Sam Alder describes a typical day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor at Monro Wright & Wasbrough. Sam is currently in his first seat in the Private Client department.
9:00am – 9:30am
After what is always a crammed journey into work, I start off by making a strong cup of coffee. I then review any emails that may have arrived overnight and go over my to-do list for the day.
9:30am – 1:00pm
My first task today is to draw up draft Wills for a married couple who we recently received instructions from, together with a covering letter explaining the contents. I look over the file and obtain information from previous attendance notes drafted by me and email correspondence. Their instructions are relatively straightforward, and I am able to produce a first draft which I discuss with my Supervisor (and also Head of the Private Client department) who is always on hand to provide constructive advice relating to my work.
On another matter, I have been given the responsibility of dealing with the day-to-day administration of an Estate (under Partner supervision). It is still in the early stages (Probate has not yet been obtained) and I am currently notifying the asset holders of the death and obtaining details of any liabilities by investigating a collection of papers gathered by the deceased’s family. The chance to be given responsibility of a file has been beneficial to my development, though I am mindful to run everything by the supervising Partner to ensure I am on the right track. My LPC materials for the Private Client elective and Wills & Administration of Estates module have proved invaluable during my seat and I constantly find myself referring back to them. So, if any students are reading this, please treat this as a word of advice to resist the temptation to chuck your materials after your final exams!
I am asked by an Associate to conduct some research into obtaining a Manx Grant of Probate for a UK-domiciled individual who recently passed away and held assets in the Isle of Man. I consult my online and written resources and draft a Memo setting out my findings.
My Supervisor offers me the chance to sit-in on a meeting with a long-standing client at 2pm and prepare the attendance note. I happily accept. I am constantly given the opportunity to attend client meetings which has not only allowed me to understand the needs of the firm’s clients but also learn from the technical advice given by our firm.
1:00pm – 2:00pm
The firm encourages exercise, as do the flights of stairs to my department, and whilst it is on my mind that a visit to the gym is long overdue, I pick up a sandwich and head back to the office. I look over the file for our client coming in this afternoon so that I have a basic background of the matters to be discussed.
2:00pm – 3:00pm
I attend the meeting with our long-standing client with my Supervisor. A large number of our clients have been with the firm for many years and many see the firm as trusted advisors to themselves and their families. This particular aspect was what attracted me in the first place and it is great to see in action.
3:00pm – 5:30pm
I return to my desk and write out an attendance note of the meeting, outlining what was discussed with our client and the next steps. An essential part of being a Trainee is producing good attendance notes, which means staying alert throughout the meeting and identifying key discussion points to follow up. There is always the possibility that your note will be referred on in the future so it’s imperative the details are accurate.
Whilst in the meeting, we received an email from one of our clients with a query on Lasting Powers of Attorney. I consider the position and draft a response to be checked over before sending out.
I am asked by another Partner in the Private Client department to register a client’s Trust onto HMRC’s new online ‘Trusts Register’ which was introduced last year with the aim to increase transparency of the beneficial ownership of trusts following the introduction of the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. I look over the file which contains various deeds relating to the Trust and draw out the key information required for the registration. I print out the summary page before submission and hand it to the Partner for checking.
I receive a Memo from my Supervisor with the request to draft a Deed of Retirement and Appointment of Trustees in relation to a Trust. I review the paper file and locate a precedent from which to work on, before sending the draft to my Supervisor who in return gives a useful background of the clients involved.
Towards the end of the day, two colleagues and I agree to attend a networking event in a couple of weeks. The firm encourages all Fee Earners to build up their own networks by seeking out events to attend and other ways to bring in work to the firm, and this is discussed in our monthly Fee Earner Business Development meeting.
I debrief with my Supervisor who recalls when he was a Trainee at the firm. A number of my colleagues also trained at the firm and have a wealth of experience together with a unique understanding of the firm’s ethos, which was a comforting factor when I joined.
A last-minute trip to the pub around the corner with another Trainee and an Associate where we reflect on our day’s work. Another benefit of working around Holborn, besides being based in the heart of legal London, are the range of drinks establishments to choose from – although the closest is always preferred.