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Harry Spice

Harry is a second year trainee at Rollits. His current seat is in the Company & Commercial Department.

August 2021 - August has been a very busy month!  I have assisted in the completion of two business sales and a share sale. This has provided me with plenty of client contact. I have taken clients through amendments made to an asset purchase agreement, and liaised with them to ensure all pre-completion requirements have been met. I believe the client interaction during these transactions has helped me to be able to explain legal issues in a more accessible way. Assisting in these matters has also provided me with an opportunity to see what documents are required in particular situations, which is something I will be able to refer back to in my career.

Following on from July, I have again assisted with due diligence processes, in particular on two business sales. The due diligence process, from a seller’s perspective, requires them to respond to the buyer’s enquiries. I had to work through the enquiries with our client and help collate the information and documents required. The sale of a business can be a stressful time for the client, so it is rewarding to be able to help them during this period.

I have also had numerous drafting tasks to complete during August. I have prepared the ancillary documents for the transactions referred to above, which included a disclosure letter, and a completion agenda. Drafting ancillary documents is a common task for a trainee, so it is important that I know the purpose of each one. I believe that I have become more confident in drafting during my time in this department.

July 2021 - July has been a very busy month!

I have had plenty of opportunities this month to continue to develop my drafting skills. I was tasked with preparing a Due Diligence questionnaire for a purchase of a company, and also with preparing the replies to a Due Diligence questionnaire for another matter. I found that the knowledge I had picked up on previous DD processes really helped me when completing both of these tasks. The DD process is interesting as it requires the consideration of all aspects of the company/business being bought/sold.

I have assisted in the sale of a company. This has required me to attend client meetings and draft a range of documents, including the disclosure letter, Due Diligence replies and other ancillary documents. Being able to be heavily involved in a transaction has helped me develop an understanding of the requirements for different transactions. During my time in the Corporate department I have had the opportunity to be actively involved in some really interesting matters. I know that this experience will stand me in good stead.  

I have also reviewed, and produced notes on, share purchase agreements and share option agreements. I have found that reviewing such documents can benefit your drafting skills as you can begin to understand the thought process behind including/excluding different provisions, and how to advise clients on any recommended changes.

Rollits also ran their work experience programme during July. This is a great opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing a career in law to understand the type of work a trainee solicitor would complete at a commercial firm like Rollits. I enjoyed providing work to the students and then going through their findings with them. Having participated in the programme myself in 2017, I know how important it is to gain legal experience as a student. Work experience can help focus on which areas of law a student may be interested in pursuing a career once they have completed their studies.

​June 2021 - June marked my return to the Company Commercial Department, where I shall spend the remainder of my training contract.

I had the opportunity to assist in the due diligence stage of a share sale. As part of the process, I attended a client meeting and prepared the replies to the due diligence enquiries. This is an interesting process, as the replies require a different drafting technique. You also get the opportunity to work through the information and documents relating to the business to see what is relevant to the enquiries.

I have also assisted in the completion of a share buyback. This was my first experience of a share buyback transaction so it was beneficial to see how they work in practice. I feel that my understanding of share buybacks, and the different ways that they can be carried out, has improved during this transaction.

I have also completed some research on the Companies Act share buyback provisions, which allowed me to apply the knowledge picked up from the matter referred to above. I have also completed research on freedom of information requests, in particular considering the data protection exemption.

As part of the Humber Business Week, I attended the “Personal Brand - Earned Not Given” event. This provided some useful tips on how to create and sustain a personal brand. As we begin to return to some form of normality, I am looking forward to attending more events like this.

On reflection, I believe that my time in the Department so far has provided some great learning opportunities and I look forward to putting this into practice in the future. 

May 2021 - May marks my final month in the Dispute Resolution seat before I move back to the Company/Commercial department.

I had the opportunity to attend a Costs and Case Management Conference (CCMC) this month. This is a hearing in which the court can give directions as to the way a case is to be conducted and to set the future timetable up to trial. It was good to gain some experience of going to court, albeit via Microsoft Teams! I found this hearing useful as it gave me an insight into how an important stage of the litigation process works.

