A day in the legal life of a trainee solicitor

Moore Barlow’s Rural Services team is now a leading regional and London team, and we want to hear from trainee candidates interested in a career in agricultural law, so we can bring on the next generation of lawyers in this niche sector.

Harry Jones is our first Rural Services trainee. His family trains racehorses, and he first approached us after a ‘point-to- point’ we sponsored, which his family won. Harry realised he could combine his rural background with professional studies in law.

Harry currently sits with Sarah Jordan and the Rural Property team in Richmond and Southampton, but here he describes his experience on a typical day with Philip Whitcomb and the Private Wealth team in our Lymington office. Once he’s completed his other compulsory training seats, we hope Harry will qualify into our Rural Services team – we certainly think he’s one to watch out for!

08:45 – I arrive at the office and collect a coffee on the way to my desk and consult my list of ongoing matters and decide with my supervisor, Malky, which ones to tackle today.

09:00 – 11:00 – Start an annual review of a trust file.

These reviews must be completed for discretionary trusts to ensure trustees are fulfilling their duties regarding the monitoring of the trust. This means documenting any substantive changes to the trust over the previous year, writing to the trustees and drafting trustees’ minutes. I’ll then send any documents to the fee-earner in charge of the file, to approve the documents.

11:00–12:00 – My first drafting exercise of the day.

Philip asks me to draft a deed of retirement and appointment of a trustee. This document operates to retire one of the trust’s trustees, as they no longer wish to, or are able to, act in that capacity. The deed simultaneously appoints the retiring party’s successor, who’ll take over all of their duties regarding the administration of the trust. Once drafted, if I’m in the office I’ll go over this with Philip and see if anything needs changing. If I’m working from home, Philip will amend the deed using the Microsoft Word ‘track changes’ function so I can see any errors in my drafting.

12:00–13:00 – Malky has asked me to sit in one of her client meetings where a Will she’s prepared is being signed. Sitting in on meetings is one of the most vital aspects of a training contract, as it allows me to observe how different solicitors deal with different clients and their varying situations. Sitting in on Will signings also tends to solve the issue of having an independent witness – as that can be me.

13:00–14:00 – I usually head into town to get some lunch. If I’m particularly busy I’ll take this back to the office, but if I have time, I like to go down to the quayside in Lymington Marina for an hour. I think setting some time aside to make sure you get fresh air and daylight is vital for a productive afternoon.

14:00–16:45 – Philip asks me to draft two Lasting Power of Attorneys.

LPAs can be either for health and welfare or property and financial affairs – here I’m doing one of each. LPAs operate to give someone of your choosing the ability to make decisions for you, whether because you’ve lost mental capacity or you’d simply rather someone else deal with the hassle of financial and administrative matters. Once drafted, I’ll send these to Philip or Malky for approval, and then either send them to the client for signature or arrange a meeting for signature. LPAs are a really good tool for people looking to enjoy retirement without any administrative hassle, and they offer people of all ages peace of mind.

16:45–17:15 – If I have time, I round up anything done during the day and ensure my list of matters is up to date with any progress made.

17:45- It’s Friday, and in a pre-pandemic world we’d all try and head for a drink to end the week, but for now it’s back home.