As part of our HSOG ReConnect campaign, we caught up with former pupil, Eilidh Reid, from the class of 2013.
In my final year at the High School of Glasgow, I was unsure what I should study at university. However, with the guidance of the schools careers department and the enjoyment of researching my Advanced Higher history dissertation I considered studying Law. This decision was solidified when, like a number of High School pupils, I was accepted to study law with honours at the University of Edinburgh. Not exactly a novel HSOG choice, but it certainly turned out to be a great fit for me. During my university career, I was selected for a one-year international exchange at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. This experience ignited my interest and lay the foundation for my progression into the US legal world.
After graduating with first class honours, I became a merit scholarship recipient at Duke University School of Law in North Carolina where I attained a masters in law with a certificate of specialization in Business Law and the Deans Award in Mergers & Acquisitions – do not underestimate where that High School work ethic can take you! Having loved my year in Austin, I was eager to return to the States and hoped that gaining an LL.M., in US law would help me secure a job in the States. During my time at Duke in spring 2018, I had the chance to catch up with HSOG and to connect with a collection of the North American alumni at the New York former pupil dinner.
Five years after leaving the High School, I graduated from Duke and went on to become one of the youngest examinees to take the Texas Bar exam. Simultaneously, I secured a position at a US law firm that would enable me to live and work as a lawyer in Houston, Texas. Texas is not that well known to us in Scotland, certainly, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” but Texans are not quite cattle ropin’, horse ridin’ cowboys and cowgirls that live on ranches and listen to country music. Houston is actually the most diverse city in the States and the fourth largest city in the US. However, everyone does say “y’all” and many lawyers do wear their cowboy boots to the office!
The pursuit of my dreams and journey to be a US lawyer has not been an easy feat, with many difficulties and obstacles along the way, and probably more to come. From securing a place at Duke; to competing with top talent for a prestigious law firm job; to being faced with different testing norms and navigating the US immigration system. However, in the HSOG spirit of “Sursum Semper” I have maintained a positive attitude and remained mindful of what I had accomplished so far.
Now, I am a second-year associate, having transferred to London. Life as a corporate lawyer in a big city is not quite like the tv-show, Suits – lawyers at big US firms are not litigators and transactional lawyers. In reality, lawyers specialise in one or the other. However, there are some Suits similarities as I do work in an iconic building – the Gherkin – in a big city, and often work at the office until very late working on US, UK and cross-border merger and acquisition deals. I work for corporations and private equity firms buying and selling corporate entities, and everything that needs to happen in between. This involves a lot of communicating with clients, preparing contracts, reviewing documents, and negotiating with other lawyers to get the best terms for clients.
Having returned to the UK, I have had the chance to hang out with all my High School friends again, which has been great fun. If anyone in the High School community would like to get in touch with me, I would be happy to share my experiences in becoming a US lawyer.