Question Time: As a trainee, do you find yourself dealing with real estate matters more, or is your workload quite versatile?


Our Question Time campaign answers common queries raised by Howard Kennedy Trainee candidates. So here's the inside scoop!

It depends on the seat you are in – I am midway through my second seat and my first seat was in the real estate department, so obviously a good proportion of my training has been focused on real estate matters! 

More specifically, I worked in the Development & Projects team who handle issues throughout the complete life cycle of a development. This involves a broad spectrum of work, including elements of commercial, corporate and tax law. We often worked alongside lawyers from other departments; for example, if a development was being funded by way of a joint venture with another company we would work closely with our corporate lawyers on the agreement. 

Howard Kennedy has an incredibly wide ranging real estate department and if you train here you will definitely do a seat in one of the real estate teams. However, there are many different seats on offer to trainees including employment & immigration, family, private client, commercial litigation, media litigation, mergers & acquisitions and business advisory. 

I am now in the Commercial Litigation team which is vastly different to my last seat. Whereas previously I was working almost exclusively with developers, I now work with a mixture of companies and individuals from all sorts of industries. Also, although Howard Kennedy is purely London based, our clients come from all over the world (I am currently working with clients from 4 different continents) so you get an enormous range of factual scenarios to work with. 

You will still encounter real estate matters no matter where you train or what area of law you qualify into. For example, in private client and family you will be dealing with your clients' assets, the most significant of which will usually be the land/property that they own. Similarly, in corporate, if you are working on an M&A transaction the companies involved will have interests in land that need to be assessed e.g. the lease of their business premises. 

I still encounter property matters occasionally in Commercial Litigation. For instance, we recently applied to take a charging order over a defendant's land in order to enforce payment of a judgment. From my seat in real estate I already had a good understanding of the laws relating to interests in property and the priority of charges. Coupling this with the skills I had learned, like knowing how to obtain information from the Land Registry, helped make the job a lot easier. 

The trainees also attend weekly lunchtime seminars to discuss aspects of real estate law. These sessions are a chance for you to ask questions in a safe environment. They are also nice for us trainees as we are scattered amongst the different departments, so these meetings give us a chance to catch up over a free lunch! 

Look out for next week's Question Time on work-life balance.

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