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Jordan Collinson

Jordan is a first year trainee at Rollits. His current seat is in the Private Capital Department.

December 2021 - December has proven another diverse month in the Private Client department consisting of a range of new matters.

I have attended numerous client interviews to take initial instructions from clients and the administration of estates. The interviews provide a good grounding for dealing with an estate and enables us to ascertain; any assets and liabilities of the deceased, any specific bequests or pecuniary gifts and how the estate is administered.

Client contact has increased this month. I have had the opportunity to liaise with clients directly via telephone, meetings, letters and email. Client contact is important as a trainee as you get a feel of what it is like dealing with a wide range of clients and how best to approach difficult conversations.

Alongside the client contact, I have also dealt with more taxation issues and researched the law and practicality of grossing up pecuniary gifts where part of a deceased’s estate is exempt from Inheritance Tax and the legacies are given free of tax.

Transactions have progressed; I now have a good grasp of how estates are administered from beginning to end - including all of the constituent steps in ensuring they are administered effectively and that any tax liabilities have been settled.

I have also drafted a range of trust documents including; deeds of appointments of trust funds/appointed funds, deeds of appointment of additional trustees, deeds of retirement of trustees and deeds of variation. Drafting the deeds has prompted more understanding of trust law principles, how they apply in practice and the steps needing to be taken when modifying an existing trust.

November 2021 - November has been a busy month in the Private Client department and I have continued to enhance my legal knowledge and skills throughout.

I have spent a lot of this month drafting new trust documents, including; Wills and Deeds of Variation. As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, drafting is extremely important in ensuring the purpose, intent and interpretation of documents suit the client’s needs. Disputes can arise due to poor drafting of trust documents so ensuring drafting is clear is essential.

I also completed my Professional Skills Course in Finance and Business Skills this month - which marks the completion of all of the core modules needed for qualification as a solicitor. I will begin my optional modules in the new year after I have considered the most appropriate modules which suit my career progression.

Alongside drafting documents I have also helped deal with the progression of current matters that face technical complications. I have dealt with Income Tax liabilities of an estate that has been discharged for Inheritance Tax Purposes and looked at how Income Tax should be paid in such circumstances.

Dispute Resolution has crossed over with the Private Client department this month, as I attended a meeting with Counsel who deals specifically with taxation and extant liabilities on the gifting of monies through a corporate vehicle. All elements of taxation were considered including; Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, National Insurance Contributions and Corporation Tax. Taxation can be complex and attending this meeting with counsel prompted a further understanding of tax regimes and the associated legislation.

I completed more IHT400 returns and associated schedules and also compiled information on paid income to send to a colleague to deal with an Income Tax return for a deceased client.

October 2021 - The last month in the Private Client department has been diverse and enabled me to enhance my legal skills in more difficult areas of the law. I have dealt with specific elements of taxation including Capital Gains Tax and reporting dates and Inheritance Tax and exemptions. In terms of Inheritance Tax I have dealt with a moderately large estate with a gross value of over £3 million and this has led to a thorough understanding of reporting requirements in an IHT400 and a dozen associated schedules.

I have applied for general documents which are needed when applying for probate and have retrieved previous probate documents including grants and wills.

This month has also provided an opportunity to deal with the trust side of the department more which is something that I am interested in. I have drafted a declaration of trust and evaluated the impact that this will have on a complex transaction. I have also drafted land transfers and dealt with the required declarations of trust within. Trust Law can be increasingly complex as trust follow alternative tax treatment and generally fall outside of an individual’s estate. Going back to the foundation principles of legal and beneficial interests, trustees, settlors and beneficiaries has been important as principles such as these touch most aspects of the law.

I also dealt with a variety of different documents and drafted deeds of variation and deeds of gift.

September 2021 - At the beginning of September I moved to my second seat in the Private Client department within the firm and have been dealing with a new range of matters.

Private Client work deals primarily with wills, trusts and administration of estates. It has been a great experience to see how these types of work are handled; as they are generally non-transactional in nature and involve dealing with clients exclusively to document their wishes.

I began the department; drafting a variety of wills, drafting Inheritance Tax application forms and attending meetings in order to take instructions from clients outlining how they would like their assets to be dealt with.

I have also had chance to look at trusts and how properties are held on trust as joint tenants or tenants in common. I revisited the survivorship rule, overreaching and appointment of trustees in order to validly dispose of property which is in the testator’s name. It is clear that there are departmental cross-overs are much of this information arose when I was in the Property department.  

Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPAs) also make up a large part of the department and I have dealt with the drafting of these this month. LPAs are executed by an individual (the donor) during their lifetime when they are capacious and then effected and utilised when that individual loses capacity. LPAs enable relatives or other individuals to deal with the donor’s health and welfare decisions and financial decisions at a time where they are not competent to deal with their own.  

I have completed a handful of additional seminars this month, including; Dealing with Problem Wills, Advance Decisions and Living Wills, Tax Efficient Will Drafting, Capital Gains Tax for Private Client Lawyers and The Role of Executors and Trustees in Wills.

I also took a week long holiday as it was my birthday in September!

August 2021 - August marks the last full month in the Property and Planning department and it has been a busy one!

I have dealt with a wide variety of tasks this month and have developed my skills as a trainee within the firm.

I spent a large amount of time this month dealing with new transactions which were assigned to me. I have dealt with these sorts of commercial property transactions before within the department but this month I was given them to deal with from start to finish. It is great to see that I have progressed enough to be trusted to deal with most aspects of the matters supervised and not just certain parts.

Dealing with transactions from start to finish is important practice for when you qualify as it gives a well-rounded view of how transactions progress and what is needed to be done post-completion.

I have also dealt with a legal charge this month including; investigating title, drafting the charge, meeting with the client to get the charge executed, dealing with restrictive covenant breaches, indemnity insurance policies, certificates of title and completion of the charge. This has been a valuable experience as it taught me more particularly how to deal on behalf of a lender and also lender requirements when dealing with mortgages and security of them.

Additionally, I have dealt with a dispute resolution matter which has been interesting as it illustrates how important following procedure and keeping to deadlines can be. Dealing with a property dispute within the department makes it clear how different departments interlink and how working collectively as a firm, cross-departmentally, is vital.

There were also a handful of completions which I have dealt with this month which is great practice!

Overall my experience in the Property department has been very rewarding, has enhanced my skills as a trainee and has contributed greatly to my professional development!

My next seat within the firm will be Private Client and will commence on 6 September 2021.

July 2021 - At the beginning of July,  Rollits held their annual Charity Golf Day which was in support of Dove House Hospice. As a trainee, you will often get to be involved in the execution and support of such events which are great opportunities to network and raise commercial awareness within the region.

The firm also began its intake of summer vacation scheme students this month and it was great to see students able to attend the office and get as much experience as possible in legal dealings. Vacation schemes are particularly important for law students who wish to pursue a career in law as it gives the students a clear understanding of practising and helps them decide which area or sector they find particularly interesting. Taking the time away from my desk and speaking to the students about university and my career path was refreshing and made me realise how far I had come since my second year at university.

Additionally, I carried out a significant amount of work on restrictive covenants during July. Covenants are promises to do or not do a specific act on or in a  property. I acted both for the covenantee (the person with the benefit of the promise) and the covenantor (the person giving the promise). I drafted restrictive covenants for a client so their interests are protected on a sale of part of their land. I also acted for a purchaser and looked at historic covenants which had been breached. I applied case law to the facts and looked at judicial interpretation to see how the circumstances which we faced may be interpreted.

I have drafted various documents including; contracts that incorporate farm business tenancies, overage agreements and statements of truth in support of claims of adverse possession over land. Getting experience in drafting is vital when training as being a sound draftsperson is key to protecting a client’s interest and preparing for all eventualities.

One of the larger transactions in which I was involved has also completed this month and it was great to see colleagues come together in supporting each other throughout and to tie up the post-completion matters.

June 2021 - Throughout June I have carried out further tasks for one of the larger transactions in the department. This transaction deals with leaseholds and freeholds of land and involves extensive analysis and investigation of title documents. Investigating title and knowing which documents to analyse is vital in providing sound and thorough advice to the client.

Similarly to the last couple of months, I have carried out research on Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) - including potential tax liability for tenancies at will. I have also dealt with Net Present Values on leases and calculated the required SDLT payments due. SDLT1 forms were also drafted in order to satisfy clients’ filing obligations.

Continuing competence is another important element of practising and therefore solicitors ought to be kept fully up to date with any legislative changes which are relevant to their sector and keep up with any required training. All fee earners in the firm are required to carry out Anti-Money Laundering (AML) training, which I did this month. Being astute to money laundering is essential as law firms are regulated and have specific obligations when operating.