I also helped review a defence and the witness statements, before preparing a note which set out my thoughts of the defence and the approach the client should take. I felt that I learnt alot from assisting with this task, as I was able to improve my understanding on how to approach reviewing defence documents. A substantial amount of time during legal studies is spent focusing on the position of a claimant, so it was good to gain experience considering it from the other side. 

I have completed various other tasks during May, in particular looking at the processes for court applications to reinstate a company to the register and for lease extensions. These type of tasks improve knowledge on the Civil Procedure Rules, which is always helpful during the DR seat.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Dispute Resolution, and I believe that the experience will help me throughout my legal career.

April 2021 - April has been a busy month in the Dispute Resolution department. I have spent more time in the office during April, which has been a welcoming change!

One of the most interesting tasks I assisted in this month was to serve a claim form out of the jurisdiction. I found this matter really beneficial as it provided me with an understanding of the different rules for serving documents out of the jurisdiction, and how these rules have changed since the end of the transition period. It also gave me an opportunity to re-familiarise myself with aspects of the Civil Procedure Rules.

I have undertaken research on a wide range of areas. Particular highlights include looking into the Environment Agency’s statutory powers to undertake works, and researching into the powers of trustees under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. During my time in the Dispute Resolution department, I have been completed research tasks on various statutes and case law. I have really enjoyed this aspect of the work, and I hope that some of the knowledge I have picked up is useful in future practice.

I have also completed two PSC courses on Company Accounts and the Fundamentals of Finance this month. These courses have proven to be helpful as I now feel more confident in looking at company accounts and researching matters relating to finance. The courses build on the skills learnt during the LPC. Being able to understand and interpret accounts is an important skill for a solicitor.

March 2021: March has marked my first month in the Dispute Resolution department. I have been looking forward to this seat as I enjoyed it during my LPC studies!

During March I have undertaken a wide range of research. I was tasked with drafting a note for a client on the topic of village greens and public rights of way. This was a great opportunity to develop my ability to interpret the law in a manner which is easy for the client to understand, which is very important in practice.

I have also completed some interesting research for the family team. For example, I was required to look into the courts’ approach to certain assets in financial remedy proceedings. I have not had to directly consider any aspect of family law since my undergraduate degree, so it was good to have the opportunity to refresh on some of the basic principles!

One of the things I have particularly enjoyed so far is the opportunity to look into a wide range of areas of law, which means I am continuing to develop my knowledge and skills on a daily basis.

I am looking forward to the rest of my time in the department, and I hope that I can continue to assist in some interesting matters and areas of law!

February 2021 - My final month in the Company/Commercial Department has been very busy!

I have assisted with the drafting of specific disclosures in two matters. This has required me to attend client meetings to take note of the necessary disclosures before drafting them for the disclosure letter. This also requires liaising with the client to ensure the supporting documentation is provided for the disclosure letter. I have really enjoyed assisting in these tasks as it is a great opportunity to improve my drafting skills and for having direct client interaction. During my time in the Department, I have prepared various documents which require different drafting techniques. It has been a great learning opportunity and I believe the skills picked up in doing such tasks will stand me in good stead for future practice.

I have assisted in the drafting of a Loan Note Instrument and Certificates in one matter, and prepared the documentation for repayment of Loan Notes in another. I also prepared the ancillary documents for several other matters. I felt that I had a better understanding of how Loan Notes operate as I saw the process of redeeming them prior to drafting a LNI. It has been great to work on a wide-range of documents during February, and on reflection I feel that my time in the Department has helped me gain a greater understanding of how corporate transactions work.

During February, I completed numerous research tasks on issues ranging from the incoming IR35 changes to considering if contracting-out agreements can be ruled invalid due to duress. These tasks have helped me to develop my understanding of key topics, which I am sure I will need to refer to in the future.

I have had a great six months in this Department. I have learnt a considerable amount from my colleagues, who have been supportive throughout my time in the Department despite working remotely. The skills and knowledge I have picked up will definitely come in use during my next seat and beyond!

January 2021 - January has been a very busy month.

