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Abbie Bielby

Abbie is a first year trainee at Rollits. Her current seat is in the Company & Commercial department.

May 2021 - This month marked the half way point of my seat in the Company Commercial department. As I spend more time in the department I am gaining familiarity and confidence with commercial processes and drafting certain documents.

I have had lots of learning opportunities this month, from drafting ancillary documents which accompany the main agreement on a share purchase, to carrying out research into the procedure on a voluntary liquidation.

I have also spent some time this month looking at agreements used on the sale of businesses and setting out the implications of these agreements. This has been a great experience for gaining an understanding of the procedures adopted on share sales.

In addition, May saw the completion of a variation to a share sale agreement. I was involved in drafting the documentation last month and it has been rewarding and a good learning experience to see the matter through to completion.

I attended my first of the Professional Skills Courses this month, these courses ensure that trainee solicitors become competent to meet the needs of their clients. The course I attended was based on client care and provided a useful insight into the rules and regulations surrounding the provision of legal services. Next month I will take part in the advocacy course and I am looking forward to this.

This month I have been involved in the Charities work that the firm carries out, this has involved drafting letters to charities who may wish to apply for grants amongst other tasks. It has been great to gain an insight into the wide range of the work the department is involved with, which means no two days are the same.   

I have also carried out Employment research into post termination restrictive covenants and their enforceability. Areas of employment law can be very fluid and looking into the varied decisions of the Employment Tribunal and the reasoning behind those decisions is very interesting. I have also looked into employers duties with regards to track and trace and the measures employers have taken to ensure their workplace is Covid 19 secure.

I look forward to what June will bring!

April 2021 - My second month in the Company Commercial department has flown by!

This month I have been tasked with drafting various documents, from a variation to a Share Purchase Agreement, Heads of Terms for a sponsorship agreement, to a set of Conditions of Purchase.

This work has allowed me to improve my drafting skills, and allowed me to gain a knowledge and understanding of he clients that the documents are being drafted for.  

Even with remote working, my colleagues have been very helpful and offered excellent guidance -  it is reassuring that they are only a phone call away.

This month I have been involved with various client meetings over Zoom. It is always good to put a face to the name you have been emailing and as we progress into the new normal it will be great start seeing clients in person and rather than via a screen.

I have also carried out various research tasks, looking into the effects of the Financial Services and Markets Act on the sales of businesses, and the tax position for UK registered companies that have tax residencies overseas.

Rollits’ Employment team forms a part of the Company Commercial Department, and I have carried out several pieces of employment based research this month, which has been interesting and has allowed me to broaden my knowledge. I have also been involved with the preparation of bundles for Employment Tribunal hearings this has allowed me to gain an insight into the work that goes into a trial.

I have really enjoyed my first two months in the Company Commercial Department and I feel that I have already gained new skills and knowledge.  I am looking forward to the rest of my time in the Department!

March 2021: March has been my first month in the Company Commercial Department. After two and a half years working in the Property Department it has been exciting and challenging to start something new. This seat will incorporate commercial, corporate and employment work

The month has flown by and quickly felt settled in the department. Everyone has been helpful and patient whilst I have found my feet and although we are working remotely I have had the opportunity to see colleagues on Zoom and chat with them about matters over the phone.

This month I attended a virtual disclosure meeting. Following the meeting I was tasked with the drafting of specific disclosures. This has been a great opportunity for me to improve my drafting skills. It was also great to (virtually) meet the client’s and learn about them and their business.

I have also carried out some research in relation to chattels mortgages, looking into how plant and machinery can be used as security for a loan. It has been valuable to build on my research skills, as I looked into areas of law that I haven’t utilised since studying for the Legal Practice Course.

In terms of work for the Employment department, I have undertaken several pieces of research. The Covid 19 pandemic has seen many people work from home, and some people are fortunate to have second homes in Europe that they are able to work from. From this situation a question has arisen as to whether people working for UK based companies can establish employment rights in the country they are working from, as well as the domestic rights they have under their employment contract. I have undertaken research into this to clarify the position applicable to those working abroad.

I have learnt a lot this month and I am looking forward to what my next month in the Company Commercial Department brings!

January 2021 - It has been another busy month in the Property department as the countdown to the March 2021 SDLT holiday deadline draws closer.

Alongside residential transactions this month I have made an application to the Land Registry to register a caution against first registration. This entailed research into the Land Registry practice guide and ensuring that all their criteria were met, and I look forward to receiving the completed application.

This month I have carried out some research into the process of a lease extension where the immediate landlord does not have sufficient term left on their headlease to grant the extension. As a result, their landlord, as the competent landlord is joined in as a party to the lease extension proceedings. This research was very interesting and I look forward to seeing the matter progress and the process in action.

My role in the Property department has focused on work for Registered Social Landlord client’s. 2021 will see a new Shared Ownership lease following the Government’s proposal to make home ownership accessible for everyone. With the changes being effective for leases granted of properties acquired by Housing Associations using 2021 to 2026 grant money I have been getting to grips with changes to the model lease.

