Name: Taranah Blake
Job title: Commercial Real Estate Paralegal
Time in current role: 3 months
Taranah is a paralegal at a an international law firm.
How did you land your current job?
I studied for a bachelor’s degree in law at university and then went on to law school for a postgraduate qualification. I also did work experience at a city law firm (Berwin Leighton Paisner) and a high street firm (John Itsagwede & Co Solicitors) which I really enjoyed. This allowed me to gain exposure to the different sides of law including admin, drafting, researching and interviewing clients.
I applied for my current job at the end of last year (2015) – initially I went for the corporate role and was unsuccessful, but I ended up landing the commercial role so it all worked out in the end.
What are the key functions of your role?
I’m the sole paralegal for the real estate team and I work under five other people. I’m also part of a wider corporate team and a credit team, so at times I can be working across different departments.
I’m responsible for getting all documents signed externally, drafting simple real estate documents, adding clients’ comments to documents the’ve reviewed, reviewing real estate non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), processing real estate audit request letters and any other tasks that the associates require help with. With the other teams that I’m part of, work is carried out on an ad-hoc basis depending on what needs to be done.
Talk us through your typical day at work
(Based on my day today.)
9am – arrived and ate breakfast.
9:30am – work day started. I checked emails and organised my diary.
10am – worked on a transaction bible for a closed deal (which means collating all necessary documents, indexing them and burning them to a CD).
11am – a real estate NDA came in, I assigned it to an associate, ran conflict checks, marked it up and passed on to the associate for review and drafting.
1:30pm – lunchtime.
2:30pm – continued research for the above NDA.
3pm – an associate asked me into their office to discuss a drafting project. They gave me some background on the deal and instructions on what needed to be drafted. I completed the task and sent back to the associate for review.
4:30pm – grabbed a hot chocolate!
4:45pm – received feedback from a real estate partner that she was happy with an audit request letter that we’d received earlier, took document to her for signing, scanned document into system and send original copy back to audit company.
5:15pm – checked and filed emails that had been received throughout the day. Made a note of the time (you have to record how you’ve worked, what you’ve worked on and for what length of time).
5:30pm – no tasks had over run or were incomplete so I went home.
If the team is exceptionally busy I may have to come in early or stay late to get a task done. The latest I’ve ever stayed is 11:30pm.
How would your colleagues describe you in three words?
Friendly, helpful and organised.
Your favourite part of the job?
Working to tight deadlines, which could mean coming in early or staying late and working on a project that needs to be completed for the client asap.
…and the part you could do without?
The periods of quiet when I stare at my computer screen for about five hours organising emails for no reason, lol.
Plans for the future?
To complete a training contract at a city firm (which lasts two years) and then become a trainee solicitor.
Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?
- Grades are definitely important!
- Join any legal work schemes or placements available from as early as college.
- Try and get a mentor in the legal industry to guide and assist your career path.
- Try and do at least one extracurricular activity whilst studying to help your CV stand out.
- Work! It’s not just about academics, law firms want to know that you have transferable skills. LLY