Howells has a conveyancing department in each of our six South Wales offices. Every year we complete the sale and purchase of thousands of residential properties both here in Wales and in England. Our experienced and multi-award winning conveyancing teams place us as one of the best in the UK.
Communicating with and working on behalf of buyers and sellers, meeting deadlines, liaising with estate agents, mortgage providers and government organisations to ensure our clients complete their transactions ensures that our conveyancing departments are always kept busy.
To maintain an efficient and effective conveyancing process, we employ legal assistants who work with solicitors and licenced conveyancers to work as a team of individuals cases.
Bethan Rees and Jerry Honeyball are two legal assistants based in our Cardiff office. They very kindly took some time out to talk to us about a day in the life of a legal assistant.
Let’s start off by telling us a little bit about yourselves…
"I began working at Howells almost two years ago as I was looking for a position in which I would be able to progress and continue my legal career. I graduated from Swansea University in 2016 with a degree in English Literature and I began working in a small law firm.
"I soon realised I wanted to develop my legal career further and joined Howells because of the opportunities for progression. Howells have since supported me studying the Graduate Diploma in Law alongside working."
"I have two and a half years of experience in conveyancing. I worked for another law firm in Cardiff before I joined Howells in August this year. I joined because I was looking for progression and further development which I was unable to achieve in my previous job. In the short time I have been at Howells, I already feel that I have progressed and gained a lot more knowledge than I have elsewhere and am really enjoying my time here."
What Is A Typical Working Day Like As A Legal Assistant?
"Every day is different in conveyancing. I will usually make a plan in the morning as to what files I need to focus on that day. I will then make sure all emails are responded to and all files are prepared for completions in the coming week. We take many telephone calls throughout the day from clients, solicitors and estate agents and must ensure everyone is updated sufficiently. It is important we maintain a good relationship with all parties."
"My day to day routine begins with coming in to the office and sorting out any emails I have to tend to. I then get on with any tasks I have for upcoming deadlines, such as setting up completions, preparing files for exchanges and making sure monies have been received/sent.
"There are usually lots of exchanges of emails and faxes, as well as photocopying and scanning to be done, collecting the required information the solicitor needs. I also deal with post, Land Registry, and property searches on a daily basis."
What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Role?
"It is very rewarding when clients are happy with the work you have done. Moving house is a difficult experience for many people and it is really appreciated when they acknowledge your hard work."
"It’s a really satisfying feeling when clients appreciate the work I am doing and simply say “thank you” - people are often quick to assume the solicitor does all the work when in fact we all work as a team. It’s also very rewarding to know we are helping clients in what can be a very exciting, yet stressful time of their lives."
What Would You Say Challenges You Most About the Role?
"The most challenging part of the role can be the deadlines. There are matters which may be out of our control and it is sometimes difficult to balance these with our clients moving requirements. It’s also quite common that we are given unrealistic expectations, usually from family members of the client or estate agents, which can be somewhat stressful."
"The most challenging part is probably making sure myself and the other legal assistants on the case communicate to make sure we meet all our deadlines. Working as a part of a team is crucial.
"Clients depend on us to meet their deadlines so when things that are out of our control slow down the process (for example, waiting on documents from the other parties), it can be quite frustrating."
Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years’ Time?
"In five years’ time, I aim to have completed my legal studies and will hopefully be close to completing a training contract."
"I am looking to begin my CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives), so in five years’ time I will have completed that and be in a legal executive role. I am really enjoying specialising in conveyancing so I am hoping to continue my career in that department."
What Skills Would You Say You Need To Be A Successful Legal Assistant?
"I think as a legal assistant in conveyancing you need to be able to work to deadlines and manage time efficiently. The job can be stressful at times and you need to remain calm to ensure the process runs smoothly."
"I think it is really important to be organised and making sure you know exactly what tasks you have that day and its deadline. Time management is crucial because deadlines have to be met to keep the client happy. I think it is also important to be confident and ask the team for support if there is something you are unsure of."
Outside Of Work, How Do You Spend Your Time?
"Outside of work, I spend most of my time with my family and friends. I enjoy taking my dog out for walks and visiting different parks and beaches."
"I am hoping to get a new puppy soon, so I am in the process of searching for the perfect one – I am so excited! On the weekends, you will find me spring cleaning the house (I’m one of those cleanaholics)."
Get to Know the Howells Conveyancing Team
If you would like to learn more about the conveyancing teams across our six offices, take a look at the Our People section of our website and keep an eye on the Howells news sector of this blog for all the latest updates.