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Life as a Trainee in Scotland

12 December 2019

Lucy Muir writes about life as a trainee in Glasgow and her current seat in the Counter Fraud and Financial Crime team.

I am currently in my third seat rotation as the Catastrophic Injury & Occupational Health trainee within our Glasgow office. My working day is currently centred within our Counter Fraud and Financial Crime team and is focused on suspected fraudulent personal injury claims.

It is surprising that insurance fraud is still considered by some to be a 'victimless crime.' In reality, it has hit epidemic levels in the UK at the cost of more than £1.3 billion per year. It adds around £50 to every individual's insurance bill and causes significant stresses to the innocent parties who become embroiled in fraudulent claims.

I have learned that Scotland has an advantageous costs regime, a tolerance for referral fees and a lower discount rate than England, which means Scottish claimants receive higher compensation payments in successful claims. This has led to the development of our specialist team who use intelligence, profiling and analytics to ensure our clients are ahead of the curve in tackling fraud in Scotland.

A major part of achieving this involves a focus on strategic litigation and concentrating on the technical aspects of counter fraud litigation. This means that, for me, every day is different. Generally, my daily tasks involve assisting my supervisor and head of Counter Fraud (Scotland), Jill Sinclair, with ongoing files including drafting and serving court documents, conducting medical reviews, taking witness statements and carrying out investigations. This has prepared me to have responsibility for some of my own files. With these, I progress through the court procedures, ensure all court deadlines are adhered to and update the client accordingly, under supervision. Other days, I am in court.

Despite being part of such a busy team, we are planning a triathlon in May to raise funds for both the DWF Foundation and 'It's Good 2 Give', which is a charity supporting young cancer patients and their families in Scotland.

I am also still encouraged and supported to go to all 5 STAR Futures' sessions and attend CSR and Sports & Social Committee meetings. The 5 STAR Futures programme is DWF's award-winning community education programme which provides young people with an introduction to the world of work and employability skills. We work alongside two of the local high schools in Glasgow. Vicki and Andrew, who run the programme, invited me to run one of the first workshops this year. This involved encouraging the pupils to share skills and attributes that make a good employee, providing an introduction to networking and leading a discussion on their role models. I would encourage everyone to get involved in mentoring. It is a rewarding experience which makes a real impact on the pupils in terms of confidence and life skills.

Our CSR Committee is supporting the Glasgow Spirit of Christmas campaign this year. This is a gift appeal, supporting local children suffering hardship in Glasgow and surrounding areas. We have been raising funds through the sale of themed hot chocolates and sweepstakes alongside collecting toy donations. I have seen many other DWF offices getting involved in similar giving initiatives on Yammer which is great to see!

Lucy Muir, Trainee Solicitor, Glasgow