It is approaching the end of August and I simply cannot believe how quickly this year has gone and, in particular, how much I have learnt since this time last year.
Although my first seat in the Litigation department was fast paced and busy, my second seat in the Commercial Property department has expanded my commercial awareness to a far greater extent.
When undertaking a Commercial Property seat at Woodfines, you don't really have any other choice than to get stuck in. As with many areas of law, there is client due diligence to carry out and basic processes to follow, but before you know it, a complex nitty-gritty question arises and you are thrown into the matter and your case load builds from there.
This seat has involved receiving, reviewing and drafting various documents such as leases, licences, business tenancies and agricultural tenancies. There are many other aspects to the workload of a Commercial Property solicitor and I have assisted with the buying and selling of land and commercial units, negotiating development agreements, dealing with multifaceted conditional contracts and completing registrations of complex unregistered farming land. I have also conducted legal research on general property matters along with very specific areas of agricultural law.
I think the one thing which has struck me whilst undertaking this seat is the amount of work and various documents involved within any Commercial Property matter. If a client comes in with a potential “transaction”, which to the client appears to be fairly straight-forward and logical, it can sometimes involve two or three different documents in order for the client to gain what they want so that all their commercial interests are protected. The ability to be able to think outside of the box and acknowledge every possible scenario which may occur in the transaction is what I now understand makes a good Commercial Property solicitor.
The Commercial Property department at Woodfines is incredibly busy and with the wealth of knowledge that the team have, you would think that you would feel lost but from day one you are supported and guided by every member of the team. The team support you through each day, each week and, in turn, each matter. I think about all the silly questions I have put to various people and not one of them has turned me away during the past six months and, for this, I am very grateful.
Whilst speaking to trainees from other firms it appears that Commercial Property is not a common seat for trainees to choose to undertake. It appears that the dreaded land law exam has put enough fear into trainees that the thought of spending any more time on property would be soul-destroying. I have to say that I would have probably agreed with this a few years ago but as I have explained to many, the wealth of knowledge and commercial awareness gained in this seat really is invaluable and it is nothing like the land law exam. Also, the site visits to clients and farms definitely add a further level of interest.
All in all, my second seat has been greatly enjoyable and one where I have learnt a considerable amount. I hope to be able to use and develop on what I have learnt in my third and fourth seats.