Caitlin O'Donnell

View Video Transcript

I'm Caitlin O'Donnell and I work as senior legal counsel here at the Scotch Whisky Association. I've been here for about six and a half years now and work as part of the legal team. There are five lawyers, a director, deputy director, two senior legal counsel and a legal counsel, and two paralegals. And our main remit is to protect the geographical indication Scotch Whisky. There are lots of things that I enjoy about this job, but primarily we are fortunate in that we work all over the world with lawyers in various different markets.

And I think just having that exposure to people that are working overseas and the issues that they face is nice because it gives you a different perspective. I think the Scotch whisky industry is just fascinating in that you have this really traditional product and again, people are so passionate about Scotch Whisky, about how it's made, they want to share their stories with you, their experiences with you. And we are very fortunate at the Scotch Whisky Association that we get to deal across the industry with lots of different types of people and lots of different roles. I suppose I never had a clear idea from school what I wanted to do. I think I probably went through most of primary school thinking that I would be a teacher and I ended up getting good grades and such was a career's advice in the 90s, early noughties. I wasn't particularly science

or mathematics focused and strength were in English/social subjects. Which meant that lots of people suggested to me that law might be a good idea. But I think it is very difficult when you're 15/16 years old and you're trying to work out what subjects to choose. And I think part of the difficulty is knowing what jobs are out there. Just the breadth of opportunity now that's open to lawyers as a degree it's a great degree to have because you're really taught how to analyse pieces of information, to focus in on attention to detail, to problem solve. So lots of skills that are really transferable to all sorts of different jobs.

So I think if you're somebody that's not quite sure exactly what it is that they want to do as a general degree, I think it's a good one to have. And even through my law degree at the time, you know, it's quite a structured route into qualification where you do your undergrad degree, you do a diploma in legal practice and then you do a traineeship for two years with a law firm. It allows people who maybe have an interest in law but also are really passionate or have interests elsewhere, whether that be in sport or education, all sorts of different areas. There are now a lot more opportunities for people to really focus in on the areas that interest them. Today, it's even more important that people do start to think more flexibly and kind of longer term.

And I think you just have to be able to adapt. I think there's no way of knowing in ten years time what jobs are going to be available. I think law is no different in that it's important to keep an open mind, important to keep learning and to keep thinking about other areas and really focus on the skills that you are good at and that you want to develop longer term and the kind of skills that can be transferable from one area to the next.

Caitlin O'Donnel
Senior Legal Counsel

Quick Facts

Name: Caitlin O'Donnell
Company Name: Scotch Whisky Association
Role: Senior Legal Counsel
"Our main remit is to protect the geographical indication of Scotch Whisky"

The Scotch Whisky Association

Edinburgh HQ:
Quartermile Two, 2 Lister Square, Edinburgh EH3 9GL
homemap-markerchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram