A Day in the Life of – Paul J Harrison

Paul is Company Director and licensed conveyancer at Jane Brooks Law. Here, he tells us all about the day to day responsibilities of the role and managing work/life balance.

I run a large caseload of both residential and commercial property cases, together with other general real estate matters. In addition I am a director of the firm, so I balance my caseload with the requirements of running a busy practice – I have oversight of the day to day running of four branch offices, together with my co directors.

What does your morning routine look like? 

My alarm goes off just after 6 a.m. and I have a large coffee before I make the short commute to my office. I like to be in the office for 7 a.m., which allows me to set up and prepare for the day ahead prior to any client meetings. I also like to deal with any emails that have come in overnight and prepare my files for the day.

What does a typical afternoon look like?

Working through my caseload, answering emails and telephone calls from clients, estate agents and other legal firms looking to progress their clients’ cases. I also have appointments with my clients too.

What do you find to be your most productive time of the day?

My most productive time is usually before 9am, as it is quiet in terms of calls and emails so I can progress some of my more complex matters – some commercial matters require more time spent on them and this is easier done outside of general office hours, without interruption.

How do you manage your time to ensure you have a good work / life / home balance?

My days are always busy, as I am sure are every real estate lawyer’s. Finding a balance on occasions like month end and busier seasonal periods such as easter and Christmas can be tricky sometimes. However, I try to relax on a weekend and after dinner with my family, watching some (any) sort of sporting programmes or documentaries.

What is your favourite part of your working day in your role?

My favourite part of the day is the occasions when we resolve issues on complicated cases, and can complete property transactions to the satisfaction of our clients. Sometimes we are given tight timescales to complete matters, and are up against issues outside of our control such as third parties and their legal representatives, however when we can conclude those matters within timeframes given, then this provides even greater satisfaction.

What does a typical dinner time look like in your household?

During the working week I grab a sandwich between appointments. My wife works too, so at home we tend to eat around 8/8.30 p.m. when we have both finished our work – we then talk about our day/week so far. She works for a high street lender so our industries are closely aligned.

What do you do to unwind?

I love to travel; my favourite destinations are the Caribbean and the south of France – both countries have a relaxed, slower pace than ours so are great places to truly relax. I also enjoy gardening and love to see the results of my hard work unfold. My favourite time of the year in the garden is Spring. I also enjoy watching any type of sport – personally football and fishing would be my top two favourite sports or pastimes.

If you could give one piece of career advice what would it be?

Work hard, and if you don’t know the answer to something – ask! Speak with your colleagues and I would also recommend looking for a mentor. Being a part of your relevant professional networking body is something I would recommend too.

How important has your support network been in helping you through your role?

I think it is important to have a support network both professionally and personally. I am blessed to have a super team of colleagues that I work with, who assist me on a day-to-day basis. I have also worked in the industry for over 40 years now, so I have built up a network of colleagues past and present who have given me invaluable advice over the years.

Does your job require a degree?

I left school having completed my A levels and went straight into a firm of solicitors as a trainee, completing my legal executive and Licensed Conveyancer qualifications in my own time – both at college and at home over a period five to seven years. So, although I am a director of a firm of solicitors and am one of the senior partners, I have done this without a formal university law degree. Instead, I qualified as a licensed conveyancer, which is a specialised land lawyer. I feel I am therefore an example of how you can achieve director status without a law degree.