As a trainee it is also a prerequisite that the Professional Skills Course (PSC) is carried out - this comprises around seven modules that develop your legal skills before being admitted to the solicitors roll. In June I carried out the advocacy and communication skills module which runs through representing clients in court and how to carry out examination in chief and cross-examinations. This was a valuable experience as advocacy is only briefly touched upon on the Legal Practical Course.

I continue to deal with general transactions and have progressed my transactions throughout the month in anticipation of completions.

Earlier in the month I also took some annual leave and enjoyed the bank holiday weekend in the sun!

May 2021 - The end of May marks the mid-point of my six months in the property department. Throughout the past three months, I have learnt vital skills which prepare solicitors for analysing, interpreting and progressing matters.

May has been another busy month with a variety of different tasks being undertaken. I have carried out significant research on Stamp Duty Land Tax and the 3% additional surcharge which applies when a purchaser has more than one property. In researching the principles and conditionality of the surcharge I also applied these to specific circumstances in order to advise on a purchaser’s tax liability on completion.

I have completed a variety of transactions including leases and under-leases and also carried out more learning on Security of Tenure, excluding Security of Tenure and the procedure which ought to be followed in order to validly exclude it.

As part of a larger transaction, I have carried out title investigations in order to advise a client on any extant liabilities and obligations. I have carried out map searches to identify the extent and boundaries of a property. In addition to this, I have interpreted plans which are complex and include a variety of titles and parcels of land which overlap. Being involved in part of a larger transaction with senior employees is a great way of seeing how to structure and plan intricate transactions with several moving parts.

In one of the matters which I am dealing with, I have been liaising with another firm who are acting for the lender and have provided responses to initial inquiries to better inform the lender of the title of a property and how secure their funds are which they are set to advance.

Towards the back end of the month, I also wrote a blog on commercial transactions and the constituent steps which transactions ordinarily take.

April 2021 - As May fast approaches it marks my second month in the property department. This month has been equally as busy as the first and I have spent a lot of time assisting other team members with a variety of tasks. I spent much of this month focusing on leases including; drafting lease reports, a deed of surrender, a statement of truth and an Assured Short Hold Tenancy. I have also done extensive work on historic leases including interpreting and investigating title to advise on leasehold structures. I made applications to Land Registry to close leasehold titles for leases that have been determined by effluxion of time and by operation of law.

Additionally, I have carried out research tasks on Stamp Duty Land Tax where a purchaser is not a UK resident and also on the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and applied the Act to a bridging finance agreement. I also drafted a range of documents including; contracts of sale for land, reports on title, transfers, letters to clients and engagement letters.

Last week I also dealt with my first exchange of contract and completion! This was a great experience as I saw the transaction through from start to finish and undertook all elements of the transaction in order to facilitate completion. It is very rewarding to see the cumulation of weeks of work come together and result in a successful land transaction and a happy client. As part of the completion, I also dealt with a variety of post-completion matters.

I have already learnt a lot about property law and practice during my time in the seat and expect the next 4 months will lend themselves hugely to my ability to practice successfully as a solicitor

March 2021 - As the end of March approaches I have finished my first month of my Training Contract! I have been very busy in my first seat - which is Property. There has been an influx of clients who are wishing to make use of the Stamp Duty Land Tax relief which was introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in July 2020. As this has now been extended further to June 2021 and then tapered till September 2021 I expect my first seat will continue to be busy throughout my six months in the department.

As part of the Property team I have been undergoing various research tasks which have facilitated the sale of properties and also pushed along the transaction when a technical issue faces the client. I have done legal research on; perpetuity periods in respect of restrictive covenants, landlord’s obligations in commercial leases, agricultural protected tenancies, local land charges and overriding interests and residential leases and serving of notices during the amended legislation due to Covid. Legal research has prompted me to develop and understand areas of the law which are not taught at university and also which are complex in nature.

Alongside this, I took on the responsibility of a planning obligation and made representations to the Local Planning Authority on behalf of the client. This was invaluable in terms of drafting experience and gave experience in planning matters which I had only looked at briefly before starting at Rollits. I attended a necessary site visit in order to better make representations for the client.

I have also drafted a variety of different Land Registry applications including, transfers of whole and part, entry of a restriction, application to change the register, a proprietorship search, a first registration and also a document list which illustrates the epitome of title at the Land Registry. Whilst at university we did not deal with unregistered land and therefore this task was essential in ensuring it is clear how to register land, and, which documents are notable when conveying or purchasing land which is not registered.

