With Bristol often being considered the UK's biggest legal centre outside London and also one of the best places to live in the UK, the city is a great location to be an Ashfords trainee.
The office itself consists of roughly 60 people across a variety of departments, which means that it offers a lot of opportunities in terms of work but retains that familial feel as you get to know the whole office as you rotate through your seats. The size of the office also encourages social events, ranging from 'Thursday drinks', office parties and informal outings at lunch/after work. Colleagues are also encouraged to bring in their dogs on Fridays as part of a wellbeing initiative, and that coupled with 'dress down Fridays' means it's a great working environment.
Given Bristol's potential, Ashfords has also targeted the city as a location for growth. These aspirations have led to the office expanding in size rapidly, even for the duration of my relatively short time here. As a trainee, this creates new and exciting work across a variety of sectors, enabling me to experience different areas. For example, as a trainee in the Real Estate team here, I have been able to work in Commercial Property, Construction and Social Housing in a short space of time. The atmosphere is such that if you want work in a particular area you are encouraged to ask for it and are always well supervised.
Being situated right in the city centre means that you're close to the train station, shops, and bars and restaurants. This gives you lots a lot of selection for lunch and after work activities. There is always something going on, including Hot Air Balloon 'Fiestas', sporting events and gigs. This gives the firm an opportunity to get involved in the Bristol community, which it did this summer in a Wallace and Gromit related escapade. As trainees are involved in the organising of such events, being in Bristol means you have the ability to choose options that you are genuinely interested in, whether it is a charitable venture or just a location for drinks.
I am currently only half way through my first seat enjoying getting to grips with life as a trainee. Initially it can be a scary experience, especially for myself as I came directly from university so hadn't experienced the office lifestyle. Drafting a legally binding contract is a little more daunting than drafting an essay, but everyone has been really welcoming and supportive meaning that my development as a trainee has been really rewarding.