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A day in the life of a solicitor apprentice in residential conveyancing

22 Mar 2023

I am second year solicitor apprentice at Cripps and am currently working in our residential property team until September. After this, I will move on to another team in the firm as part of my five year programme to qualify as a solicitor in 2026.

My day starts at around 07:15 (after snoozing my alarm a few times!!) I get into our Tunbridge Wells office at about 8:00am.

I spend the first part of my morning sorting through my inbox and responding to any urgent messages which have come in overnight. I have noticed whilst working in residential conveyancing that emails take up a large part of my working day, whether this means updating clients, liaising with agents, asking landlords or managing agents for information or asking for updates from solicitors on the other side. We also spend time updating the CrippsApp which allows our clients to monitor the progress of a residential transaction.

It’s now around 09:30am and I’ve written up the tasks that need to be completed that day. Urgent last minute tasks arise daily in conveyancing, so it’s important to keep flexibility in my to-do list.

The first task to complete is drafting a statutory declaration for our clients to swear, confirming that they have had unrestricted access over a particular area of the land that they are selling, during their ownership. I then send this to my supervisor for her to review and feedback on any amendments that need to be made before it gets sent to the client.

By around 09:45 I’m reviewing more emails that have come in, some of which need immediate attention. It’s now 10am and I’m preparing a contract pack for the buyer’s solicitor, which I send out after getting the go ahead from my supervisor.

At 11 I check one of my co-worker’s inboxes and review their holiday notes as I am providing cover for their matters whilst they are on leave. There are various emails to respond to and it can take a substantial amount of time to familiarise myself with what the position of each matter is. After working through my colleague’s inbox, forwarding on any emails that need to be delegated and responding to others, I work out a plan of action for the matters that I am responsible for.

Amongst my colleague’s emails I come across a Building Safety Act enquiry from the buyer’s solicitor asking if we can provide Leaseholder and Landlord Certificates under the Building Safety Act 2022. This is still fairly new legislation and so I spend some time researching and looking at guidance to understand exactly what was required from our client. After consulting with a partner in the team we agree on a way forward and I liaise with the client as to what they need to provide in order to satisfy their buyer’s  requirements.

Our people team encourage us to take regular breaks to support our wellbeing. This isn’t always easy to do, but looking at the Building Safety Act 2022 was intensive and demanding on my brain so I take five minutes to myself to grab a cup of tea and stretch my legs in the kitchen.

As a solicitor apprentice I play a key part in our charity committee. At around 12:30 I start to look at arranging our Easter fundraising activities which involves trying to recruit volunteers to bake for our bun run and discussing finer details with the chair of our charity committee.

I head for lunch at around 13:00 in our sky lounge and catch up with some of the other apprentices.

On my return I check my inbox to make sure there isn’t anything that needs immediate attention. I have received some enquiries from a buyer’s solicitor on one of our sale matters so I forward these onto our client for instructions.

It’s now 15:00 and I receive a call from our reception team from a potential client, I speak to them and gather all of the information we need to provide a quote. I then forward this information on to a partner so that they can allocate to someone in the team who has capacity and is best placed to deal with the client’s needs.

A separate enquiry comes through quickly after and I prepare some costs information for the prospective client and send out on my supervisor’s authority.

At 16:30 I receive a call I from one of our client’s asking for an update on their matter and so I make the necessary enquiries to the buyer’s solicitor asking whether they have an update and pass this information back onto our client.

At the end of the day I find some time to catch up with recent property news and briefly have a look at a property law alert to see what’s going on in the conveyancing world making a note of anything that I need to remember going forward.

It’s time to go home after a particularly busy day, in total sending 69 emails! Residential conveyancing is a great seat, particularly if you enjoy a varied workload and direct contact with a range of clients and others in the industry.

Charlotte Spendley

Solicitor Apprentice