Also in January, I have carried out research into HMRC’s definition for residential property to determine which rates apply to land residential properties are being built on. The guidance is complex and sometimes surprising!

My time in the Property department is going by in a flash and I am excited to see to what the rest of my time in the department will bring.

December 2020 - December has been a very busy month in the Property department, and has required time management and preparation to ensure that residential completions run smoothly during the build up to the big day.

Working from home has meant that we have been without the usual December office buzz, but this month Rollits held it annual Christmas conference virtually, complete with a quiz, and this ensured that staff got into Christmas spirit!

This month I have been tasked with drafting a variation to a Lease, putting both my drafting and negotiation skills to the test. Alongside this I have been researching the complex rules surrounding SDLT, and researching easements and their limits. Both have been great opportunities to build on my knowledge.

I have also attended some socially distanced client meetings this month, as we adapt to the new normal!

I look forward to what work the New Year will bring!

November 2020 - As November draws to a close I can’t quite believe that I am half way through my seat in the Property department.

November has been a busy month in residential conveyancing with a combination of people trying to beat the Christmas rush to be in their new home for the big day, and the on set of a second lockdown.

I have also been busy drafting shared ownership leases and dealing with plot sales of shared ownership units on new build developments.

In addition to conveyancing and social housing work, this month I have been able to improve my drafting skills, drafting a lease for a charitable organisation. Tailoring the lease to our clients specific needs and negotiating the terms of the lease has been a great experience for me. I have also started work on a variation agreement to a Section 106 Agreement. Both of these pieces of work have brought a new and interesting challenge. The really valuable part of the drafting process has been going the documents I have drafted with a colleague and discussing how to strengthen my drafting.

This month I have been tasked with putting an agreement together to record the use of some unregistered land, with a view to applying for first registration of the land in the future. It has been great to try my hand at something new and really interesting to see how varied the work of a property lawyer can be.

I look forward to what next month will bring!

October 2020 - It has been another busy month in the Property department with lots of sales and purchases completing!

No two purchases are the same and it has been rewarding to see my knowledge grow on a range of matters, from the law surrounding septic tanks to Stamp Duty Land Tax.

This month I have been involved in drafting several transfers of part, and it has been beneficial to build upon my drafting skills. A valuable part of this process has been going through documents I have drafted with colleagues and gaining their insight.

I have also been involved in work for registered social housing providers, working on shared ownership leases, and sales under the statutory right to buy. Through this work I have built on my knowledge of the law surrounding social housing and seen how it works in practice.  

This month saw the firm move to a new practice management system, which we have all been adapting to. It has been challenging getting to grips with the new system but I can already see the benefits the new system will bring to my role.  

I look forward to the challenges that my next month in the Property department will bring!

September 2020 - My first month as a trainee has flown by!

Throughout September I have been involved in a variety of property matters, from the purchase of agricultural property to social housing and re-mortgages.  I have had the opportunity to advise client’s on a range of  matters, from restrictive covenants to chancel repair liability. The variety of work has allowed me to gain knowledge in lots of areas of property law.

Residential property has been especially busy, and it is rewarding giving client’s the call to let them know the keys to their new home are ready to collect.  This month I have also submitted an application for first registration to the Land Registry. It has been great to gain confidence working with unregistered titles. The broad range of matters I have been involved with means I have been able to develop new skills and build on my knowledge. I have also carried out research into the current Stamp Duty holiday. Although the legislation surrounding Stamp Duty is complex, it was interesting to see how the law works in practice.

As a staged return to work starts, it has been great to have discussions and go thorough documents in person with my supervisor. This has been beneficial and has allowed me to build on my knowledge and understand the law behind the transactions I have been working on.

I am looking forward to what my next month in the Property department brings!

 

After completing two years of work as a paralegal at Rollits I am excited to start my Period of Recognised Training with the firm and eager to see what new challenges it will bring.

I spent the latter part of my time as a paralegal working from home due to Covid 19 social distancing requirements, and I am happy to be back in the office adapting to the new normal surrounded by familiar faces (albeit from a  distance) as I begin my new role!

My first seat is in the Property department and I have been able to hit the ground running dealing with all aspects residential sales and purchases. Given the current Stamp Duty holiday, my six months in the department will no doubt be busy as people make the most of the duty relief, and I am looking forward to the challenges this will bring and the new skills I will develop along the way.

I have also being assisting our Registered Social Landlord client’s with the grant of shared ownership leases as well as Right to Buy sales. I have been able to look at Section 106 Agreements on paper and see how their mechanisms to provide social housing work in reality.

I have also been working on applications to the Land Registry for the first registration of unregistered properties -  it is always rewarding when these applications complete.

The variation of work means that everyday is different and an opportunity to learn something new and I am excited to see what the next six months will bring!

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