Lisa Chivers, first-seat trainee solicitor, shares her experience working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
7am: I wake up and prepare for another day working from home. To ensure I feel energised and ready for the day ahead, I do a 30 minute HIIT workout to get my heart rate up. After this, a nice cold shower to really wake me up for the working day.
8:45am: Whilst the TLT system on my laptop is booting up, I make my first coffee of the day (luckily I’ve got a coffee machine and milk frother to get my caffeine fix!).
9am: I settle down at my designated work from home area (a kitchen table counts as a desk, right?) and eat my breakfast whilst checking my emails to see what has come in since the previous evening, allowing me to prioritise my workload.
9:30am: I’m currently in my first seat in the Housing & Regeneration team, a seat which offers a lot of variety in terms of day-to-day work. My first task of the day involves reviewing and making amendments to a lease. There has been some negotiation over whether to include a number of clauses and how these should be worded, so I do some research around the current market norm in commercial leases. After this, and once I’ve received approval from our client, I email an amended lease to the tenant’s solicitor for their review.
10:30am: My next task is to complete a purchase of land with the seller’s solicitor. Having done the pre-completion steps (which usually involves checking that we have received completion monies, that the documents are executed correctly and that we have a clear pre-completion search from the Land Registry), we complete over the phone. As a law firm, it is important to be adaptable, especially in the face of the challenges Covid-19 has thrown at us. Usually, I would date the hard-copy transfer in front of me whilst on the phone. Instead, the transfer is actually in the office and so I liaise with the skeleton staff to do this on my behalf, and they then scan it over to me. Without the willing staff in the office and the wonders of modern technology, this wouldn’t be possible.
11:00am: Time for a tea break (complemented by a biscuit…or ten) with my flatmate, who is also a trainee at TLT. It’s nice to have a chat and catch up about what sort of work we are both doing, as well as trying to keep eachother sane!
11:15am: I receive an email from my supervisor asking me to prepare replies to mortgagee enquiries on behalf of our borrower client in relation to their refinancing. This involves collating information relating to the property from a number of documents as well as asking the client for their input. It’s invaluable to get a lot of exposure so early on in my training contract. Having the responsibility of communicating directly with clients is a great way to establish and maintain professional relationships.
1pm: Time for lunch! It’s beneficial to have a break and take your mind off work, so I rustle up a toasted sandwich (culinary genius, I know) and catch up with my family over the phone. Before heading back to work, I try my luck at getting an online grocery delivery slot. None available for the next three weeks – no surprises there then… maybe next time!
2pm: Back to work. Having checked my emails after lunch, a partner in the team who deals with social housing litigation asks me to prepare proceedings for a matter, which involves drafting the witness statement, claim form and particulars of claim. Although the seat is predominantly transactional, this provides a helpful opportunity to gain some contentious experience and allows me to become familiar with some terminology ahead of the compulsory litigation seat later in my training contract.
3pm: Time for a video catch-up call with my team. Besides the temperamental Wi-Fi connections, surprise pet appearances and frequent ‘Hello… can you hear me?’, it’s a great way to keep updated and connected, clutching on to any sort of normality in the current working climate!
Being a first seat trainee and having only worked in the office for two weeks prior to lockdown, my team have been very supportive and we’ve kept each other entertained via our newly-formed WhatsApp group!
3:30pm: An email flies in asking me to assist on some work from the Banking team, which illustrates the broad range of work experienced in this seat. I’m tasked with checking multiple Certificates of Title prepared by the borrower’s solicitors for restrictions in leases preventing assignment or charging, followed by preparing some DS1’s to remove a previous lender’s charge from the Title Register. Not only does this develop and expand my knowledge as a lawyer, but it also allows me to introduce myself to a variety of members from different teams and understand other areas of the firm.
5:30pm: I review today’s to-do list to confirm I’ve completed all relevant tasks for the day, before writing my plan of action for tomorrow.
5:45pm: It’s the end of the day already – I’m finding that time is flying by during this lockdown! Sometimes I end up working later due to deadlines, but generally I finish at a reasonable hour which allows me to enjoy the evenings.
It is very easy to get caught up and work later under the current circumstances (because home is now your office), but it’s important to ensure you are able to switch off from work and take time to relax.
Since working from home, I always go for a refreshing walk after work to get my daily fix of fresh air and enjoy the beauty of Bristol! Luckily I live very central, so it’s not unusual to catch a nice sunset on the harbourside (very aesthetically pleasing – great for keeping the Instagram feed up to date!).
After my walk, it’s time for dinner. Having more time on my hands means I can be more experimental (with varying success) with my meal choices so I whip up a tasty paella (Gordon Ramsey eat your heart out!) and relax for the evening.