Millie Bird – Trainee Blog
I feel like this month I have really had exposure to many areas of employment law. I have reviewed a bundle of documents to form a view on whether there is potential for an employee to resign claiming constructive unfair dismissal, and as a follow up I attended the client meeting where the fee earner gave the legal and practical advice.
I have also worked on a mater giving advice regarding competition. As part of this, I looked at the contract of employment for express competition provisions, the scope of the implied term of duty of fidelity and whether fiduciary duties needed to be considered. Again, I was able to attend the client meeting to see how the background work which I did was used as the basis for advising the client.
A lot of tasks in the employment seat are research based and this month I have looked into a range of topics including bullying and harassment and its relationship with unfair dismissal, the weight that can be given to interviews during a redundancy process, employment benefits that transfer under TUPE, and the law on a seconded employee bringing employment claims against the host.
I have also undertaken some work for the commercial team and the charities team. I drafted a data sharing agreement which is a document that regulates the sharing of personal data between two or more parties for a required purpose. I am also working on the conversion of a charity to a CIO which is currently in the early stages but I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses.
I attended my second PSC course which was Financial and Business Skills, this is the only module which is tested by an exam, and I await my results.
At the beginning of the month, I moved desks within the department to sit in the employment team with a focus on undertaking work within this area for the next three months. Having only a few weeks of experience I am already really enjoying the range of tasks I have been asked to do.
I have been involved in a lot of research covering a range of areas, including whether wrongful dismissal is always a repudiatory breach, whether the time limit for a discriminatory notice of dismissal runs from the date of the notice or termination and whether the fact that services will be carried out in a different manner following a relevant transfer defeats TUPE.
I also attended court for the first time to cover for a member of the dispute resolution department. I familiarised myself with the context of the case and sat behind counsel at a hearing to agree directions. Whilst I was initially quite nervous to go to court on my own, I found this to be a really interesting experience and I look forward to hopefully doing more of this when I am in the department from March.
I have also worked with the commercial team to search for a trademark, review the classes registered against the trademark and analyse whether the activities actually undertaken by our client are covered by the classes.
I have had some more experience drafting standard company documents this month. As part of a wider demerger transaction, I prepared a set of board minutes, written resolution and supporting documents to support the reduction in share capital element. I also looked into how a company could reclassify its existing shares and allot new shares, which would require a new set of articles, I am now on with preparing these, along with the other supporting documents (board minutes and special resolution).
I did my first Professional Skills Course module this month which was Client Care and Professional Standards. As well as becoming familiar with different areas of law, it is equally as important (if not more) for trainees to be aware of the code of conduct and their ongoing duties, which will be paramount throughout our whole career.
As I am now halfway through my corporate seat, I am moving desks to sit within the employment team. Whilst I have been involved in a couple of employment matters already, I am looking forward to gaining more exposure to this area.
This month I have had chance to get stuck into a variety of tasks. I have done some drafting for the corporate team, preparing first drafts of an Asset Purchase Agreement, Deed of Retirement and Accession for a partnership and a Briefing Note on the content of another Asset Purchase Agreement. I have also been involved with an initial client meeting to discuss exit strategies from a company, this was useful to see how to gather the relevant information, advise on the different options and consider next steps.
I attended a trustees’ meeting for a charity that we act for and took minutes. Following this, I used dictation for the first time so that the minutes could be typed up. I also prepared a first draft Commercial Services Agreement and then sat in on the client call to discuss any amendments and deal with questions.
As well as this, I have continued to do research, often reviewing Articles to see how a company takes particular decisions and handling standard case management tasks such as winding up searches and disqualified director checks.
I am looking forward to continuing to develop my skills and learning more across the different teams.
This has been my first month with the corporate department and everybody has been really welcoming. I am enjoying the variety of work as there are a few different teams, each specialising in a different type of work.
I have drafted some board minutes and written resolutions to deal with the re-designation of shares and to deal with a company entering into a loan agreement, in both instances a director conflict needed authorising which has been good experience to spot when conflicts can occur and how to address them (depending on the Articles).
I have also had some research tasks for both the commercial team and the charities team which I have found really interesting and a nice change.
The firm held the Macmillan coffee morning in the York office and we also had a bake sale for our Hull office charity of the year, Bliss. It was great to kickstart the fundraising efforts for both of our charities of the year and I felt proud to be part of it.