I have assisted with the due diligence process on a business sale and a potential investment. This has required me to attend client meetings to note the information and documents required, collate all of the information and prepare the due diligence replies. This has been a great opportunity to improve my organisation and drafting skills, especially the latter as the technique required for this is different to other documents. I feel that assisting in this process for two different types of matters has helped me gain an understanding of what information is required for the due diligence process, and I hope that I can use this knowledge again before moving seats!

January also saw me attend another board meeting to take notes before preparing the board minutes for the meeting. Being able to do this again provided me with an opportunity to reflect on what I have learnt since my first experience of taking board minutes. It is also a great opportunity to discuss what the client wants to ensure the minutes can be tailored to their requirements.

I have undertaken various research and drafting tasks this month. In particular, I have looked at the provisions in the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and how they impact on personal data in the UK. I also researched on the PSC/RLE regime and how this works for parent companies and their subsidiaries. It is important to keep up-to-date with changes to the law as a common task for trainees is to complete research tasks on upcoming changes. It also provides a great opportunity to improve your knowledge in a particular area.

As I enter the final month in the Company/Commercial department, I hope that I can continue to build on the skills learnt in the last 5 months.

December 2020 - December has been a very busy month!  I assisted in the completion of a financing matter which I had initially drafted documents for in November. I was again tasked with drafting numerous documents, which included notice of assignments, board minutes and a director’s certificate. I really enjoyed working on this financing matter, and I hope I get to use the experience gained from this during the rest of my time in the department.

I have also drafted board minutes, written resolutions and a deed of release of part of security for a number of different matters. I think I have become much more confident in drafting documents during my time in this department thanks to the opportunities I have had, and this has really benefitted my learning.

In addition, I attended a board meeting via video conference to take notes and then produce the board minutes for the meeting. This was a great chance to improve my note taking skills, which will be important for future board meetings and interviews with clients.

For the employment department I completed several different research tasks. The subject areas of these tasks ranged from the Part-Time Workers Regulations to an employee’s implied obligations. I was also tasked with completing research on Companies House filing penalties and then, based on the research carried out, provide the client with advice. I found this experience valuable as it gave me a chance to consider how I can continue to improve my research skills and ensure that any research task I complete in the future can be easily interpreted to the client.

I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead in 2021!

November 2020 - The first three months in the Company/Commercial Department has flown by!

This month I have been tasked with drafting various documents for the employment team, I drafted a service contract and a letter of appointment for a non-executive director. I have also had the chance to draft a debenture and a charge over shares for a financing matter. I have had no experience of working on financing matters so I am looking forward to seeing how they work! I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to improve my drafting skills in a number of different matters, and I once again hope that the skills used can be put to good use in the coming months!

I have completed various research tasks on topics such as the validity of e-signatures during the COVID-19 outbreak, to looking into whether deadlines exist for the payment of dividends. An interesting topic I was asked to research was the impact of Brexit on the EU Cosmetics and Detergent Regulations. As we come towards the end of the transition period, it has been important to keep up with the ever-changing guidance. As a trainee, we are often asked to look into areas which have had recent updates to the legislation or guidance. I have recognised that the research skills developed during my studies and throughout my training contract have proven helpful when completing such tasks.

I also attended the PSC Advocacy & Communication Skills course during November. I found the course really useful as the skills and techniques learnt can be used on an everyday basis, in and out of the office!

I am looking forward to the rest of my time in the Department.

October 2020 - My second month in the Company Commercial Department has proven to be particularly busy!

I have had the opportunity to draft the documentation required for a share buy-back; this included a share purchase agreement, shareholders’ written resolution, board minutes and the relevant Companies House forms. It was quite interesting to see what was required for a share buy back and the different processes which apply depending on how the buyback is funded. Drafting the documents has provided me with my first opportunity in the Department to develop my drafting skills, and I hope the knowledge gained undertaking this task will stand me in good stead for the remainder of my training contract.  

I have completed research tasks on a number of corporate matters. This included producing a note on the voluntary strike-off procedure for companies, which required me to consider the remaining steps a client would need to take to ensure they are in a position to make an application to be struck off. I was also tasked with undertaking research on the applicability of the Substantial Property Transaction provisions of the Companies Act 2006 to a particular transaction, before drafting the documents needed to approve a SPT. I find it much easier to build my knowledge in an area when I am able to apply it to a client’s query/issue. These types of tasks provide me with real-life experience which I can then refer back to in the future if any similar issues arise.

