Having enjoyed my Land Law module and opting to take the Advanced Commercial Property elective at law school, I was pretty certain that I would enjoy my time in the Real Estate department and it is fair to say that I haven’t been disappointed.
In London, the Real Estate team specialises in property finance and advising major lenders on the provision of acquisition, development and investment funding. However, there are opportunities to get involved in a diverse range of other real estate work including hotel development, landlord and tenant work, residential sales and purchases as well as assisting the Corporate Recovery team with property auctions.
What to expect
One of the things the Real Estate team prides itself on is the variety and quality of work it gives to its trainees. From day one I was thrown into the mix very quickly, by being asked to prepare a report on title for a lender in the provision of acquisition funding. Under supervision, I was responsible for investigating the title to the property over which the lender would take a legal charge, liaising with the borrower’s solicitors in order to raise further due diligence enquiries, reviewing the draft documentation and reporting back to the lender. The task was a steep and challenging learning curve but it required me to quickly dig out all of those forgotten elements of property law, which I had once learnt a life time ago, or so it felt.
A day in the life of a real estate trainee is varied but can include the following:
- Preparing reports on title for major lenders
- Liaising with insurance brokers to obtain title indemnity insurance
- Research tasks to stay up to date with new laws, regulations and title issues
- Residential and commercial conveyancing including drafting and negotiating the terms and conditions incorporated into Sale Contracts and Transfers
- Liaising with and updating clients through regular correspondence and calls
- Liaising with the Land Registry
- Dealing with the mechanics of getting documents signed and executed
- Corporate support work
- Dealing with post completion matters at the Land Registry
- Preparing Stamp Duty Land Tax forms
- Involvement in drafting commercial leases and licences including responsibility for the ancillary documents such as the Landlord and Tenant Act notice
- Preparing completion bibles.
Teamwork, the ability to prioritise and very good organisational skills are vital from the outset of your seat in the Real Estate team. You normally find yourself working on several transactions at a time and with numerous people across various departments. Having a good eye for detail and taking a commercial approach to your work are also crucial, clients will expect you to be able to identify the major risks and key issues in a transaction and to then find the right solutions to enable them to achieve their commercial outcomes.
The best bits…
As well as being fortunate enough to work within a very supportive and encouraging team, I found that one of the stand-out benefits of completing a seat in the Real Estate team is the opportunity it provides to work closely with other departments. During my seat I have worked on transactions involving the Corporate and Banking & Finance teams and there are opportunities to work with the Construction team too, meaning you get to know many more people within the firm and get a glimpse into life in a different department, which ultimately makes it easier to make that transition into your next seat.
The biggest benefit I found, however, is the level of responsibility and amount of client contact you get. In the seat, you are expected to take a very pro-active approach and run your own files fairly independently, under supervision of course, and this means that you are responsible for updating the clients regularly and for all round client care. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Real Estate team and have developed skills during these six months that will serve me well throughout the remainder of my training contract.
This post was edited by Catherine Hall. For more information, email email@example.com.