News & Insights

Day in the life of a property trainee

Our property trainees provide an insight into the typical day of a trainee solicitor in our residential and commercial property teams.

8:30am I arrive at the office, get myself a coffee and head to my desk. I prefer to arrive a little early so that I can spend some time reviewing my to-do list for the day. I check if I have any transactions due to exchange or complete or any other high priority jobs so that I can plan my day around those. I also catch up on my emails dealing with any urgent queries straight away.

9:00am One of the partners in the property team has asked me to carry out some research into how rights of way over land can be obtained over time and how they can be registered. We have excellent research resources at our disposal and so it doesn’t take long for me to find some useful articles on the subject. I do some reading before drafting a response back to the partner outlining my findings.

10:15am I have been assisting an associate with a lease transaction where we act for the tenant. We have been negotiating the lease with the landlord’s solicitors and they have just emailed their latest amendments to the draft lease. The associate asks me to take a look in the first instance. I review the amendments and carry out some quick research on any points I am unsure of. There are some points that I do not think our client will agree to and so I prepare a draft email to send to the client setting out the issues and our options when it comes to negotiation. The associate checks my email and gives me some feedback before I send it out.

11:45am A property purchase that I have been assisting on has completed and I have been asked to deal with the post-completion aspects. I prepare an application to register our client’s purchase at the Land Registry and, once this has been checked, I submit it. The Land Registry may issue ‘requisitions’ if they have any queries and I will deal with these should the need arise. I also make sure that all of the signed documents have been scanned and saved on our system so that we can refer to them later if need be.

12:15pm I meet with my clients who are in the process of purchasing their first home. They have received my legal report on the property and wanted to chat through a few points and sign their documents with me. As a trainee solicitor it is great experience to meet with clients and develop a personal relationship.

1:00pm Today we have a lunchtime Know How session with the rest of the property team. Each session is run by a different fee earner and this week, one of the solicitors is running the session on the new changes to the Telecoms Code. These sessions are a relaxed and interactive way to learn about new changes in our area of law, normally with a competitive quiz to finish on!

2:15pm I catch up on my emails that have arrived during lunch and check my to do list for the day. Trainee solicitors are required to write an article for the website during each seat and I start preparing one on requesting a refund from HMRC on stamp duty payments.

3:00pm One of the files I have been working on is ready to exchange. The exchange part of the transaction is when the contract becomes binding between the seller and the buyer. I go through the file to make sure that we have all of the necessary documentation and I call the client for their authority to enter into a binding contract. The client has decided to go ahead with the sale so I call the buyer’s solicitor and exchange contracts over the phone. I call the client to let them know that we have exchanged and that the sale will complete next week. They are delighted and thank my team for all of the work we have done so far.

3:20pm A new client calls the firm and asks for a quote to re-mortgage their property. I discuss the re-mortgage on the phone and then email them a quote.

3:30pm When acting on a purchase it is our job to advise the client whether they will have good and marketable title to the property if they proceed with the purchase. This process is called ‘investigation of title’ and it involves going through all the ‘deeds’ to the property and writing a report for the client. I draft our report by analysing the title documents, search results and by considering the answers to the enquiries we have raised with the seller.

5:05pm The client has accepted our quote for the re-mortgage so I begin to set up a new file and draft an engagement letter. The letter will explain the work that we are going to carry out as well as our charges for doing so.

5:30pm At the end of the day, I review the work I have done during the day and update my to-do list for tomorrow. Tonight , the local Junior Lawyers Division has organised a networking event with pizza and table tennis. This gives the trainees an opportunity to meet other trainees and young lawyers in the Reading area.