In Your Shoes - Alistair DuncanAll members Prev: Martha Doyle Next: Grant Withers
Alistair Duncan is a partner in Miller Hendry, Solicitors and Estate Agents. He is based in the Dundee office and is head of the commercial team. He specialises in leases of commercial properties, purchase and sale of businesses and commercial, mixed use and residential developments. He also has experience in rural properties including farms, forestry and estates. Alistair lives in Forfar with his family including the lovely Ruby who rules the roost.
Monday, MondayMonday 28 August 2017
Rise and shine, its Monday morning once again! There was a time, actually not that long ago, where most correspondence was by letter. The start of every day involved sorting through the incoming mail, reviewing your calendar and prioritising accordingly. All telephone calls were directed through a switchboard and if missed, then all you got was a message to call so-and-so and a telephone number. How life has changed in less than two decades. The use of faxes has come and gone, our clients correspond directly with us by email and call on direct lines. Whilst reviewing yesterday’s “to do” list and compiling today’s “to do” list over the first cup of tea is still a ritual, the need to be flexible is as important in my day-to-day working life as I am sure it is now for anyone working in a business providing a service to the public.
Yesterday… all my troubles seemed so far awayTuesday 29 August 2017
Today has involved several meetings and one of them preys on my mind. It is a new client who rents a shop and is having some difficulties with his landlord. I tell him that unfortunately I do not think there is much that I can do. He signed the lease without taking any advice and whilst the landlord is sympathetic to the tenant’s plight, he is entitled to enforce his rights. Had the tenant done some research or taken advice before signing up then he many not be in the position that he is. It preys on my mind because I see this sort of thing all too often. I understand that every penny is going to be a prisoner when somebody is starting up in a new business venture but all too often people enter into commercial leases without being aware of the hidden costs. For more information on Commercial Leases visit our website here.
Running Up That HillWednesday 30 August 2017
Mrs D is working today and leaves the house at 0630 hours so it is an early start for me as I take our leggy strawberry blonde Labrador for a 5k run so that she settles until the kids get back from school. Miller Hendry is a privately funded business and just like any other private business, cash flow is crucial to staying in business. Whilst much of out business is invoiced on completion, some is invoiced on an interim basis. We are approaching the month end and August is also a traditional quarter month in Scotland. Much of the day is spent reviewing files, calculating fees and preparing invoices. It is not a straightforward process. On some occasions the actual work carried out is disproportionate to the value of the subject matter and I have to plead my case to the powers that be to authorise a restricted invoice.
Let’s Get TogetherThursday 31 August 2017
I spend some time with my two colleagues, Alan Matthew and Lyndsey Foggarty, discussing recent developments at the Land Register in Edinburgh. This Government agency is central to conveyancing in Scotland. Legislative changes regarding registration of title as well as taxes on property have meant that we have had to adopt new practices. We now need to design a process which informs clients about the pros and cons of compulsory Land Registration and provide a pathway for our staff to follow. It is still a work in progress. Audrey Harte reports to me on the setting up of our stall at the business showcase preceding the Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce AGM. She gives me last minute suggestions, table props etc. The AGM is a great success. It runs smoothly and is a testament to the effort and preparation put in by the team as DACC. For more information on Compulsory Land Registration and how it might affect you please visit our website here.
Feeling GoodFriday 01 September 2017
Fridays for transactional property lawyers normally mean one thing, settlements, i.e. the day on which purchases and sales finally happen, money changes hands, the relevant legal documentation is delivered and clients get their keys. Commercial property does not operate in the same high volume manner that residential property does. We have one settlement this week. It is actually a file that my colleague, Lyndsey Foggarty, has been working on but she is off for a long weekend. Not surprisingly, she has arranged everything so that there is a minimum for me to attend to. A letter is delivered, yes, a real hard copy letter! That letter contains an undertaking from one solicitors’ firm to another. Without that undertaking the parties are at stalemate. Such undertakings are frequently a feature of transactions which would not happen without them.