Harriet is a second year trainee at Rollits. She is currently on maternity leave.
December 2019 - December is such a lovely time of year to be in the office. Rollits have always made a real effort to make things festive and fun and this year was no different. Our annual staff conference was held at the Deep and incorporated a review of the year and also a look at things to come during the year ahead. We had a lovely Christmas meal, a festive staff quiz and we celebrated staff members who have stood out over the year and during their service at Rollits. It was such a lovely way to get everyone together and celebrate the year drawing to an end.
This month I switched from sitting with the commercial dispute team, to sitting with the family department. While I am still carrying out commercial dispute resolution work, this move has given me the opportunity become part of discussions on a more diverse range of matters with the family team. It has also helped me to get to know the members of the family team and to get a sense of how things are dealt with here. I have also become more involved in family matters. One task has involved drafting a divorce petition for one of our clients' and I then undertook the process of submitting this online and progressing the matter through the online portal.
On the commercial side I had more practice at drafting witness statements whilst assisting on a particular matter. When it comes to drafting witness statements, I get the feeling that practice makes perfect and it involves personal drafting style balanced with ensuring that there is sufficient detail incorporated into the statement.
I have also been involved in providing advice on a Partnership Agreement. While I have given advice on these types of agreements before, during my corporate seat, the approach is different here, since I was looking at this from a dispute stance
November 2019 - I had my first experience of Court this month, attending a possession hearing with one of the dispute resolution partners, which was very exciting! I gained experience of both the procedural elements of attending Court and also of observing how to address the judge . I also saw the manner in which a hearing such as this is carried out.
Another interesting matter I have assisted with, concerned the research and preparation of an application to the High Court, for a certified copy of a judgment and order, which is required so that we can enforce the judgement in question abroad. Although at the outset this seemed simple enough, the CPR specifies that this type of application must be accompanied by a witness statement and numerous supporting documents, making it more complex that initially envisaged. That being said, drafting the witness statement and application was good experience for me.
Another first for me this month, was attending the offices of a client to take a witness statement. I then drafted the first draft of the statement. When it comes to taking and drafting witness statements, the more experience the better!
The family team has involved me with some family matters, which is completely new territory for me. On one particular matter I was tasked with drafting a divorce petition, based on the unreasonable behaviour of the Respondent. I then attended a meeting with the client to run through the petition and also discuss the financial elements of the divorce and their next steps in the matter.
I also attended the University of York, Law Society Law Fair. This involved talking to students about our Work Experience Programme and Period of Recognised Training. I was able to answer questions from students, surrounding my route to qualification, consisting of undertaking the GDL, my legal experience having paralegalled for a number of years, before doing the LPC and also my experience of my training contract at Rollits.
October 2019 - This month I have been involved with preparing a DCO2 Form and supporting documents. This is the form used for claiming back dismissed defendant's magistrates' and crown court costs. Preparing these documents was a lengthy process of reviewing a very large file and ensuring that all costs claimed could be accounted for by corroborating documentation. This was a good exercise in attention to detail and understanding the costs procedure.
After drafting instructions to Counsel in September, this month I attended a telephone conference with Counsel to discuss their advice in detail. I am now in the middle of drafting an explanatory letter to relay this information to the client.
I was particularly excited to be a part of a matter which involved thorough research into vicarious liability and then the drafting of advice to the client. I enjoyed being involved in this work because of the level of complexity of this area of law and the volume of case law on the topic. Understanding it and applying it to the facts of the matter we were dealing with required real analytical thinking and problem solving, two things I love most about being a lawyer.
I had the opportunity to attend a the Annual Regulatory Crime Seminar given by 2 Hare Court in Manchester. This was an afternoon event where a number of barristers from 2 Hare Court Chambers gave presentations on various areas of regulatory crime. Although regulatory crime is unknown to me, the seminar provided a good overview and I also enjoyed the opportunity to network!
September 2019 - Here I am already at the end of my first month, in my last seat before I qualify. This seat is Dispute Resolution and the team have been quick to involve me in various tasks from day one which has been absolutely great.
Already I am finding that there is a notable difference between transactional and contentious work. In the Dispute team, research for example, really does involve starting with the law and evaluating its merits from all sides, rather than the commercial elements of the matter (although they obviously remain an important part of the work). I have undertaken a number of research tasks in the time I have been here and it remains one of my favourite skills of being a lawyer. I do really just love the investigatory, problem solving side to research and the learning of new legal concepts along the way.
So far I have been involved with the disclosure stage of a dispute. This involved checking which documents were requested from our disclosure list, by the other side, and compiling bundles of these documents to be sent to the other side. I have also been involved in instructing experts on this matter. I was tasked with sourcing potential experts and discussing the dispute with them, in order to see if they were appropriate to add to the list of potential experts.
