When I initially accepted a training contract with Howes Percival, I had expected to be based in either Leicester or Northampton. However, over the course of the next two years the firm grew significantly and my first seat has instead been in the new Cambridge office, as part of the Commercial Property team.
Cambridge has a thriving local economy with huge demand for new homes and business premises. This makes it an ideal place to gain experience in commercial property. The team in Cambridge cover a huge range of work including residential and commercial development, landlord and tenant matters, property finance and asset management. Over the course of my seat I have had the opportunity to be involved in all of these.
When I first started, I was primarily involved in post-completion matters, such as Land Registry and Companies House applications. As my seat has progressed, I have been given more complex work, including research, drafting documents and preparing reports on title. Whilst there are always less glamorous jobs you have to do as a trainee (scheduling deeds being a personal favourite!), there is a real focus on personal development at Howes Percival.
Besides the quality of work, one of the highlights of my seat has been seeing first-hand how the firm has established itself in a new market. When I first started in September 2015, the Cambridge office had only been open for short time, but had already gained a strong foothold in the market. It has continued to grow over the past few months and took a huge step forward in November 2015 with the acquisition of part of Taylor Vinters’ real estate business, following a mutually agreed department transfer.
On a personal level, being in Cambridge has also enabled me to combine work with a bit of tourism. I've attended Howes Percival events in some of the historic university colleges and even spent one lunchtime punting on the River Cam as part of a young professionals' event. Trainees are encouraged to work on their business development and networking skills from day one. This can be daunting at first but really is worthwhile and can be a lot of fun.
Overall I've had a very good start to my training contract. It has certainly been busy and at times quite challenging, but the experience I have gained has been invaluable. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned into my next seat in the Company Commercial team in Milton Keynes.