October has also brought with it a new practice management system to the firm. Although initially it was quite difficult adapting to a more modern system, it has been encouraging to see how easy it is to use and I have already found some of its features beneficial.  

I have really enjoyed my first two months in the Company Commercial Department and I am looking forward to the rest of my time in the Department!

September 2020 - September has marked my first month in the Company Commercial Department.

I have completed various research tasks on corporate matters, which has included producing a note considering the two processes which a company limited by shares may use to reduce their share capital. It has been really useful to complete research tasks such as this as I re-visit areas I have not covered since my undergraduate studies. I have also had the opportunity to undertake research on new legislation which has been introduced to deal with issues arising from COVID-19. An example of this is the temporary changes introduced for companies holding meetings. It has been important for legislation to be introduced to ensure companies and other entities are able to hold meetings which conform to the social distancing requirements. It has been interesting to see how quickly legislation and guidance has been created over the last few months to deal with the challenges caused by COVID-19.

In terms of commercial work, I have again completed several research tasks. This has involved a wide range of issues, from collecting societies and how each of their licences operate to considering the applicability of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 to an agreement. I have had little experience in these areas, so it has been beneficial to see how the licences and Regulations operate in practice.

Despite primarily working from home, I have still had great support from my colleagues. This is really helpful as I adjust to working in a new department. I am looking forward to the coming months and the challenges that lay ahead!

March 2020 - I have thoroughly enjoyed my first month working in the Private Client department.

I have had limited exposure to this area of law during the LPC, so it has been an interesting month as I build my knowledge on all things private client. Nevertheless, it has been a busy month!

I have been completing research tasks in a wide range of areas. I have considered issues such as the methods available to extend the perpetuity period of a trust, to the requirements for a foreign deputyship order to be granted recognition in England and Wales. I have also had the opportunity to draft several Court of Protection applications. It has been interesting to learn the different requirements for each application, and I hope that I can use this knowledge in future tasks I am assigned.

During my first month I have also been given several different documents to draft. These include wills, deeds appointing additional trustees and discretionary settlements. These tasks provide the ideal opportunity to improve my drafting technique, which is an essential skill for any lawyer.

I am looking forward to the next five months in the Department!

February 2020 - My final month in the property department has come around really quickly!

I have had various research tasks to complete on numerous topics. These tasks have included research on SDLT relief from the higher rate for companies, to considering whether the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 and whether it would be possible to use the rights within the Act. I have thoroughly enjoyed completing research tasks during my time in the property department. In particular, I have found it reward to see my knowledge in areas such as SDLT grow throughout the six months.

I have also had the opportunity to draft several lease reports. These provide the client with a brief overview of the provisions of a lease. I find these interesting to draft as you are able to consider the effects of the lease provisions. My drafting skills have improved significantly by drafting lease reports, as it has requires the skill of interpreting the lease provisions in a clear manner which the client can understand.

I also assisted in a property sale for the first time. This provided me with an opportunity to draft a sales contract and the CPSE.1 enquiries which are sent to the purchaser’s solicitor.

I will be spending the next six months in the Private Client department in York. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead!

January 2020 - After a relaxing Christmas break, the workload has increased as we head towards my final month in the property department!

I have done plenty of research this month on a range of topics. This includes on areas such as permitted development rights and their application to telecommunications, who the competent landlord is for the purposes of a lease extension and the prior approval procedure. A benefit of being in the property department is the wide range of areas which you get an opportunity to complete research tasks.

I have also had plenty of land registry applications and SDLT return forms to draft. As I come to the end of my property seat, some of these forms are becoming second nature! I have completed a handful of first registration applications. These are interesting as you get to read some of the old conveyances which contain unusual provisions.

I was also given the opportunity to attend the “What’s trending in IP” seminar in Manchester. This was an event to give lawyers an update on the recent IP cases on particular areas, such as design rights and employee benefits.

