In Your Shoes - Lindsays

Lindsays is a Scottish firm of experienced lawyers for people and businesses. It is owned and run in Scotland, covering the country from offices in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

As many of Lindsays’ staff as possible have been enabled to work from home within our secure IT environment since the Government guidance was issued regarding lockdown. Our teams have been able to stay in touch with clients and clients, in turn, can communicate with their usual contact at Lindsays.

You can read more here about the practical legal advice and assistance we are offering everyone facing challenges in the current situation.

Here is a selection of our people talking about their working days….

A turbo-charged week for home sales

Joy Stapley is a Property Manager based in Lindsays’ office in Crichton Street, Dundee. With over 30 years’ experience in property and financial services, Joy helps clients buy and sell their homes and has a wide knowledge and experience in all aspects of estate agency services.

Since property viewings restarted, we’ve been crazily busy. There’s so much pent-up demand in the market that I’m doing twice as many valuations as in ‘normal’ times.

Many people decided during lockdown that they want outside space or a lifestyle change, so there are a lot of flats coming onto the market. But every other type of property is also selling well, and today I did valuations in Monifieth and Broughty Ferry, as well as in the city centre.

All of us in the team are now getting used to the new-style valuations and viewings. For example, we wear masks and gloves when we visit a property, and ask clients to leave internal doors open to minimise contact.

All that felt strange at first, but now seems almost normal. And, most of all, it’s great to be back. There’s a buzz in the market, and it feels really good.

Life on the employment law frontline

Kate Wyatt is a Partner in Lindsays’ Employment law team. She specialises in advising employers and individuals on a wide range of employment matters. She is also a trustee director of Dundee CAB.

As with most of lockdown, this week has been manic. It’s been a time of upheaval for all and for employers and employees in particular, so levels of support needed have been high.

In the earliest days, we were deluged with queries around lay-offs and redundancies. This moved on to advising on the furlough leave scheme which has been a lifeline for businesses – though a complicated one. I stopped counting the updated versions of the furlough guidance at number 14!

Now we’re busy helping employers with legal issues around longer-term home-working and return to work - including data protection, and employees’ health and safety.

One upside of lockdown working has been the technology aspect. We’ve done client webinars, instead of seminars, and it’s opened them up to people who might not come to an in-person event – because of time or distance. I think they’ll become a fixture. Regularly seeing clients by Teams has also been a real positive.

Other positives? I’ve enjoyed watching the housemartins outside my window, though they can be noisy. They made a couple of uninvited contributions to Teams calls today, but I’ll miss them once I’m back in the office. They of course, unconcerned about quarantine rules, may be on their way to Spain by then…

A strange way to return to Dundee

David Rose joined Lindsays in May 2020, as a Commercial Property Partner. He has decades of experience in this market in Tayside and the North East and led the Aberdeen real estate team of a UK firm in his previous role.

I joined Lindsays in full lockdown, so I haven’t actually spent a day in the office yet. I even had my profile photo taken by a neighbour! It’s certainly an unusual start to my new role.

I’m back in Dundee after a decade in Aberdeen, and it’s great to return to my roots. I’m excited about helping Lindsay to grow its presence in the Scottish commercial property market.

It’s an interesting time for the market here – some areas I work on, such as renewable energy developments and site acquisition for housebuilders, are relatively unaffected because they work to long timescales. Other areas – commercial leasing and change of use applications – are definitely seeing a Covid-19 effect.

So, there’s plenty of opportunity and I have been catching up with people over Zoom. However, I am champing at the bit to get out there in the market and talk to people in person when we are able to do that

When there's a video, there's a way

Grant Johnson is a Private Client Partner at Lindsays, and head of the firm’s Private Client team. He advises individuals and families in relation to Wills, Trusts, Executries, inheritance tax planning and issues affecting elderly clients, such as Powers of Attorney.

Two themes sum up my work this week: technology and adaptability.

Technology has been invaluable. We sometimes complain about too much time on video calls, but lockdown has improved the way we work together – certainly in my team. We’ve had to think carefully how to optimise efficiency and communication when we’re all working remotely, and we’ll see benefits from that.

Video has also been invaluable with clients. For example, one challenge during lockdown has been getting documents such as Wills physically witnessed. Video has offered a solution – though you do need to be careful about how it’s done.

That’s where my second pandemic theme of adaptability comes in. It’s all about finding solutions to lockdown challenges and communicating to clients and contacts what’s happening differently and why. This crisis has been a terrible time, and I wouldn’t belittle that, but some new and positive ways of working will come from it.

I've never seen a market like this before

Angela Morrison is a Partner in Lindsays’ Residential Property team. She specialises in transactions including purchases, sales, remortgages and transfers of title. Her extensive client base is firmly built on repeat business from clients and their referrals.

This week, like every week recently has been hectic. It helps that my commute to my home office takes five seconds. The outfit is casual and makeup up absent, unless of course there are Teams meetings or Facetime calls with clients.

The Dundee property market was buoyant pre-Covid-19 and now there is pent-up demand as well. During lockdown, we had properties sold to people who only viewed them on video and we have clients looking to buy this way too.

My days just now are long and full on with lots of new properties coming on to the market and in some cases being marked “under offer” almost immediately. I certainly need my caffeine to keep me going throughout the day.

We’re finding that clients welcome more ‘handholding’ at the moment. They want to feel someone is there for them, that’s an aspect of my job I love anyway, so suits me fine.

Technology has been amazing for helping with these new ways of working and we have adapted well. At times the learning curve has been steep with many school days along the way. My laptop was still in the shop until the day before lockdown but we have now well and truly bonded.