Caitlin Philpott, Trainee in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, trust, will and estate disputes team.

Private client—a day in the life of a trainee lawyer

Caitlin Philpott, Trainee in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, trust, will and estate disputes team.
Caitlin Philpott
3 min Read

Caitlin Philpott takes readers through a typical day as a trainee lawyer in the private client team at Russell-Cooke.

9am: I live a short walk from the office and some fresh air first thing in the morning helps me to arrive feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I’m here slightly earlier than usual to attend an internal ‘Knowledge Worth Sharing’ breakfast event. These events are for anyone in the firm to give a short talk about an aspect of their work. I’m not normally a morning person, but as a trainee the opportunity to learn about different departments is not to be missed. The promise of coffee and a pastry also helps.

10am: After interesting talks from colleagues in the trust and estate disputes, private client and crime teams I take a leftover pastry back to my desk, ostensibly ‘for later’ but unsurprisingly it’s gone before I finish checking my emails. I take some time to review my to-do list and prioritise my tasks for the day.

10:30am: Following a wills instructions meeting earlier in the week I have blocked out most of the morning to complete the follow up tasks. I first review my attendance note of the meeting; making sure that all of the relevant information is recorded in the correct format saves time further down the line. I then get started on the first draft of the will. The will deals with foreign property and contains a discretionary trust so the partner has helpfully directed me to a couple of precedents to assist with drafting these sections. I also produce a draft letter of wishes, which allows the testator to provide guidance to their trustees about how to distribute the assets. Finally I prepare an explanatory letter to the client to send together with the draft documents.

1pm: I join the other trainees for lunch in one of the office’s communal areas. One of today’s topics of conversation is the activity for the next trainee social; there are lots of guesses, but the social committee aren’t giving anything away. A few of us then head out to stretch our legs and grab some coffee to take back to our desks.

2pm: While I was at lunch I received an email from a beneficiary in a probate matter attaching their bank details. I ring them back to verify the details before arranging payment of the legacy. I then call the Probate Registry for an update on an application which had previously been stopped before providing an update to the partner.

3pm: There are lots of opportunities for client contact in the private client team and I attend and take a note of a first meeting in a new probate matter. Many client meetings take place at our offices, but some still take place virtually when this is more convenient, which is the case here as one of the clients is based overseas. The fee earner talks the clients through their role as executors and the probate process. I will be assisting on the matter going forwards, so after the meeting the fee earner and I discuss the next steps.

4pm: While I was in the meeting one of the senior associates emailed the team to tell us to help ourselves to the biscuits she’s left in the kitchen. Fortunately there are still some left! On my way back one of the partners calls me into her office to review some of the matters I’m assisting her on. She then asks me to prepare Deeds of Revocation for a client who wishes to revoke her Lasting Powers of Attorney. I will also need to prepare new LPAs appointing different attorneys. I add this to my matter list.

4:30pm: My final task for the day is to fill in some share transfer forms which I had previously requested from the registrar. The shareholding is complex so I take some time to review the file and ensure the appropriate forms are completed with the correct details.

5:30pm: I check my diary for the following day and note that I have another client meeting. I then update my to-do list before heading home for the evening.

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