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Meet the Trainee - Layla Ahmadi

What were you doing before you joined the firm?

Prior to joining Ashfords I was working as a manager of a bar and restaurant  I started working in hospitality during my final year of sixth form and continued to do so for a further two years after completing my A-Levels. During these two years, I progressed and was managing shifts.

When I moved to Bristol to start my undergraduate degree I continued to work in a bar to support myself financially and did so during the year out I had prior to commencing my training contract with Ashfords.

I had been advised, or rather encouraged, to work in the legal sector in the years after my A-Levels but I didn’t feel compelled to. Although not obviously related to working in Law, the skills I developed working in hospitality and as a manager are directly transferable and give you something different to talk about in interviews and eventually when networking.

Why Ashfords?

I was taken with Ashfords after spending a week here as part of the vacation scheme. The teams I sat with were all so accommodating and made a genuine effort to go over the projects I was working on. The whole experience was far less intimidating than I had anticipated which was a huge relief.

What areas of law have you worked in so far?

I was fortunate to do my first seat in Employment, which was also my first choice. I was busy from the off and those six months were hard work but I had the opportunity to work on interesting matters, attend training courses to advance my technical knowledge and networking events.

My second seat was in Real Estate and this was my first experience of transactional work. The six months I spent in the department was a valuable experience and provided me with a broad foundation of knowledge across several sectors; it was particularly useful ahead of my next seat in Corporate Tax. The matters I have been working on in Tax have been mostly advisory in nature, along with transactional matters also. In Tax you work closely with Corporate, Real Estate and Trusts & Estates, providing support on their matters.  

Most interesting case you have worked on?

The most interesting matters I worked on were in Employment which I think comes naturally with contentious seats. I worked on a high value race discrimination claim which was both exciting and intimidating. We were representing an ex-employee at a top international bank and our dealings with the other side were a lot to handle at times. I am pleased to be going back to Employment for my final seat and anticipate much of the same!

What has been your biggest challenge at Ashfords?

I do not deal fantastically well with making mistakes because to some extent, I am a perfectionist. I have had to adapt and learn not to take things to heart or as a reflection of my overall ability. You will slip up a lot as a trainee, or at least I have, so it is best to learn to accept that early on and find a way to deal with it which doesn’t cause you stress or upset you. Aside from your wellbeing, I don’t necessarily think that being overly critical of your own performance is conducive to obtaining better results in the future.

What is your favourite thing about working at Ashfords?

Similar to the reason for choosing Ashfords, my colleagues make it a pleasure to work here.  If you come in feeling a little out of sorts, soon enough someone will cheer you up and take your mind off things.

What is your aspiration?

My main aim is to make sure I’m never bored in my job. Second to that, I hope to one day be an expert in my field with some sort of niche knowledge which brings people from here, there and everywhere to come knocking at my door!

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