Tamar Hosking: My first seat is in Commercial & IP. Although technically one department, as a trainee it feels rather like a ‘split seat’, given the differences between the two areas and variety in work. Day to day tasks so far have included helping to manage global trade mark portfolios for household brands, reviewing and providing comment on retail and advertising contracts, and drafting farming partnership agreements.
Ben Morgan: I'm currently in the Public Sector team, which also falls within the Commercial & IP Sector team. I have so far helped draft a variety of different contracts, alongside deeds of variation and research notes on case law and legislation. Sitting in on meetings is also a regular task, both to observe the decision making processes as well as the role we play in assisting clients coming to these decisions.
BM: Everyone at Ashfords wants you to succeed and will be genuinely happy to take the time to explain things to you. There’s no feeling of imposed hierarchy and all the partners are very approachable - they're often the best source of knowledge and happy to give advice on your work. Being able to ask questions (however silly!) is a real testament to the firm’s welcoming culture.
TH: One of the factors that drew me towards applying to Ashfords over other firms was the firm’s appreciation of a work/life balance. Whilst trainees are encouraged to complete tasks in a timely manner and get the job done, there is no expectation to work ridiculous hours (a stark contrast to many city law firms!). In addition to this, as a trainee you are encouraged to get involved with a range of extra-curricular events. In the last two months, other trainees and I have taken part in events such as football, cycling, quizzes and skittles, which are fun and good for networking.
TH: I started my training contract straight after finishing the LPC, and so one of the first things to get used to was adapting and working to other people’s schedules and deadlines. When someone gives you a piece of work, it is helpful to ask them when they want it done by, and that will allow you to prioritise your workload and not over commit.
My second piece of advice is to stay on top of your admin! As a trainee, you will receive hundreds of emails per week, so I’d encourage you to create an effective email filing system on day 1.
BM: Show enthusiasm for the department you are in. Whether you like the department or not, going into the seat open minded will help you with the work at hand which could eventually compliment another department's work that you do like! The skills you acquire in your department will help no matter where your next seat is so try to develop these skills whatever the task may be.
BM: Even after doing a law degree and the LPC, I still had an irrational sense that I wouldn’t be prepared for what ‘real’ legal work can involve. However, you aren't expected to be a fully-fledged lawyer from the get-go - that's what the training contract is for. It's your chance to learn the law and commercial considerations in the departments you're working in, so it will be inevitable you'll make mistakes. The important thing is being able to learn from these so that you don't make them (or make fewer!) in the future.
The application window for our 2025 training contracts is now open. If you are keen to find out more and are interested in applying, please visit our Trainee Opportunities page.