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A week in the life of a property and private client lawyer

14 Apr 2022

| Author: Tasha Downs

An advantage of working within a smaller firm is the range of work to which you are exposed. Client requirements do not always fit neatly within legal work types and often involve a cross-section of legal issues. Some areas may include property sales and purchases and finance transactions, acting for borrowers. The files I work on typically involve business sales and purchases, property sales and purchases, property development, commercial leases, trusts, assets and succession planning. While some property and private client lawyers specialise in certain areas, it is common to work on matters that cross over. For instance, acting on a business asset acquisition is likely to involve the purchase transaction itself, along with the financing, assignment of leases and the purchaser’s ownership structures, which may involve trusts.

Here is a normal week for me:

Monday

  •  I meet with my supervising partner and we discuss ongoing
    and new tasks. Normally this will take 10 to 15 minutes.
  • I am tasked with drafting various resolutions and consents
    relating to the share sale and a guarantee that has been
    agreed to be granted. This is urgent and after further
    discussion I send drafts through to my supervising partner.
  • I then review a standard agreement for the sale of a property
    and the legal title for the property. Once I have completed my
    review, I discuss my conclusions with my supervising partner
    and I then prepare a report for the client.
  • In the afternoon I attend to emails and continue working on a
    settlement checklist for a business sale due to settle on
    Friday. I ensure we have all the requirements on the checklist,
    including the specific requirements of the agreement for sale
    and purchase to be provided and received by us on
    settlement day.

Tuesday

  • I spend the morning and early afternoon working on ongoing
    and new tasks. This includes assisting my supervising partner
    to provide advice on the set-up of a new finance company
    which operates in a specialist area.
  •  I receive an email from a client approving a renewal of lease
    and the further terms we previously provided to them. I
    update my supervising partner, make a final copy together
    with instructions on execution of the lease and fire it to him.

Wednesday

  • This morning I have been tasked with undertaking research
    into an aspect of the Serious Fraud Office Act for a client.
    Following my email report, I discuss the same with my
    supervising partner.
  • I am called into a meeting to discuss a client’s requirements
    for their will. After the meeting I review my notes, make a file
    note in the file management system, search the legal title for
    the property and undertake research into the Family
    Protection Act.

Thursday

  • My supervising partner checks in, and I provide him with an
    update on each task. When covid-19 is an issue, our firm
    works with split teams so not all team members are in the
    office at the same time. Like most firms, we have had to adapt
    to working together while working from home.
  • I finish drafting a will for the client and check my notes and
    correspondence to ensure it reflects their instructions and
    requirements. I then email the client, including comments
    on ownership of the property, certain sections of the FPA and
    enduring powers of attorney.
  • For the asset sale, I send a reminder to the client requesting
    copies of documents they need to return to us before and
    immediately after settlement, check in with the purchaser’s
    solicitor and conduct fresh searches on the relevant registers.
    Further priorities arise for the sale (not unexpected or
    unusual) which put a spring in my step! I work through each,
    some by myself and some with my supervising partner.

Friday

  • Today I focus on the settlement of business asset sale. Thanks
    to everyone involved, we work through all stages necessary to
    complete settlement. Following settlement, I work on the
    report to the client while the transaction is fresh in my mind.

Tasha Downs is a solicitor at Baker Meech with three years’ PQE ■

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