I have also attended a client meeting on a matter which is at a pre-action stage. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the issues of the potential dispute and determine the best course of action. The result was to write a letter to the other side in the hopes that a resolution could be agreed between the parties. My role was to take thorough a file note of the meeting, ensuring all details of the meeting were noted. This is particularly important in this department as it is essential that file notes can referred back to with clarity and are a true representation of what was said at the meeting so that they can be relied upon.
Another exciting task has been to independently draft instructions to Counsel. In order to do this I needed to undertake a thorough review of the matter in order to understand the dispute at hand. I then had to explain the dispute and set out our client’s position in a logical manner within my instructions and also compile a bundle of relevant documents to send to Counsel with the instructions.
A great start to the seat and hopefully I will continue to be involved in matters to the extent I have so far.
August 2019 - Well here I am at the end of my second seat already and how time has flown! This month I’ve undertaken mostly corporate and commercial work which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
I’ve also been involved in a matter which concerned researching and determining whether an application for FCA authorisation was required for a client and the activity that they were going to undertake. We then assisted in the application process. On another matter concerning a business transfer, I was tasked with drafting a precedent form Notice of Assignment and a Consent to Assignment which will then be sent to the transferring contracting service providers.
On the corporate side I was tasked with drafting the ancillary documents on a large completion. The relevant documents included undertakings, written resolutions, board minutes, companies house forms and a bible. I have also assisted in a share reorganisation which involved re-designating a share by amending the existing articles of association and drafting the necessary special resolution, board minutes and companies house forms.
Although I am excited to move to my final seat, I am also sad to be leaving the Company Commercial Team. I’ve really enjoyed the work here and getting to know the team.
July 2019 - This month I have been able to become even more involved in corporate matters and I feel that I am becoming more adept with the process in which things are dealt with in the corporate team.
I’ve been tasked with preparing the first draft of completion ancillaries in relation to an acquisition. I’ve also prepared the share purchase agreement, board minutes and written resolutions along with the companies house forms on a share buy back matter. In addition to this I had the opportunity to draft the documents associated with a share re-designation.
From a commercial perspective I have had the opportunity of reporting and advising on a franchise agreement. The agreement was lengthy and my work involved research into the key considerations of franchise agreements. It also required a significant amount of application of legal knowledge and attention to detail.
I was able to attend an employment grievance meeting where I was tasked with note taking. I then compiled an agreed form of notes back at the office. This was an interesting opportunity to see how these types of meetings are conducted.
It’s been a busy month, however I have relished the chance to become involved in more complex matters and undertake tasks with more confidence and a more established knowledge base. I look forward to seeing what my last month in the company commercial team brings.
June 2019 - This month I have spent a lot of time working with the Corporate Team which has provided some useful insight into life as a corporate lawyer. I’ve had the opportunity to assist in the drafting of Deed of Retirement as well as a simple loan agreement. I’ve also be able to practice drafting board minutes and resolutions and undertake company filings. A particular highlight was preparing for and attending a General Meeting.
I have been able to get involved in an acquisition matter which largely involved assisting with the due diligence side of things and working on a first draft of replies to enquiries from the Buyers. I also attended a client meeting to discuss a share sale and how the client would like this to work.
In the Commercial team, I’ve was tasked with updating two Privacy Policies, to ensure that they comply with applicable data protection legislation (which includes the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018).
Outside of the office, I undertook my Client Care and Professional Standards two-day PSC course. I found this module a very useful reminder of the important aspects to keep in mind as a solicitor such as professional conduct, client care and work management. The course also gave insight into identifying, prioritising and dealing with matters of ethics, professional conduct, risk management and client care. The course was delivered in a very interactive and practical way which helped emphasise those points that were most important to heed in the workplace.
I look forward to starting my penultimate month in the Company Commercial seat!
May 2019 - Well I’m half way though my second seat already! This month has been a steep learning curve - having been given many new and interesting tasks to undertake.
On the employment side, I have had the opportunity to sit in on a preliminary telephone hearing for a constructive dismissal and discrimination claim, where we act for the employer. This was the first hearing I have attended and it was a great opportunity to build on my knowledge learned on the LPC and to see how things operated in reality, such as how to address the judge and how the judge handles each side. I then undertook a thorough amount of research surrounding the scope and extent of the employer’s obligation to make reasonable adjustments, in order to help assess and build our side of the case. I am looking forward to being involved in this case as it progresses.
The corporate team have involved me a lot more in some of their matters. I was given the task of drafting the various documents required to incorporate a new company such as the Articles of Association , Memorandum of Association and IN01. I have also had the opportunity of drafting board minutes and resolutions on a few matters and undertaking more company searches. I also attended a meeting to discuss a potential share sale.
