On starting my training contract in September 2019, I was allocated Real Estate as my first seat. Despite having been a Paralegal in the department before starting my training contract, I was really excited to return albeit in a different role. I would be working in a completely different team from what I was used to and exposed to new and exciting work. My experience didn’t disappoint.
The Real Estate department is the largest department in the firm with 87 employees across our 6 offices, and deals with a variety of work ranging from Energy and Waste projects, to acting for landowners on the sale of land to national housing developers. This means that the work is really diverse, and since joining Ashfords I’ve been involved in several different large scale projects, working with both Partners and other Lawyers in the team, in conjunction with colleagues from other departments
I am currently sat in the development team, dealing mainly with acquisition and sale work for national housing developers and registered housing providers, and the sale and promotion of land for private landowners. This involves attending client meetings, drafting sale and acquisition documents, preparing reports for clients, dealing with land registry and SDLT queries, liaising with clients and their agents, and even going on site visits (a good pair or wellies are an essential!).
Over the last six months, I have had the opportunity to meet, and work with, different departments within the firm and external professionals such as accountants, land agents and promoters. I have been given a lot of responsibility early on and have regularly had the opportunity to ‘run’ my own smaller matters under supervision. The support and feedback I have received has been constructive, which I am positive will help my development for the remainder of my training contract and strengthen my experiences in future seats. My biggest piece of advice would be to ask as many questions as possible!
Due to the scale of the department, you are often required to work for multiple Lawyers at one time, which can mean working with Lawyers based in other offices. This is a fantastic way of getting out and about to other offices and meeting other Ashfords people. Again, this is one of the benefits of working in such a large department, as you have a lot more exposure to different types of work, and different styles of working . At times it can be difficult to adapt to and manage the work demands of multiple Lawyers, but it’s an important learning experience and teaches you the importance of staying on top of tasks and deadlines. I’m a ‘list’ person so my daily ‘to-do list’ helps me stay on track throughout the week.
The department is also big on collaborative working and team building, and every year the Real Estate Trainees organise a weekend away for the department. We had a brilliant time and it was a great way of meeting people from the other offices for a social occasion. This year we stayed at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, where we had an evening of department news, team building games and cocktail making. Some of the keener members of the department were even up bright and early the next day for a beach walk and yoga session! We also have monthly department meetings, and bi-weekly ‘know how’ sessions which all offices attend, either via skype or in person.
I have really enjoyed my seat in the Real Estate department, and whilst it sounds cliché, the best thing about the department is the people. Everyone in the Real Estate team, and the Firm as a whole, is really welcoming and friendly, and as a Trainee you really feel supported, both in your career and outside of work. As an Ashfords Trainee, you are expected to accept Real Estate as one of your four seats, and this is a really good opportunity for both career development and strengthening your understanding of the Real Estate sector. It is also one of the few departments where there are multiple trainees at one time, which means you always have another trainee to go to if you’re unsure about something! I would definitely recommend it as a seat to future trainees.
As an Ashfords Trainee, you can expect us to support your interests and provide you with valuable development opportunities. If you are looking for an experience like Katie's, apply today.