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half way through my first seat...

10 December 2013

I am now three months into my first seat with the Commercial Property team and I am preparing for the first appraisal of my training contract. The appraisal process for a trainee is a lot more thorough than previous appraisals that I have had, so it is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on my experience during the first three months of my training contract.

I did the LPC three years ago and following that I worked as a paralegal in the firm’s Commercial Dispute Resolution and Insolvency team. I was therefore worried that my knowledge of property law was going to be pretty rusty and I spent two weeks before I started my seat frantically swatting up on easements and restrictive covenants. I really shouldn’t have worried though. The Property department has an induction process for trainees, which includes several “refresher” sessions on drafting tips and key property issues. There are also two other trainees currently doing property seats, which is great as we are able to share our knowledge and the tips that we have picked up.

My seat is split between the Education and Retail teams in the Property Department. Working across these two teams has meant that I have received a good variety of different work and have been able to work for both commercial and public sector clients.

Working in the Education team, I have assisted on a number of files dealing with the property aspects of a school’s conversion to an academy. This has included work such as drafting and negotiating leases with local authorities, preparing reports on the results of land searches that have been carried out for a school site and corresponding with the Department for Education about land issues such as the shared use of school facilities with the local community. I have also provided advice to academies on issues such as the grant of a substation lease.

The Education team at Browne Jacobson are recognised as leaders in their field and recently won the award for “Legal Advisors of the Year” at the Education Investor Awards 2013. It is therefore a fantastic team to work in as a trainee as it is a busy team and there are lots of business development opportunities to get involved with. I have also been able to learn a lot about the education sector as a whole.

Working in the Retail team, I have drafted a report on title for a large, complex commercial development, prepared several Land Registry forms to register leases and easements and prepared and submitted an SDLT return. I have carried out work for large commercial organisations within the retail sector and one of the highlights of my seat so far has been attending a meeting at the head office of one of the firm’s largest retail clients.

I hope that the next three months brings more of the same!