Life in the Court of Protection DepartmentPublished on: 28 April 2021
Before joining Lanyon Bowdler I was a legal secretary in a small local firm and I was mostly based in the firm’s conveyancing department. I did a bit of everything though! I franked the post, I did dictations, and I filled in AP1 forms. Due to the small nature of the firm, I had a little taste of family law, conveyancing, and wills and probate, to name a few. When COVID-19 struck, the firm for whom I worked was affected financially and I was informed that my contract would be brought to an end. This taste of many areas of practice helped me form a more clear understanding of the kind of areas in which I would like to find myself working.
What Did I Know Before Starting in the Court of Protection Department at Lanyon Bowdler?
Practically nothing! The most I had learnt at university was during a discussion regarding the Mental Capacity Act in terms of establishing a defendant’s mental capacity in criminal law in my first year. I didn’t know what a deputy was or what their job was on day-to-day basis. I didn’t know how to become one and I didn’t know what important work they do and how important it is to many people’s lives.
What Preconceptions Did I Have Before Applying for the Role?
I believed that the bulk of the work would be surrounding LPAs and EPAs. Now, in practice, my role is so much more client-facing than I realised.
I am mainly responsible for the financial side of the deputyship order we have in place for some of our clients. I spend most of my day paying outstanding invoices and ensure the clients have received reimbursements for bills and invoices. This means that I am in close contact with a lot of our key clients on a daily basis. I’ve managed to get to know them on a deeper level so much more quickly than I expected. I also make phone calls on behalf of the deputies, whether that’s speaking to the case managers for the individual clients and ordering medical aids and equipment or speaking to utility companies and local councils. I take notes in meetings and draft attendance notes so that information discussed in meetings is correctly logged for future reference.
I’ve been exposed to so many aspects of the work the Court of Protection does and I am extremely grateful. The firm really fosters a mentality of making sure its employees are well trained and I was recently given the opportunity to take part in an online webinar introducing the key work of the Court of Protection. This was invaluable and helped me understand more of the work we do on a day-to-day basis.
What Does My Role Involve?
I did not realise how much I would get out of my job each day. Whether it’s a call from a client I’ve just helped with placing an order for aids and equipment, or whether it’s an email from a client who wanted to say thank you for helping them change their utilities over when they’ve moved. The work goes beyond the client; it affects and helps their families, especially when most of them are still going through an incredibly difficult time. Hearing in multi-disciplinary team meetings that the client has progressed, in the short timescale that we have been involved, is incredible and gives me great job satisfaction to know that I’m a small part of the big change in their lives.
The Court of Protection team itself has been amazing. From words of encouragement from the team I see daily when I didn’t know what I was doing in those first weeks to the emails and phone calls when you need a laugh after a trying moment with colleagues based outside the office. The team has welcomed me with open arms. As has the whole company. I didn’t expect to feel so at home within a mere couple of weeks. I thought that the current COVID-19 restrictions, with many employees working from home, would affect how I felt with my place here at Lanyon Bowdler. This has definitely not been the case! I couldn’t imagine a better start to my first three months here at Lanyon Bowdler.