In the commercial team, I have been able to attend a client meeting where we were asked to provide advice is relation to a subject access request. I have also undertaken research surrounding the judicial review case which is evaluating the legality of s.19 permits under the 1985 Transport Act, exempting not-for-profit organisations from having to obtain operators licences and whether this provision complies with the associated EU Regulation. I have then been involved in communicating our advice back to the client to include the ramifications of any change in the law made to UK legislation in order to comply with EU law.
Overall this has been a thoroughly enjoyable month and I feel really well integrated into the team.
April 2019 - I have really enjoyed my second month in the Company Commercial Department. I have had the opportunity to get to know everyone on the floor and I now feel settled and part of the team.
This month I have become more involved in trade mark matters which has been exciting. I have had the opportunity to draft various confirmatory assignments, assigning trade marks between companies. I have also been tasked with liaising with a number of countries to ascertain their individual requirements to record the new owner of the trade marks in these countries. Additionally, I was able to review a licence agreement for a client and then enjoyed observing a meeting to discuss the agreement with the client.
The Corporate Team asked me to update the company books for a client following various company changes. This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to do this, and although it took quite a while to research how this was done so as to ensure each change was correctly recorded, now that I have done this once, I expect that the second time will be faster. I have also undertaken research for the Corporate Team to include research surrounding the Companies Act 2006 and also about Royal Charters, what they are, how they are founded, their borrowing powers and their insolvency procedures.
We held a cake bake and former Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle judged the cakes. Easter hampers were also prepared by one of our colleagues as raffle prizes and the money raised by the raffle was be split between Mind and the Dan Kitching 35 Foundation - Rollits chosen charities of the year.
Overall it has been a busy month and I have enjoyed becoming more heavily involved with matters from each area of the Department
March 2019 - Well my first month in the Company Commercial Department has come to an end already. Having worked in Commercial Property for a number of years in York, it has been quite an adjustment for me, not only starting a new area of law, but also now working in the Hull office. This move has been a welcome change of pace though and I have loved the opportunity to better get to know my fellow colleagues and to integrate myself into a new team and dynamic. I think that big moves such as this, where you are moving outside of your comfort zone, just show how important being adaptable is, in a work environment.
The Company Commercial Department incorporates the Employment, Corporate and Commercial teams and I have been given work from each team, with a strong focus on Employment Law.
I have been tasked with some large research projects from the Employment Team, including research behind changes in employment law over the past 12 months and in particular new case law in relation to the ever evolving “Gig Economy”. Additionally I have spent considerable time exploring case law surrounding reference periods used to calculate holiday pay, where the existing legislation is not clear cut and also some pernickety aspects of the redundancy process.
From the Commercial Team, I have been asked to familiarise myself with the GDPR and Data Protection legislation in order to assist with providing legal advice in relation to a large data subject access request. I have also assisted with the first drafts of data sharing agreements. A more complex drafting assignment has been concerned with the drafting of the consultancy element of an Agreement for Purchase of Goods and Services. I was also able to observe a meeting with a client who required advice surrounding some IP queries.
I quickly got to grips with carrying out company searches and reports for the Corporate Team and also had the exciting opportunity of attending a client meeting with a client who is at the early stages of selling a business. Additionally I have been looking into ways in which a long-standing but fully repaid charge in favour of a lender who has long-since been dissolved, can be removed from the Property Title.
I look forward to what the next month in this seat will bring!
February 2019 - I cannot believe I have reached the final month of my first seat! The months have flown by.
This month I have completed my Professional Skills Course in Business and Finance. This is a mandatory 3 day course, that trainees must complete before they are able to qualify as a solicitor and it includes an exam on the final day. The course was jam-packed with information and there was a lot to take in, however the content was extremely interesting. I definitely have a better understanding of investments and investment products and the (limited) extent of advice and information that solicitors are able to give to clients.
I have also had the pleasure, along with a few of the other trainees, in assisting Pat Coyle with an Institute of Directors event, held at the Hull University Business School. This involved ushering and registering delegates and the opportunity to watch the speaker, once guests were seated.
The rest of the month has been spent in the office, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting my teeth in to some new tasks. One being the drafting of a Deed of Variation to a Transfer. I have also carried out thorough research surrounding Neighbourhood Planning and its creation and implementation. Following this research I then drafted an Article which should appear on the Rollits website some time soon!
From a more commercial property perspective, I have been dealing with the drafting of a lease renewal and a new lease of two industrial units. I addition I am dealing with a commercial sale of part which has involved more complex drafting of the contract and consideration of restrictive and positive covenants that must be incorporated into the Transfer.
I look forward to March as I will be moving from the York office to the Hull office to start my second seat in the Company and Commercial Department. This will be completely new territory for me and I am excited to see what new challenges and task the coming months bring!
January 2019 - I have welcomed a slightly calmer start to this month than other months since working at Rollits. This has been hugely productive, as I have had time to carry out some thorough research on topics that I haven’t touched on in too much detail since the LPC. Finding the time to do this can sometimes be tricky!