As my time in the property department comes to an end I have been trying my best to finalise all of the matters I have been working on and pass back those which are still ongoing.
I managed to get a first registration which I had been dealing with for several months submitted when the Grant of Probate came through from our private capital team. I also did a couple of smaller agricultural jobs which involved drafting a grazing agreement and a farm business tenancy for a client. I unfortunately will not get to see these complete but it is good experience to be involved with the drafting.
I worked on a multi-disciplinary matter which was extremely interesting, to see how the skills and expertise of individuals in various departments are required to conclude on how to progress the matter. I really enjoyed working as a broader team to discuss and collaborate our ideas, and see the relevance of different departments on one job.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the property department and I am thankful for the knowledge and skills which I have developed. It does feel a little odd to be saying goodbye to the department after two and a half years, but I am very much looking forward to a new challenge.
It has been a fairly short month as for the first half I was enjoying a well deserved holiday at the start of the month. When I returned we had the second group of work experience students with us.
I had the opportunity to work with our planning team to prepare a first draft letter of objection to a planning application. It has been really interesting to work within a different area of property and use the local authority planning portal to find relevant documents, as well as preparing a document which is persuasive in nature and work on those skills.
I also got to see a purchase file which I have been working on complete this month. I felt a real sense of achievement seeing it all come together as it was a matter which I had worked on from the start.
As I enter the final month of my property seat I am ready to tie up loose ends of the matters I have been working on. I have also found out that my next seat will be with the corporate team and I am excited to see what is in store for me from September.
This month I have had the opportunity to take on some bigger tasks including a leasehold auction purchase, a purchase of a building including a shop and a commercial lease of a unit within a shopping centre. I have also had the opportunity to undertake some more research regarding property owned by charities and the Official Custodian which I found to be really interesting.
Whilst it is good to get knowledge and experience of all aspects of property work, the big jobs really do give me a real sense of what it would be like to be a commercial property lawyer. As part of these tasks, I have reviewed and amended two leases and reviewed CPSEs, searches and a lease in order to prepare a report on title / lease.
We have also had the first group of work experience students with us for the last two weeks of this month. It has been incredibly fulfilling to realise how far I have come since being at university to now doing my training contract, and passing on my own knowledge and experience where I can.
I am going on holiday next month and it is pretty busy on the run up to update the lawyers on where I have got to on their files. I am, however, ready for some relaxation and rejuvenation time, but looking forward to seeing what the last couple of months of my property seat has in store!
I cannot believe it is almost the three month mark of being a trainee and halfway through my property seat!
This month I have considered drafting a TP1 in depth, and the surrounding legal issues to ensure a seller can use their retained land for the purpose they intend to. I have also worked with the dispute resolution team in preparing a Section 25 notice, which has been good to see how the departments are interlinked.
I have also spent a fair amount of time this month sifting through deeds to prepare for a voluntary first registration application, and finding the root of title.
I have been briefed by colleagues on a couple of matters which are right at the outset and I am looking forward to seeing those progress over the coming weeks and hopefully I will get to see some matters complete.
I have had the chance this month to take on some more varied tasks including drafting, preparing Land Registry applications and SDLT returns, as well as continuing to do research.
I prepared a Land Registry application for first registration and it was good to see the differences between this and a standard application where the property is registered.
I drafted a tenancy at will which was interesting as I am beginning to see and work on other interests in property, aside from simply buying and selling property which I worked on in the residential team.
I also attended my first Hull Young Professionals event, which was an afternoon at Beverley Races. It was particularly nice to spend time with my fellow trainees as well as meeting other people in the industry and getting an opportunity to network.
Having spent the month transitioning from being a paralegal in the York property department to beginning my training contract in the Hull property department, it has been interesting and insightful to take on some new tasks.
I have spent my time this month doing several research based tasks in various news areas, preparing SDLT returns, helping out with a farm purchase and preparing a couple of commercial lease summaries. Alongside the other trainees, I also helped out with setting up for a breakfast seminar at the office.
Everybody in the department has been super supportive in allowing me time to tie up loose ends from my paralegal workload, and I am finding it really helpful getting feedback on the new pieces of work I have undertaken to help with my continuous development.
I am looking forward to seeing what challenges the month ahead brings, as well as attending my first young professionals event!