A day in the life of… Helen Deady

8th May 2024

This month we introduce Helen Deady, a Senior Associate in the Agriculture and Estates team based in the Central England office. Helen explains what a day in her life looks like – from planning the sale of a farm to reviewing the outstanding legal points in a promotion agreement – not forgetting lunch in the canteen with her colleagues!

Today my morning starts with a client meeting to discuss the sale of part of their farm. Part of the farm is being sold for residential development, including the redundant farm buildings and barns. Planning permission has been obtained and heads of terms have been agreed with the proposed purchaser.

We discuss what’s in place ‘on the ground’ in terms of livestock, services, temporary and permanent buildings and occupiers. I consider with my client and their rural land agent the rights and covenants needed to protect the value of my client’s retained land and the provisions that I will need to incorporate into the sale contract.

It is a productive morning discussing my client’s farming business, their future plans and providing strategic advice. I then head back to my desk, review my emails and plan for the afternoon ahead.

My work in the Agriculture and Estates team is varied. I support landed estate owners, trusts, farm businesses, individuals and farming partnerships in all aspects of the management of their land. I begin working on a solar option and lease agreement for a landed estate client who is looking to benefit from the opportunities of renewable green energy. There are all sorts of issues to deal with including reviewing the client’s title at the Land Registry, the occupational tenancies in place, the existing and future use of my client’s retained land and preparing the documents in line with the terms agreed between my client and the solar developer.

Around noon, I join my colleagues in our office canteen. After lunch, the phone rings with a new instruction from an existing client relating to the purchase of agricultural land which has come up for sale next to their existing farm.

My client sends me the sale memorandum and I provide a fee estimate and outline the work I anticipate we will need to complete. This includes drafting the sale contract and transfer, commissioning searches, advising on my client’s Stamp Duty Land Tax position and raising enquiries with the seller to find out as much information as possible about the property.

I have an all-parties call scheduled on Teams to review a promotion agreement which is very nearly agreed between the parties. We review the outstanding legal points and negotiate to bring the document into an agreed form. The client is engaging a land promoter to apply for planning permission for a residential development on their property and a market strategy has been agreed; the property will be put up for sale on the open market once planning permission has been obtained that is acceptable to our client. Next, I start preparing a legal report on the terms of the document to review with our client later this week.

Before I leave for the day, I catch up on my emails and the latest developments in the agricultural industry through online publications and I write my to-do-list for tomorrow.

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