I’m excited about a new task that I have been given in relation to drafting a Deed of Easement, the first steps being to meet with the client and discuss the extent of the right of way that is to be granted and explain all of the considerations that must be taken into account. So far this has meant undertaking thorough research to refresh my knowledge of Easements allowing me to consolidate the types of questions I need to ask the client prior to drafting the deed. I look forward to the actual drafting, once I have met with the client.
This month I have also been tasked with drafting a licence, preparing a first registration and carrying out further Land Registry registrations. There has also been time to make the most of some training sessions on commercial leases and construction contracts. These training sessions are always great, as there is precious time set aside to ask any questions that come to mind.
In the second week of January I took part in my first PSC Course on Advocacy and Communication Skills. I absolutely love presenting and as such I really enjoyed developing my persuasive presentation skills. It was also great to learn more about how to undertake various aspects of a trial to include; opening and closing speeches, cross examining a witness and undertaking evidence in chief. I look forward to the next PSC course next month.
December 2018 - This month has been lovely with everyone in the office embracing the festive season and joining in with various Christmas celebrations. This has been great as I have been able to get to know even more colleagues in each office.
I have also enjoyed attending a few networking events to include the Chambers of Commerce Christmas lunch. I always thoroughly enjoy learning about other businesses operating in the area and having the opportunity to establish some good relationships.
Whilst being a particularly cheery month, December has been a busy one. I continue to deal independently with residential property related matters and many of these clients, hope to complete their transactions before Christmas. Trying to therefore ensure that this happens before the holidays is testing and requires a significant amount organisation, preparation and management.
I have also been tasked with further complex commercial and planning matters to include a commercial remortgage, a lease extension and drafting of a new commercial lease. I have dealt with these matters independently and I have welcomed the challenge. Additionally, I have assisted in drafting a legal statement to accompany a planning appeal as well as reviewing a contract for sale of agricultural land.
I am excited for the next month as I hope to become involved with some more planning and development work and I will also undertake my first Professional Skills Course in Advocacy and Communication Skills
November 2018 - Another busy month in the Planning and Development Department and I am now really starting to find my feet! This month I have undertaken various research projects to include finding and exploring supporting case law in order to build an appeal to a planning decision.
I have also been involved in a few drafting tasks including a Deed of Variation to an Option Agreement as well as a Deed of Release to a Pre-Emption Agreement. This involved carefully comparing other example documents from our database and precedent documents from Practical Law, in order to tailor each new deed to the individual matter at hand and their specific requirements.
I have also been tasked with drafting a commercial lease. I am now amidst negotiations of the terms of the lease with the Tenant’s solicitor. This is great experience for me to balance negotiation skills, so as to achieve an agreed form of lease, whilst ensuring that important terms remain incorporated in to the lease that our client requires.
This month has also been a busy month of networking and I enjoyed attending the “Word Class York” Business Conference at York Racecourse and “Economic York” at the Principal Hotel, York. The more networking I become involved with, the more I realise that this is an important skill that cannot be underestimated, as it is pivotal in keeping existing and building new connections. As Christmas approaches, I am looking forward to attending more events!
October 2018 - I am just coming up to the end of my second month in the Planning and Development Department which has gone by in a flash!
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my colleagues in department, who have been so patient and welcoming and really do take a lot of time to explain things to me in depth.
This month I have had the opportunity of reviewing and amending a Section 106 Agreement, reviewing a Wayleave Agreement and explaining the obligations under the agreement to our client and also drafting a Deed of Variation of an existing overage agreement. I was also asked to research Agricultural Occupancy Conditions and their implications and also case law surrounding how these can be lifted.
The really beneficial part of the process is going through each document I have drafted with a colleague, who will discuss how to change certain aspects to strengthen my drafting and which things to consider in order to make each document more favourable to the client. I will then have the opportunity to review the final draft from my colleague and compare this with mine and really spot those changes.
These have all been exciting tasks for me as they have each involved thorough research to allow me to really understand the law behind each matter. This has helped me lay a good foundation of legal knowledge, which I can now start to build upon.
I look forward to next month, where I hope to have further opportunities to test what I have learnt this month and also become involved in more complex development matters.
After graduating from my degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Hull in 2012, I then completed the GDL at York College of Law in 2013. Following this I worked as a paralegal for several years before commencing the LPC at BPP University in Leeds, which I completed in September 2017.
Having worked for Rollits for just under a year as a Paralegal in the Property Department dealing with residential and commercial property matters, I am now entering my fourth week as a trainee solicitor in the Planning and Development Team. My first few weeks involved handing over existing files, while undertaking various training courses. I was also pleased to meet the new trainees and my trainee supervisor and mentor.
I have now returned from my holiday and I am eager to get back in to the throws of work within my new team and I look forward to seeing what the next six months bring!