In this issue, we continue to introduce the people who make up Garden Stirling Burnet, one of East Lothian’s oldest law firms.

As one of the oldest and largest legal firms in the region, Garden Stirling Burnet has been practising law and representing the people of East Lothian for generations. And today, with offices spread across the region, the team are proud of the easy accessibility of the firm and their team of legal experts. In this, the latest article from GSB, we continue to introduce you to the people who make up the firm with our series of Q&A business profiles.

Callum Macleod is a member of this hard-working team. An Assistant Solicitor in the Dunbar Office, Callum gives you a personal insight into his life as a busy solicitor and why he loves living and working here so much.

Tell us a little bit about you.

I am originally from Edinburgh but moved to East Lothian just before finishing secondary school. I studied law at the University of Edinburgh as it was an area in which I was keen to progress. Furthermore, my aunt and uncle are both solicitors, and it was their passion for their work that encouraged me to turn my hand to the law.

How long have you been with the firm? 

I joined as a Lettings Assistant in July 2018 and started my Traineeship later that year. I completed my training in September 2020 and have worked as an Assistant Solicitor in the Dunbar office ever since. So, three and a bit years in total!

What is the best thing about living and working in East Lothian?

For me, the best thing is leaving the office at night and heading out for a run along the coast. There is nothing better than the sea air after a long day at work. During the summer, you can nip out for a quick nine holes after closing time, and there is always the option of having a nice dinner or drink at the local East Lothian eateries.

What do you like to do when not busy at work?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends and am interested in most sports. I try to run or go to the gym four or five times a week. I also try to catch my beloved Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the flesh when I can, even if it means trekking across the Forth to Dunfermline to watch a dour goalless draw!
What are your specialisms in the firm, and what legal issues, situations do you deal with?

I routinely deal with purchases and sales through East Lothian and beyond. I also have some experience with commercial work; this could be providing advice to someone looking at purchasing business premises or similar. I also deal with private client matters, extending to preparing wills and Powers of Attorney. 

Can you provide an overview of conveyancing and what it entails?

Conveyancing is the process by which properties are bought and sold in Scotland. This will include an examination of title deeds, studying loan papers and potentially visiting a property to see whether it matches what is listed on the title. It is a bit of a cliché, but no two days are the same, and there are often unexpected problems that can crop up during the course of the day! Our job is to ensure that these problems are solved, and we can continue with the transaction.

Are there changes in the law or things people should do or be aware of within your area of expertise, or is there any general advice you would like to give?

One particular area to be wary of is the ever-changing landscape of residential lettings. The Scottish Government extended the minimum notice period required for both Short Assured Tenancies and Private Residential Tenancies with the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Act 2021 (“the Extension and Expiry Act”), so it is important that anyone looking to serve notice on their tenant is especially clear on the Notice period required in the circumstances. 

Why should clients choose GSB, and what benefits can you bring? What sets you apart?

Our approach is to try and be as approachable as possible. We have so much technology in our hands, yet we never forget how important it can be for most clients to come into the office and actually have a face-to-face conversation. We always try to use our local knowledge to set us apart from other firms, which is one major advantage of choosing GSB in the future. We are all passionate about our work and simply want to do an excellent job for our clients in an efficient yet friendly manner. 

And finally, any advice you would give to young people thinking about going into law? Any advice you would have given to your younger self? 

If a young student is pondering law as a career, I would recommend they seriously consider work experience in a high street firm while at school or university. This will allow you to gain insight into the day-to-day procedures of working in a firm and make long-lasting connections for your future. Getting a traineeship at the end of your studying can be really challenging, so maintaining connections with lawyers is really important.