Part Three – Lakhvir Singh shares his experiences of being a paralegal in the Commercial Property team at Else Solicitors.
It’s Monday and I find myself working from home due to the petrol shortages. Like all Monday’s we’re kicking things off with our firm-wide weekly Teams call, which doesn’t feel much different to doing it in the office as it is a remote video call, except for the added benefit of my lovely wife bringing me a hot cup of tea mid-call.
After ending the Teams call, I like to check my inbox to see if anything has crept in over the weekend. I then start by making a list of urgent jobs that need to be actioned before lunch. This includes anything that I didn’t get to finish on Friday.
I took a few new instructions late last Friday, so I will be opening some new matters and preparing the client care letters this morning.
It’s now around midday where I like to touch base with the rest of the Property Department, to see how their weekend was. It’s also a good opportunity for them to let me know if there’s anything urgent that they may need my assistance with.
After lunch and I have 2 urgent matters that need my attention this afternoon.
One is for the sale of land for an existing client. They decided to instruct us on this urgent sale, after I was able to help to them with an enquiry, they raised regarding an old matter going years back. Here I will be reaching out to the buyer’s solicitor by deducing the title and providing them with a draft transfer.
The second is a lease for a client who is the tenant. They began their business from their home and are now looking to occupy commercial unit ASAP as they are extremely busy and expecting an even busier Christmas period. Here I will need to investigate the title, review the draft lease and report to our client.
I am in the office this morning so I will prioritise my time with any admin tasks that I was not able to attend to yesterday. Such as posting the client care letters and filing any correspondence into the hard copy files.
We’ve had two new Land Registry requisitions come in this morning too, so I will set aside some time this morning to prepare the replies.
I am reporting to a client this afternoon in relation to a Deed of Easement they are granting over their Land. It is important that I am thorough in my report so that the client is not giving away rights that could later cause them a problem.
To finish off the day, I will be preparing documents to register a lease on behalf of a colleague. A key part of my role within the department is to assist the more senior members of staff, with Land Registry applications.
I find myself being able to do a full day again in the office and what can I say, I am super busy today, just the way I like it!
I will be reporting on a title for 2 lease matters which I have recently taken on under the supervision of my colleague, who is a solicitor at this firm. Only after I have investigated the title should I start to look at the lease itself, as sometimes we can encounter an entry on the title documents, which could affect the client’s intended use. This could then mean that they can no longer proceed with the lease.
With the morning being so intense, I will be spending the afternoon doing some essential reading to ensure that I am up to date with the SRA rules.
To finish off the day, I am sending out some cost estimates to potential clients that have sent in an enquiry through our online website portal.
I will also be reviewing my Land Registry list of applications that have been submitted but not yet registered. It’s important we do this, as a matter is not complete until the deed is registered, which could take months and so needs regular review.
Thursdays are a day currently dedicated to a very large client who is a lender. We have completed many transactions for this client and are now at the stage where we can start to close the matters because the charge has registered with the Land Registry. However, first we must ensure that any undertakings we received from solicitors acting for third parties, mainly the borrower, have now been satisfied.
As this is a volume-based client, we have many matters to go through, which is why we have a whole day currently dedicated to this task.
I am currently reviewing a file where the undertaking we received, was that the solicitor acting for the borrower promised to supply us with any updated Land Registry office copies, upon completion of registration. I can see that the deed has been registered, so we should already have been supplied with the updated office copies. I can check this against our database and the physical file. I can see that we received the updated copies as promised by the borrower’s solicitor and so will proceed to release them from their undertakings.
A typical Friday consists of me spending the morning updating as many clients as possible on the progression of their matter. It gives the client the remainder of the day to ask any questions and allows them to go into the weekend with some knowledge of where we are with their lease, purchase or sale etc.
I am currently updating a client who has instructed us on 2 separate leases. On one of the leases, the tenant has obtained early occupation, which we assisted with by way of a Tenancy at Will. This is like a short-term interim lease used to allow early occupation whilst the actual lease is being finalised. The client will be pleased to know that the lease is now in an agreed form, which means that we can proceed in getting the lease executed in readiness for completion.
We are also approaching the end of the month, so like any fee earner, I will be pushing for completions today.
I have a pending completion whereby we are assisting a client with the purchase of some land. It’s part of a larger estate which they intended to buy in the original sale but was omitted by all parties involved. This could have been avoided by just simply checking the plan and confirming with the client that the land shown on the plan covers the extent of the land they are looking to buy.
It’s now 4:45pm and the seller’s solicitor has just confirmed that they are not able to complete today. I’ll need to update my client, before logging off for the weekend.