Contentious Probate Newly Qualified Lawyer – Bristol City Centre

This is an exciting opportunity to join our growing and successful Dispute Resolution department, based in our Bristol city centre office.

Under the umbrella of the Dispute Resolution department are several specialist teams focusing on contentious probate, property litigation, employment, commercial litigation, and general civil disputes.

The successful candidate will work on contentious probate matters, supervised directly by Senior Associate, Mark Scanlon, with overall supervision provided by the Head of Department, James Bell.

The Contentious Probate team is recognised by the Legal 500 and nationally as a provider of excellent legal services for individuals and organisations. Consequently, the team has experienced an exponential growth of instructions in contentious probate matters. We are therefore looking to recruit to meet increasing client work demands and assist with the continued growth of the team.

You will assist with existing cases whilst building up your own caseload. The work requires you to undertake both opposed and unopposed applications, and the scope of such matters will provide you with the opportunity to work alongside, and give advice to, other departments and teams, including Debt Recovery, Family, Court of Protection, Property Litigation, and Probate + Estate Administration.

A successful candidate will undertake legal work and contribute to the department in line with the firm’s business plan. Our firm aims to nurture and grow its own talent. We will support and mentor your development and progression.

The role

Legal work

Some of the types of legal work you can expect to be involved in are:

  • Contentious probate, including advising and acting for clients in respect of the following:
    • Disputes arising out of lifetime transactions, including:
      • Undue influence
      • Death bed gifts
      • Joint ownership and resulting Trusts
    • Burial and ashes disputes, including:
      • Rights and responsibilities
      • Funeral expenses
    • Grant disputes, including:
      • Rules of intestacy
      • Caveats, Warnings, and Appearances
      • Full and limited grant applications
    • Will and trust disputes:
      • Rectification of Wills and Trusts
      • Construction of Wills and Trust.
      • Disputes as to the validity of Wills, including on the grounds of:
        • Lack of due execution
        • Lack of testamentary capacity
        • Want of knowledge and approval
        • Undue influence
        • Fraudulent calumny
        • Fraud and forgery
    • Claims by and against Personal Representatives, including:
      • Breach of Trust
      • Removal applications
      • Substitution applications
    • Disappointed beneficiary claims, including on the grounds of:
      • Proprietary estoppel
      • Constructive Trusts
      • The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
    • Claims against Professional Advisers
      • Professional negligence, including:
        • Drafting and advising in respect of Wills
        • Drafting and advising in respect of Trusts
        • Drafting and advising in respect of estate planning

Associated duties

Some of the associated duties you can expect to be involved in are:

  • Taking instructions, keeping detailed file notes of instructions received and of advice given and of any other attendances upon clients and other parties.
  • Preparing cost estimates for matters.
  • Issuing letters of engagement.
  • Taking forward matters including drafting and/or considering relevant documents such as pleadings, statements, bundles, cost schedules, applications, and orders.
  • Preparing or supervising the preparation and checking of court bundles.
  • Advocacy in court where required and appropriate, bearing in mind cost-benefit analysis.
  • Agreeing and negotiating terms of settlement and other relevant documents.
  • Advising clients on the progress of matters and incidence of costs periodically throughout matters.
  • Dealing with email and telephone communications promptly.
  • Signing post.
  • Subject to Partner approval, giving undertakings in the approved form in specific matters.
  • Completing matters on time.
  • Checking files prior to closure.
  • Notifying the relevant Partner as to any complaints received in respect of work undertaken.
  • Maintaining an adequate and up-to-date knowledge of the law and practice.
  • Compliance with the procedures in the Office Manual and Solicitors Accounts Rules.
  • Supervising other members of the team as necessary.

Marketing and business development

Working with our Marketing and Business Development team, you can expect to be involved with:

  • Working on submission of legal directories (Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners).
  • Attending networking events.
  • Developing sources of work.
  • Involvement in marketing strategies and initiatives.
  • Developing the department’s web pages and other marketing material.
  • Cross-department working to raise the profile and understanding of the work and identify cross-selling opportunities.

Non-legal work

Some of the non-legal work you can expect to be involved in are:

  • Preparation of bills of costs and obtaining the approval of Accounts of all bills prepared.
  • Obtaining payment on account from clients.
  • Requesting cheques.
  • Obtaining a Partner’s signature on cheques.
  • Preparing written requests for banker’s drafts.
  • Notifying Accounts of incoming and requested telegraphic transfers.
  • Making requests for telegraphic transfers.
  • Requesting transfer of money between client accounts and between the client and office account.
  • Referring amendments to cheques and bills to Partners for approval and dealing with the formalities for such amendments.
  • Perusing monthly printouts and taking the required action including ensuring that all client money is placed on deposit when required.
  • Attending monthly review meetings to report on outstanding bills and disbursements as requested.

About us

Barcan+Kirby is well known in the Bristol legal market, both as a provider of excellent legal services for individuals and businesses, and as a progressive employer.

We are committed to developing and nurturing our people, and encouraging positive wellbeing and mental health is central to our culture. When we say we offer a work/life balance, we mean it, and we were advocates for flexible working long before the Covid-19 pandemic.

We work hard to maintain a culture of kindness and friendliness, and we like to think that we do things a bit differently from other law firms.

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate for this role will be a qualified Lawyer or FCILEx with a degree in Law (minimum 2:1).

You will be IT literate and confident using and adapting to new systems and processes. In addition, you will be enthusiastic about business development and eager to use your networking skills.

IT literacy is essential, and you must be confident using and adapting to new systems and processes. Our ideal candidate will also have knowledge and experience of social media and networking as a business development tool.

ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists) membership is an advantage, but the firm supports non-members interested in undertaking the ACTAPS course.

Location and working hours

  • This is a full-time role (office hours are 9:00am – 5:15pm, Monday to Friday)
  • The role is based at our Bristol city centre office, with the option to apply for hybrid working upon successful completion of your probation period.

Closing date for applications

Applications for this role close on Wednesday 31st July.

How to apply

Ready to apply for this role? Send us your CV and cover letter using the form below. Got a question? Email our recruitment team.