A few days in the life of a Shulmans trainee: Sarah Briscall

Sarah Briscall, a solicitor in our commercial team, recalls a few days as a trainee at Shulmans.


8:25 - 9:00

I arrive at the office early as I commute from fairly far away and do not want to risk being late. I use the extra time to catch up on emails that have come in from the previous evening and prepare my task list for the day.

9:00 - 11:30 

I am assisting a partner with the auction of residual units at a substantial commercial property which has been subject to complex transfers. The deadline is fast approaching and I must ensure we have all draft contracts, transfers and search results ready to publish.

I prepare the first draft of the assignment of a tripartite contract for the supply of electricity to the site, which the partner is happy with, however we will review the draft prior to uploading the documents to ensure our client’s position has not changed.

11:30 - 12:30

I carry out some research in relation to the steps that our client can take, as both landlord and tenant, to protect their position following the end of a lease where alterations have been carried out. I prepare a research memo for review.

12:30 - 13:30

Our offices are close to the city centre so I go with the other trainees to a nearby sandwich shop and discuss the “entertainment” we will be providing at the upcoming Christmas party.

13:30 – 14:15

My research memo has posed a further question in relation to tax implications. I review this point, and my updated memo is then used to prepare a detailed note to the client setting out their options.

14:15 - 16:30

Urgent instructions come from a client who wish to make an offer by close of business the following day on a commercial property opportunity which has just come on to the market. I carry out urgent searches. I have been able to build a good network with search providers and speak to a contact to see whether our urgent request can be met. It can!

16:30 - 17:45

I review and compile the search results and report back on any problems I have identified which can be relayed to the client as a matter of urgency. All we can do now is await the final results tomorrow.

There is no further pressing work to be completed this evening, so I leave the office.



8:15 - 10:30

I go with the Head of Commercial Property and a corporate partner to London to thrash out the terms of a deal for a major proposed property development in the City. I am tasked with document management and taking a note of the meeting so read through the latest draft documents (property and corporate) to understand the structure of the deal and get a feel for the topics that may arise.

10:30 - 10:45

We travel across London to arrive at the site of the meeting.

10:45 - 16:00

On arrival we meet with the other side’s solicitors, the property agent, and representatives from our respective clients. The meeting is tense and key issues are debated. All the while I am required to note the terms discussed and what is agreed. We break at various times and I use my initiative to carry out background company and Land Registry searches to make negotiations for the partners as easy as possible. I draft an email to the main client contact, setting out the options for him to consider. He is abroad, so things have to be concise and easy to understand so that he can provide instructions as a matter of urgency.

16:00 - 18:45

Unfortunately, the meeting breaks down and the deal collapses so we head back to the office by train. During the journey we discuss our perception of the meeting and I am encouraged to give my opinion. Interaction with the partners and formulating views is a theme at Shulmans; we are encouraged to analyse and provide our views from an early stage, in readiness for qualification.

We work together to produce a detailed debrief email to the client, which is sent during the journey.


We arrive back in Leeds and head our separate ways. Whilst today has been a longer day than normal, it has been exhilarating being part of such a fast-paced deal and being able to witness the commercial and legal parties negotiate terms, even though the deal fell through!