Vicky Thomas is a trainee associate property lawyer, which means she is learning how to be a licensed conveyancer. She works in the Cardiff office at the largest conveyancing practice in England and Wales.
What is conveyancing?
Conveyancing is the legal process involved when people buy and sell property. This can be houses, apartments, office buildings or plots of land. A licensed conveyancer is qualified to see the transfer through to completion, and sort out potential problems or delays.
What does your work as a trainee conveyancer involve?
My work involves approving contracts and drafting contracts, undertaking different kinds of searches and checking that all the details are correct. I also prepare completion and accounts paperwork. There are a lot of forms to fill in and sometimes I have to get quotes for clients for things like insurance.
Who do you work with?
Apart from the team of property lawyers and administrative staff here in Cardiff, I spend a lot of my time liaising with clients and other firms of solicitors or licensed conveyancers, the Land Registry, banks and building societies, local authorities and estate agents throughout the country.
What do you do as a trainee conveyancer?
I have my own small caseload, which is supervised by the senior property lawyer.
What hours do you work?
I work from 8.30am to 5pm or 9.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Do you have a typical day?
I start the day by doing some completion paperwork or by working on my own files until the post arrives. Then I will log my post and work through it during the day, whilst dealing with any urgent issues that may come along.
Have you always had a legal career?
No – I've worked as a nanny in Spain, and trained in hairdressing and as a travel consultant, neither of which really suited me. I then got a job as an office junior in a local solicitors' firm and had the opportunity to train as a legal secretary in the litigation department. Eventually, I got a job as a conveyancing secretary and really enjoyed it. I researched how to become a licensed conveyancer and now I've nearly completed my CLC (Council of Licensed Conveyancers) training course.
What subjects are covered on the course?
The foundation course is an introduction to the law of conveyancing and covers practical subjects, such as learning about exchange of contract and completion. The course then covers the law of contract, land law, and how to do bookkeeping and accounts.
What are the skills needed to be a conveyancer?
You need to be professional and abide by all the rules and regulations in your work. You also need to be friendly with clients – selling property can be a stressful time, so it's important to be approachable and courteous.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to eventually become a senior property lawyer, so that I can train people like me and give them advice on how to achieve their goals.
Vicky's route to becoming a trainee conveyancer
- Studied hairdressing and travel services.
- NVQ Level 2 in Word Processing.
- Trained and worked as a legal secretary.
- Training to be a licensed.
Vicky's trainee conveyancer tips
- Study hard and prepare thoroughly for your exams.
- Law is not that difficult – it is just about going over and over things until you understand them.
- In the end it all comes together like a jigsaw puzzle, so don't give up!
- With determination and ambition you can go a long way.
Conveyancer related jobs
Salary of a trainee conveyancer
- The typical starting salary for a trainee conveyancer is around £13,000.
- A fully-qualified conveyancer, perhaps in their own practice, may earn up to £50,000 a year.
How to become a trainee conveyancer
- This is a growing profession with more vacancies than applicants.
- Trainees have to work in a solicitors' or conveyancing firm to gain the practical experience required.
- The minimum qualifications to start training are four GCSEs (A-C) including English, although many trainees have had previous legal training, such as legal executive qualifications or even a law degree.
- The Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) course can be studied part time or by distance learning.
- In Scotland, the entry requirements are different. Applicants need either a law degree or a diploma/certificate in legal studies from a Scottish university or approved institution.
- To be licensed, a conveyancer needs to be at least 21, to have passed the CLC exams and to have completed two years of supervised practical training (a training contract in Scotland).
Did we help you? Please help us by telling us about your experiences e.g. interview questions and answers.