Meet the Trainee - Stephen Sadler

What were you doing before you joined the firm?

Before starting at Ashfords I completed my LPC at the University of Bristol in Law, and before then I completed my LLB at the University of York.

Why Ashfords?

I initially began searching for firms across the South West that offered as broad a range of seat options as possible, primarily because I was not sure what area of law I wanted to qualify into. Ashfords was always on my list due to the breadth of options available, but my focus on the firm grew when family friends and colleagues in industry commented that they were one of the most pleasant firms to work with. Their comments and recommendations were proved correct at the vacation scheme and assessment day I attended, after which Ashfords was at the top of my list!

What areas of law have you worked in so far?

My first seat was in the Commercial Property team. This mainly involved reviewing leases and preparing land registry applications, and really helped cement my understanding of property law from the LPC. My second seat was in the Construction department, working on contentious cases. I dealt with a few adjudications regarding non-payment and payment and pay less notices, and was able to do some smaller tasks on far larger cases in the Technology and Construction Court, helping with things like disclosure and bundling. My current seat is Trusts and Estates, where I advise clients on Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, and get the chance to assist with more complex estate administrations and tax work.

Most interesting case you have worked on?

One of the more interesting cases I have worked on was a defence to an Arbitration I helped with in Construction shortly after I had started the seat. The cases involved alleged unpaid fees for construction work on a pacific island, and had led to a flurry of arbitration and litigation in the US, UK and elsewhere! In the end, we successfully defended the Arbitration with the argument that the Arbitrator did not have jurisdiction to hear the claim, but it was certainly an eye-opening start to my seat!

What has been your biggest challenge at Ashfords?

I think my biggest challenge has been starting my training contract, which was my first office job! Working in an office was rather alien to me when I first started, as my life until then had primarily been dominated by daytime TV and the odd bit of studying. I'm glad to say that is no longer the case, though I don’t think you can ever get used to the alarm going off at 7am….

What is your favourite thing about working at Ashfords?

My favourite thing about Ashfords is how supportive and friendly everyone is. If ever I am struggling with a legal question, or a point about legal practice, it is incredibly useful to be able to ask your fellow colleagues without worrying about bothering people or annoying them.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

In the 2014/2015 fencing season, I was ranked in the Top 100 for Men's Foil in Ireland.

What is your aspiration?

At the moment I am still unsure! Without being certain about which seat I would like to qualify into, I am not thinking much further ahead than this September!