Residential property

Colin Bathgate

I'm Colin and I am currently a first year trainee at Gillespie Macandrew. My journey to law thus far goes a little like...

My journey to law started from some of my very earliest memories: I am hopeless at Maths. When I say hopeless, I mean really hopeless. Anything that involved numbers beyond the price of a Mars bar has always, and still does, turn me into a nervous wreck. So when it came to choosing my subjects for exams, everything scientific was out of the window. When I was thinking about what do to after school I started to look into studying law. I didn’t know much about it, apart from that they got to wear funny outfits and use big words. It sounded like the course for me! When I started looking into law a bit more, it started to sound like combined two of my existing interests, politics and history which was exactly what I was looking for.

I left George Heriot’s School in 2013 to study Scots and English Law at the University of Aberdeen. I ended up taking a bit of a protracted route, which included four universities in three countries. It turned out this law thing was quite interesting. Well most of it was, Private International Law excluded. My time at Aberdeen was extended by a year when I got the opportunity to spend a semester at Beijing Normal University. On returning to Aberdeen to do my honours subjects, I decided to focus on property related subjects, as this was an area that I was surprised to find so interesting in my second year. It became, however the basis of my honours choices, with some legal history through in for good measure. I think what attracted me to property was how it gave me a deeper understanding of the world around me. Knowing how property law and ownership works, made me appreciate the rural and urban environments that I interacted with on a daily basis.

Despite this being an unpopular opinion, my dissertation was one of the highlights of my time at university. So much so, that I decided to pursue a research based masters at the University of Cambridge. This was an incredibly rewarding process that I would recommend to anyone who enjoyed their dissertation. Having the freedom to spend an academic year on an area of law that I found particularly interesting was a great experience. Although you do need to be a bit of a sucker for punishment to voluntarily write 30,000 words. The focus of my masters thesis was Exclusionary Rights to Land in Scots Law. While this is not directly linked to my current role, I have felt this was a very useful experience in order to provide me with a familiarity with some of the issues that I encounter on a daily basis within the Land and Rural Business Department.

Following my time in Cambridge I returned north to study for my Diploma at the University of Glasgow. This course was excellent practical preparation for starting the traineeship. The diploma year was slightly reduced due to Covid19, however I was delighted to start my traineeship on 1st September with the firm. While only being in the door for a matter of weeks I have had an excellent variety of interesting work that keeps me on my toes! The firm is particularly good at nurturing pre-existing interests, I have already had the opportunity to continue legal writing, with contributing to the quarterly Rural Law Updates and a Friends of the Scotsman article. I can’t think of a better place for me to be doing my traineeship.

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