Inverurie and Ellon, where I undertook a mixture of Private Client and Conveyancing work. I completed my traineeship within the Private Client Department and became an Assistant Solicitor there in 2015. In 2020 I was promoted to the position of Associate Solicitor and continue to work within our Private Client team.

How would you describe a typical day / your experience at RCCW to date?
A working week is very varied and no two days are ever the same. A typical day can involve meeting with clients, providing advice, and drafting documents. RCCW have allowed me to progress my career and supported me in studying for the STEP Diploma in Trusts and Estates (Scotland), improving my expertise.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career within a law firm (even if you aren’t a lawyer?)

The market for jobs in the industry can be competitive, so I would encourage anyone to try and gain as much work experience as you can – whether this is through a formal placement, or shadowing. Whilst studying at University, I worked as a secretary with a small local law firm and this gave me a great insight into what working in a legal office involves.

What do you like most about working at RCCW?

There is a fantastic team spirit – both within individual departments and across the whole firm. Everyone is always more than happy to help, and there is no such thing as a stupid question!

Gabriella Duncan - Trainee, Private Client

Where are you from?

I am from Westhill, Aberdeen. However, I currently live with my sister in Hazelhead.

Where did you study?

I went to the International School in Aberdeen and completed the International Baccalaureate. I then went to study Law LLB at Edinburgh Napier University for a year, however subsequently moved back to Aberdeen to continue my course at the Robert Gordon University. I also completed the Diploma at Robert Gordon University.


Why did you apply to RCCW?

I initially worked in an administrative role at the RCCW Stonehaven branch. I was warmly welcomed into the team and I felt a genuine sense that the firm was encouraging and caring towards their employees and clients. My experience at the Stonehaven branch, combined with the firm’s long standing reputation, consolidated my desire to work for RCCW; I consequently applied for their traineeship in my third year of my undergraduate course.

What departments have you worked across?

I am currently working in the Private Client department at the Albyn office. In this department I have been able to assist with a variety of Private Client matters including the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney, as well as the administration of executries. I will be in this seat for eight months, and I will rotate seats two more times during my two traineeship with RCCW.

How would you describe your experience so far?

I am only a few months into my traineeship, however so far I have really enjoyed it. My colleagues are very supportive and have an ‘open door policy’. I am constantly told “there is no such thing as a silly question”. It can be quite daunting at this stage to ask questions, especially when they feel so trivial, however my colleagues have put me at ease. I feel very comfortable asking questions as it allows me to engage and learn more about this department. The work my colleagues have provided me with has been very hands on. Despite COVID limiting the number of clients we allow into the office, I have been able to shadow a number of client meetings which has allowed me to pick up interview etiquette that I intend to use in practice.

What one piece of advice would you give a future Trainee?

Ensure that you are organised! Get your highlighters and diary out as the workload can pile up. Every day I create a ‘To do’ list that sets out what tasks I need to complete and importantly when they are expected to be completed. By writing down and prioritising, it will allow you to get jobs done in a more efficient way.

Good Luck!

Anne Littlejohn - Associate Solicitor

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Turriff, but I moved to Aberdeen for University and I haven’t left!


Where did you study/what’s your career background?

I studied Law (LLB), and completed the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP) at the University of Aberdeen. I started my RCCW career as a 2 year PQE solicitor having completed my traineeship at another Aberdeen law firm.

Why did you apply to RCCW?

I’d always admired the firm, particularly because I’d met a number of RCCW staff who were very friendly and approachable. They enjoyed working for the firm and had a good work-life balance, so I thought it would be the sort of place I’d like to work for, and 10 years later I’m still enjoying it.


What department(s) do/have you worked across?

I work in residential conveyancing, essentially dealing with the legal side of buying or selling a home. It has been my career focus since joining RCCW and I really enjoy helping people move home. After all, for most of us it’s the single largest purchase we ever make so it’s really important to get it right.

How would you describe a typical day/your experience at RCCW to date?

As clichéd as it sounds, no two days are the same. Residential property is always busy, and I carry a case load of a number of clients who will be at the various stages of purchasing or selling their homes. It’s really varied, can be legally challenging, but the best part is the variety of people that you get to work with on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career within a law firm (even if you aren’t a lawyer)

Go for it! It can be daunting at first, the switch to actually applying the law, rather than understanding the theory, soon comes. Each day you will learn something new, and that learning never stops, even after ten years, I’m still discovering new issues and ways to resolve them. Everyone works as a team and will support you as you progress through your career.


What do you like most about working at RCCW?

It is a very supportive environment, team-working means that if a problem arises, there’s usually always someone who has encountered something similar before and can help resolve the issue.

Angela Harper - Secretary, Residential Property

Where are you from?

Aberdeen

Where did you study/what’s your career background?

I honestly, couldn’t get away from school quick enough! I was really keen to enter the world of work as soon as I left secondary education and have enjoyed my career to date.

Why did you apply to RCCW?

I Joined RCCW 15 years ago when the previous firm I worked for closed their conveyancing department. At my RCCW interview I recall seeing many typing files, there’s still a lot of typing but the legal world is embracing digital technology more and more. At my interview I was asked how I’d manage multiple deadlines, and 15 years later I’m still managing them and enjoying my work.

What department(s) do/have you worked across?

I’ve only worked in the Conveyancing Department, but the work is varied as we also support the Private Client team with Transfers of Title transactions, so it’s much more than just conveyancing purchase and sale transactions.

How would you describe a typical day/your experience at RCCW to date?

I work part time, as many of my colleagues do, RCCW have always had very flexible working policies. On a typical day I shall catch up on emails and digital dictations from the Solicitors I work for. I put on my pair of headphones and start typing, which includes letters, forms, file notes. I also take clients’ calls and generally support the team with everything involved in conveyancing work. Believe it or not, we still sometimes need to use a typewriter for some parts of our work!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career within a law firm (even if you aren’t a lawyer).

Submit your CV and say you are interested in a secretarial or admin role….we all started somewhere. At RCCW there are a range of administrative roles because the firm provides financial and estate agency services as well as legal advice.

What do you like most about working at RCCW?

Despite the fact that RCCW is big (it has five branches across the North East and its HQ in Aberdeen), it doesn’t feel impersonal, everyone is still very friendly and approachable. Many of the people I first worked with 15 years ago still work for the firm, and we all know each other’s family lives, children and now, even grandchildren. I like working here as my hours fit around my life (school hours) which means I can enjoy a career and parenting without compromising either role.