Written by Harry Coombe – Trainee Solicitor
Harry is a third 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:
After arriving at the office and logging in to my computer, I like to first check my emails for anything that has come in since the previous week. Inevitably in a busy area such as property, there will be emails that will need to be addressed immediately. I then review the other tasks I have on my desk as well as those in my inbox and prioritise the work I need to do. I also have time for a quick catch up with my colleagues and before I know, it’s 9am and I’m ready for my day.
This morning I am informed by a secretary that they have booked in a client to come and see me at 10am. This week I will be helping to cover a colleague’s workload as they are on leave but I am currently unfamiliar with the file. Thankfully the secretary has provided information on the meeting and advised that they want advice on the covenants contained in the title documents. This gives me time to prepare, so I spend the next hour familiarising myself with the file and the issues the client needs advise on. It’s common in a meeting to look at documents that the client has brought in and advise them on the same day.
By the time the client arrives I feel prepared, having allowed myself time to review the issues. They want advice relating to the title which contains some specific covenants preventing them from doing certain things on the property. I then go through the covenants with them in detail and provide the appropriate advice as to what they restrict her from doing. Whilst I can’t provide details on this particular case, a classic example of restrictions could include not keeping pigs or poultry on the property, or not using the property as anything other than a dwelling house. After discussing the covenants, the client asks me a question relating to visibility splays. This is something I will need to research and discuss with my supervisor before I advise them on this. I tell the client I will research the point and phone them later today to discuss the issue.
After finishing my meeting, I return to my desk to various voice messages and further emails. If I have learnt one thing in this department it is that you need to be organised and good with your time management in order to stay in control! I reply to the urgent emails and then return to my task list to see what I have prioritised to do today.
On my list, I note that there is an exchange of contracts to complete today, followed by a sale completion. To begin the exchange process, I must first phone the client to ensure I have their authority to do so – once contracts are exchanged the transaction becomes legally binding and changing their mind becomes very costly so it needs to be checked. The client provides me with their authority and I review the file once more to ensure we are in a position to exchange. After contacting the solicitor on the other side to exchange contracts, I can then let the client know the good news.
Following a successful exchange, our accounts team have emailed me to say that we have received in monies on the sale completion for another client. This means I can phone them and tell them the good news – their property has now been sold. I can go about transferring the funds back to both the client and to their lender to redeem their mortgage.
I break for lunch and meet with a couple of the other trainees. We have all recently moved seats so it is nice to catch up and find out how they are all getting on in their new departments.
Upon returning from lunch, I undertake the research on visibility splays that were discussed in my meeting. I research the position and discuss this with my supervisor. I then phone the client to inform her of the implications this could have on her purchase.
I meet with my supervisor to have my monthly trainee review – as trainees we are under close supervision by a partner or senior member of staff and they are always on hand to discuss issues or provide us with any guidance. We also have a general catch up about my views on the seat and any subjects I may want to experience in the next month.
I return to my task list of priorities that I created this morning and continue working through the list. With so many changes possible day-to-day in a residential transaction and your reliance on things such as replies from the other side and mortgage offers, it is necessary to remain flexible with your work.
I finish work and head to a networking event with a few other trainees and one of the partners. Tonight it is a conkers event in Exeter and, as Dunn & Baker won this event last year, we are all looking forward to defending the crown! Spoiler alert: we lost in the semi finals.
I finally get home after another busy but rewarding day as a trainee solicitor.
For more information on the routes to become a Residential Conveyancer, visit https://www.ucas.com/ucas/after-gcses/find-career-ideas/explore-jobs/job-profile/licensed-conveyancer