I have also begun drafting a report on title for a client to advise them of any easements and covenants which affect the title and any particular issue which they should be aware of.

Aside from the work aspect, I have joined in on an Easter event which involved bingo, a raffle and also an Easter treat bag from the firm!

Overall I have adjusted very well to the matters which I am dealing in and look forward to continuing in my current seat.


My route to Rollits

My first school I went to was Oldfleet Primary school where I attended the nursery and later reception. I stayed at this school until year six and progressed to Archbishop Thurston School (as it was known then).

As I began secondary school there were a variety of changes happening surrounding the national academisation of schools. As I began year 9 the school had moved to their new build premises and had changed from Archbishop Thurston to Archbishop Sentamu Academy. I did all of the usual academics in secondary school and excelled particularly in English Language, Religious Education and History.

After completing secondary school I decided that I would attend Wyke Sixth Form College in order to complete my AS and A-Levels. Initially I wanted to pursue a career as a doctor and even based my introductory week on; Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Law! It soon became apparent to me that all of the science based subjects did not lend well to my literary ability as they were more numerically based. Knowing that I was particularly suited to literary based studies I chose to do AS level; History, English Language, Law and Sociology. As of the second year of college I dropped my AS History (as it was customary to drop one) and carried on with the other courses as A-Levels. In my final year at college I also undertook an optional Extended Project Qualification which looked at ‘Societal Opinion of the Death Penalty and Differing Opinions’ - this lent well to both my Law and Sociology A-Levels. Mid-way through my A-levels I was applying to different universities and happened to get an unconditional offer from the University of Hull. As a Hullensian I was keen to stay in the area and did not want to venture too far - I liked my circle of support in the area and to leave that behind would have been silly!

I started at the University of Hull doing the LL.B Law degree and undertook all of the compulsory modules in the first year, much of these provide the groundwork for a career in law and therefore are vital. At the end of my first year I was told about the possibility of doing a year abroad to focus exclusively on European Legal Systems and Civil Law jurisdictions. This led to me choosing to specialise at first in comparative law and looking specifically at legal families, taxonomy and classification. In order to facilitate the skill of legal analysis and comparison I decided I would do the year abroad and move to Bayureth, Germany for a year! On my year abroad I learnt a large amount of information on the dealings of civil law jurisdictions and also learnt how to interpret laws from a codified constitution, which is particularly difficult given the United Kingdom has no codified constitution. I also spent a proportion of my time travelling central Europe and often went on road trips around Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Latvia, Czech Republic and also flew to Italy and Malta!

Between the summer of finishing my year abroad and starting my final year of university, I attended the Rollits Work Experience Programme and spent two weeks at the firm getting to grips with the practical side of the law and also local firms I which I wanted to pursue a career. Rollits stood out above the rest for their forward thinking nature and ability to be both a well-rounded and reputable regional firm which also provided a great work environment and ability to move with the times and keep with the younger generation. After my work experience I applied for a training contract and attended two interviews, one of which I had to present to a board on a topic of my choosing (which was travelling in Europe) and the second which was based on a mock client interview. It was in that autumn which I received my training contract offer - which I was extremely excited about.

On my return I knew that in order to enhance my legal skills further and also so potentially prepare myself more for the field of academics to undertake the optional dissertation module. I decided that this would be the best way to have a specialist understanding of legal jurisdictions and also to diversify my academic skills and prepare me for a master of law. I wrote my dissertation based on ‘Inquisitorial and Adversarial Criminal Trial Procedure; an Anglo-Germanic Comparison’. I learnt may things from the dissertation module, most importantly how to structure well rounded legal research and also to ensure that research methods were optimised fully. In mastering the skill of academic research I found a gap in which I could focus in my legal field. I graduate the University of Hull with a First Class Hons Degree in LL.B Law with European Legal Studies.

After the University of Hull I attended the University of Law in Leeds where I undertook the Legal Practice Course with the integrated LL.M in Professional Practice. Throughout the year I undertook the compulsory modules which bridge the gap to practical application of the law in the workplace. The LPC was extremely demanding and introduced many new elements of the law which I had not experienced yet. When it came to optional modules I decided that I would build upon my LL.B knowledge and chose; Employment Law, Family Law, Advanced Real Estate and Commercial Law and Practice. I ‘graduated’ (without a ceremony) in summer 2020 with a Distinction.

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