Laura Keatley is a partner in the property finance team at Thomson Snell & Passmore, the Kent firm which holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest continually operating law firm still in existence. She shares her daily routine with The Brief.
My day generally starts pretty early, as I like to head to the gym for an hour first thing. I find this is a really peaceful time, which gives me some headspace and time to plan the day ahead.
This peace doesn’t last too long though as I then head home to get my children up, fed and out the door to school!
I go into the office around three days a week. My commute is very easy as I can walk to work and drop my children in to school en-route, and am usually at my desk for 8.15am. Once there I like to clear any emails that have come in overnight, dedicate some time to admin tasks and structure my to-do list for the day.
I really value the client relationships I have built up, so I prioritise responding promptly to any client queries on matters which are important to them and their respective businesses. For example, this morning I looked into a query a client had on a development loan which is at heads of terms stage and, after investigation, was able to reassure them that all the correct planning documentation was in place for the development they were looking to fund.
I ensure I check in with clients regularly, even if we do not currently have any open matters with them, to make sure they feel supported and know we are on hand to help. This often includes putting them in touch with colleagues in other departments – for instance I recently introduced one of my long-standing clients to our banking & finance team, to help them review a loan facility.
We have recently started working with a new client, who is just starting out as a lender, and it has been really rewarding to help get them up and running in their new venture, and to establish their standard suite of transaction documents. This is a client that I was a key part of pitching for and winning, so it is particularly rewarding to now be carrying out a range of work for them and I am looking forward to building the relationship and seeing them grow.
Mentoring my team
I started out at the firm as a trainee solicitor and I am now the trainee supervisor for the wider commercial property team, which includes three trainees. This is something I really enjoy.
Our trainees recently changed seats and so we are currently running them through the induction programme and showing them the wide variety of work we do in the commercial property team, and the many interesting and varied clients we work for.
I also regularly mentor the more junior members of my team, and take time to sit down with different individuals to feed back on recent work they have completed to help with their development.
We also recently had six university students come to the firm for some work experience, and I was part of team planning and running a group project for them, which was really fun.
Another key part of my day-to-day activities is business development. I am currently crystalising my division’s business plan, and BD forms a key part of this. As well as getting involved in a range of networking events, we are also planning social media campaigns to help address industry trends and issues that will impact on clients and I regularly write articles on relevant topics for the firm’s website as well as for the press.
The end of the day
I try to leave before 5.15pm most days, and pick up my children on the way home. Then we’ll have a quick play before the bath and bedtime routine.
Once they are down for the night I will eat with my husband and then I usually do a last check of my emails or log back on to finish off anything urgent before I settle down for the night. Sometimes I will keep back complex drafting or due diligence until the evening when the phone is less likely to ring and the email traffic has slowed a little bit, but this is my choice.
As a big fan of the firm’s fantasy football league, I will sometimes dedicate a bit of time to picking my team and checking out the latest stats!
I’m very fortunate that my role is really varied and there is certainly no chance of me getting bored! It also helps to work with genuinely nice colleagues and clients and the quality of our work has made for a rewarding career to date.
- Connect with Laura Keatley via LinkedIn