How you got the job / Why Ashfords?
I was accepted on to Ashfords' vacation scheme in the summer of 2017, which involved four days experiencing different departments across the firm, before partaking in an assessment centre at the end of the week. This process is one indication of why I chose Ashfords; with a regional law firm it is far more inclusive, you end up being assessed by the people you've been working with all week which makes the interview process less daunting and you feel more confident displaying your skills. Ashfords' approach also means that you meet colleagues from across different offices and departments, which is not necessarily an experience you get with city firms.
What your role involves: Typical activities and key responsibilities
In my current department, my role involves drafting various types of documents, researching particular areas of law and liaising with clients and other solicitors regarding the matter and its advancement. The responsibility given to you depends on the matter and the solicitor who you are working with as to how much work is delegated to you. It's particularly rewarding when your supervisor gives you licence to progress a matter with limited supervision. The mistakes you might make independently serve as a great learning curve. The culture at Ashfords is one where there is always someone to talk to about an issue you might have, even if they're not involved with the matter, so it's easy to seek guidance if you're in need.
Highlights of the work you've done / Your experience as a trainee so far
One of the highlights of the work I've done has been researching niche areas of law to find solutions to particular legal problems. For example, I was asked to research some land matters relating to a school's conversion into an academy, which turned out to be complicated because it wasn't obvious who owned the school's land. When you're given tasks such as this you can really see the results of your work, as you feel like you're genuinely informing your supervisor of previously unknown areas of law, and your research goes direct to the client as part of their advice. This means that your research has to be precise and you have to make sure it directly relates to the matter at hand, which is a great pressure to have.
What you enjoy about being a Trainee Solicitor?
What I enjoy most about being a trainee is the flexibility of the work that you're given. As a trainee, you're not pigeon-holed into certain matters but can actively search for the areas of the department you're in that interest you. The flexibility of the work coupled with the push for trainees to partake in activities outside of work mean that you're always dealing with something new and exciting.
Any challenges you've faced / how you have overcome any difficult situations
I think the most challenging aspect has been the independence of your work. Coming from university, it can be a bit intimidating to not always have your work checked over and 'marked'. However, as mentioned, this means that you push yourself to make sure what you do is correct and also you quickly realise that making mistakes is part of the trainee process. It's about identifying what you might have done wrong, correcting it, and realising how you can avoid doing something similar in future.