What were you doing before you joined the firm?
Before joining Ashfords I spent two years working at BT as a paralegal in their in-house legal department. I predominantly worked on the government-funded project to roll out Superfast Fibre Broadband across the UK by providing advice to the business on their contracts with local authorities. Prior to that I studied Law at the University of Nottingham, followed by the LPC at the University of Law before joining Ashfords in September 2015.
I initially applied for a training contract at Ashfords as I wanted to train in a full-service firm with a broad range of seats available. I was also attracted by the relatively small trainee intake as I believed this would mean increased responsibility and more opportunities for client contact. At my training contract assessment day I was impressed (and relieved) at how friendly and approachable everybody was and I was delighted to be offered a training contract at the firm.
What areas of law have you worked in so far?
My first seat was in the Commercial Team. This mainly involved reviewing and drafting commercial contracts for clients, particularly within the technology industry, ranging from start-ups to large international organisations. My second seat was in the Employment Team where I worked on contentious Employment Tribunal cases, acting for both claimants and respondents. I also worked on non-contentious matters including drafting service agreements and employee handbooks. My third and current seat is in the Projects Team, where I predominantly help to advise SPVs on the financing, construction and operation of energy from waste power plants.
Most interesting case you have worked on?
For most of my training contract I have been doing non-contentious work in Commercial and Projects, where I have worked on some really interesting contracts for clients in various sectors, including technology, energy, public sector and retail. However, when I was in Employment doing contentious work I acted for a claimant in a disability discrimination claim against a high-profile UK-based organisation. I was involved from the start of the claim and saw the case go all the way to tribunal where the claimant was successful.
What has been your biggest challenge at Ashfords?
I think that the biggest challenge during any training contract is starting out in a new seat, which can be daunting at first, especially if you haven’t worked on that particular area of law before. However, I've found that trainees at Ashfords tend to quickly find their feet given the high levels of responsibility we are given at an early stage. In my experience, the work that trainees do is generally on the same level as qualified solicitors, which makes it challenging but also rewarding.
What is your favourite thing about working at Ashfords?
One of my favourite things about working at Ashfords is the open plan offices, as it means more opportunity to interact with and learn from everyone in our teams. I have found the people at Ashfords, at all levels, to be friendly and supportive and I always feel that I have someone to talk to if there are any issues.
What is your aspiration?
In the short term, my aspiration is to obtain a NQ role in the field that interests me the most. In the long term, I would like to become a recognised expert in that particular field.