December 2019 - December has been another busy month in the property department.

With people taking time off over the Christmas period, I have had the opportunity to assist in completion and post-completion matters for several transactions this month. Helping on a matter which is coming to an end can be quite difficult as it requires you to check the file to see what has happened in the build-up to completion. However, this has also provided me an opportunity to test the knowledge I have acquired during my first three months at the firm.

I am also in the process of completing more first registration applications. These can be quite time consuming as it requires thorough reading of the conveyances and other relevant documents, and determining which of these will be required by the Land Registry.

I have also undertaken several pieces of research on topics which I have covered previously. For example, I have completed research on the stamp duty position where a person owns other property but is purchasing their main dwelling and what constitutes a main dwelling for stamp duty purposes. In doing this research I have realised the importance of research for trainees, as it provides an opportunity to build our knowledge.

I also attended the firm’s Annual General Meeting. This was a great opportunity to see how the firm has performed over 2019 and the aim for the following year.

I am looking forward to what 2020 brings!

November 2019 - I have now spent three months in the Property Department, and I cannot believe how fast the time has passed!

November has seen an increase in my workload as the whole department is busy! I have assisted in the completion of several purchases, ranging from agricultural fields to shops. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping out as it has given me an insight into the varying nature of each transaction. Now that I have spent a few months in the department, I am assisting in matters from the start to the finish. This is very rewarding as you get to know the client and the importance of the transaction to them.

Once again, I have been asked to complete various pieces of research. This month I have done research on areas such as permitted development rights and the planning requirements for HMO’s. I enjoy doing research tasks as you can assist in matters in the future when this issue arises again.

November was also the month for the Rollits Employee Forum Quiz. Although my team did not win, it was great fun! Events such as these provide opportunities to talk to fellow employees who you may not get chance to talk to on a regular basis.

I am excited to see what the next three months in the Property Department brings.

October 2019 - My second month in the Property Department has passed very quickly! I have settled into the department now thanks to the ongoing support of my colleagues. The support I have received has helped me to enjoy my time in this seat.

I have had the opportunity to get involved in several different matters. I have been given tasks in relation to drafting and reviewing leases. Having the opportunity to review them has helped me improve my drafting skills in relation leases.

I have been given several purchases to complete which has helped me to improve my time management skills. Getting involved in these has also shown me how the nature of each transaction varies, and that serious thought must be put into the requirements for each.

October has seen me complete several different pieces of research, ranging from topics such as undertakings required in a sub-sale to the implications on an uncertain term in a tenancy agreement.

I have been regularly involved in making Land Registry applications for various matters. These have involved registering transfers of property to withdrawing a restriction from a title. Having completed several first registrations in my first month at Rollits, I have been given several more to complete. In doing so I have realised how much I have learnt in my first two months in this seat.

During this month I have attended the Hymers Career Convention. This was a great event in which the pupils were well informed. I really enjoyed answering their questions in regards to pursuing a career in the legal profession. I have also attended the Young Talent Network Leadership Workshop which gave me an insight into the role of a leader within the professional workplace. I look forward to attending many more events in the coming months which will help me improve my skills for the future!

I am looking forward to the coming months as my workload increases.

September 2019 - My first month at Rollits has passed extremely quickly! I arrived after completing an LLB Law degree at the University of Hull, followed by achieving a Distinction in the LPC MSc in Law, Business and Management at the University of Law in Leeds.

My first week was predominately spent attending training sessions which enabled us to settle in quickly. These have proved really helpful as the month has progressed. The Property Department have been supportive and kept me busy for the first few weeks of my time here.

During my first month in the Department I have completed several pieces of research on areas such as Stamp Duty Land Tax. It has been rewarding putting the skills I learnt on the LPC into practice! I have also had the opportunity to complete various Land Registry applications for first registrations and transfers.

I have also had the opportunity to help out at the Heritage Open Events which Rollits hosted earlier this month. These were extremely busy and insightful as I learnt a lot about the history of the Firm! It was also an opportunity to meet new people.

It has been an exciting first month and I am looking forward to the rest of my time in the Property Department!

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