My name is Charlotte and I am a Trainee Solicitor in the Private Client team here at Pepperells Solicitors. For the most part, Private Client is a non-contentious area of law, this means I do not attend Court or undertake any advocacy in my day to day work. Within the Private Client department, we mainly deal with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Estate Administration.
Here is a day in my life.
6.55- We have two shifts here at Pepperells, a 7-3.30 shift (for those clients who need to see someone prior to starting their own job) and a normal 9-5.30 shift. As I do the early shift I arrive at work at around 6.55. I make a cup of tea and log on to my computer. The first job of the day is to review my to do list and check through my emails. Any emails that can be easily actioned or added to the files are dealt with and any emails that require further attention are added to my daily to do list.
8.00- Each morning I have a 15-20-minute meeting with my head of department. Firstly, we run through what I have on in the day and if I have any questions or need help with anything I have in my diary. I am also able to ask any questions I have about my current files or clients. I find this daily meeting very helpful with my file progression and development as a trainee.
9.00 Once a week we have a trainee huddle. We have several huddles within the firm. The main focus of these is to raise any opportunities we may have about marketing and development for the firm in general or our specific departments. For example, if there has been a recent change in the law that we need to update our clients on or that may impact our practice. As the trainees are all in different departments it is good for us to exchange opportunities between each other.
10.30 One of the frequent types of appointments I undertake are Will signing appointments. As Wills need to be witnessed by independent witnesses clients often choose to come into the office to execute their Wills to ensure that they are executed in line with the Wills Act and thus ensuring they are valid. This is not a complex appointment as clients approve their drafts before the appointment.
11.00 Next I attend a client to sign probate papers ready to apply for a Grant of Probate on an estate we are administering. Again, this is not a complex appointment as the clients have usually approved the forms prior to their attendance. However, if the client has any questions we run through the paperwork with them prior to signing.
12.00 Lunch. As trainees we often pop to the local Sainsburys, grab some lunch and have a chat in the office kitchen before making another cup of tea to start the afternoon with.
1.00 Now back at my desk I review any emails I have received over lunch and action where possible. I also review my daily tasks to ensure I am on track with the tasks I had listed for the day.
1.30 I have now received all the relevant information in the post about the assets and liabilities of another estate we are administering. This means I am now able to prepare the inheritance tax and probate forms. These forms provide information relating to the assets and liabilities of the estate, the Will, the deceased and the Executors to both the probate registry and HMRC. These forms are lengthy, and the information is pulled from various places on the file so they can take some time to draft.
2.30 My last appointment of the day is a new Will client. For this appointment we have a discussion regarding their family situation, their assets and who they would like to include within their Will for the various roles. The necessary advice is provided around the structure of the Wills and their assets where appropriate.
3.30- The end of the working day for me. The last thing I do in the office each day is make a to do list for the morning to ensure I have a productive and quick start to the day and review my calendar for the next day to see what client appointments or internal meetings I may have. As I currently undertake the LPC part time alongside my training contract once at home I have seminar preparations and reading to undertake ready for weekend classes.