Written by James Stone – Trainee Solicitor
James is a forth seat Trainee Solicitor currently sitting in our Residential Property Team. In this blog we hear from him about what you could expect on an average day as a trainee Residential Conveyancer Solicitor:
I arrive at my desk early and, after logging in to my PC, I check my emails. Checking my emails is always the first thing I do because it will dictate what my daily tasks will entail. Each evening before leaving the office I make a list of tasks to complete the following day and in the morning I review my list. I will add to it, depending on the emails I have since received. Once I have prioritised my work, I start with my first task.
I start with a sale file and, after receiving the memorandum of sale and making initial contact with the purchasers solicitor, I start preparing the necessary documentation. I start by drafting the Contract and then download the Official Copy Entries from the Land Registry. Once complete, I am able to send this along with various other documentation to the other side and await their comments and enquiries.
I notify the client after each step of the process is complete to keep them fully informed throughout the transaction.
The phone rings and reception pass me a new enquiry. This particular one is in relation to a purchase and a sale. At the beginning of my seat in the conveyancing department, I created a new enquiry question sheet which I use to remind myself of all the information I need to obtain to generate a fee estimate. I fill this sheet out whilst on the phone to client and then use our online quote generator to produce a fee estimate.
The next task on my list is to investigate the Title and other associated documents on a purchase file. This is an important part of my role and I give myself plenty of time to thoroughly inspect the documentation. Various issues arise so I formulate a list as I am working through the papers. Once finished and satisfied I have covered everything, I look back at my list of issues and questions and condense them into a series of enquiries to be forwarded to the seller’s solicitor.
I have been working on an application to the Land Registry for an adverse possession of land. I have finally collated the necessary documents and application forms and it is ready to be lodged with the Land Registry. I double check their guidance before passing the application forms to my supervisor for his approval. Once approved, I take copies of everything I am sending to the Land Registry and put it in the post. Most Land Registry applications are made using the online portal, however, this application includes original copies of Deeds and Transfers dating back to the 1800’s so it must be dealt with by postal application.
Happy that I have made good progress through my list of tasks, I stop for lunch. Most days I go for a walk with a fellow trainee or visit a few shops. If I am particularly busy I don’t mind staying in the office and carrying on with some work or undertaking file management.
Now back from lunch, I attend to some ‘post completion steps’. There are various steps to undertake after the completion of a purchase. They are time permitting so it is essential to keep on top of these. First, I obtain an SDLT 5 Certificate by paying the Stamp Duty Land Tax which is due. The Land Registry will not accept a transfer without evidence that no Stamp Duty is due. I find the Mortgage Deed, the signed Transfers and other supporting evidence within the file. I double check the application form and lodge this along with the other documents using the Land Registry online portal.
Whilst logged into the Land Registry portal, I check if have received any messages. I see an unopened message and it is a notification that a previous application has been completed. This is the final stage in the process and I can now send the updated Title documents which show our client’s named in the Proprietorship register. This is a rewarding part of the job because now the client is the registered owner of the property. I therefore send the client a copy of this for their records.
My supervisor has arranged to meet some client’s who are purchasing a property together. We meet with them and discuss their sale and purchase. The couple are unmarried so we also discuss the possibilities of having a declaration of trust drawn up.
I make a note of what was discussed at the client meeting and then I use the remaining time in my day to look over my daily task list and tick off what I have achieved. I look through my emails and compile a new list for tomorrow.
Another rewarding day as a Trainee Solicitor is complete.