What were you doing before you joined the firm?
When I left university I was fortunate to secure a job as a Paralegal at a regional law firm within the Commercial Property Team, which confirmed my desire to qualify as a Solicitor. During my two years there I began studying my LPC at the weekend and following the Training Contract application process was privileged to secure a Training Contract at Ashfords for 2019. After I finished my LPC (June 2018), I contacted Ashfords to enquire whether they had any Paralegal positions available and was informed that a Trainee Solicitor position had just become available for September 2018- I like to think it was fate!
Following my brief trip to the North (or arguably the Midlands) for university, Ashfords remained on my radar throughout my academic development and the continual growth and aspiration of the firm motivated me to return to Devon to qualify. After I had surprised myself with a love of Commercial Property (following a hatred of Land Law) I realised it was essential for me to secure a varied training contract and so the full-service commercial nature of Ashfords really appealed to me. Lastly but by no means least, the word on the legal street was that the employees were friendly, partners approachable and the firm had a strong sense of corporate social responsibility; all traits that were high up on my list. P.s the rumours are true- check out the Ashfords Foundation page here if you would like some proof!
What areas of law have you worked in so far?
As a Paralegal I worked in the Commercial Property Department of a regional law firm in their Plymouth office where I focused mainly on leasehold work, franchise expansion and the occasional plot sale which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I am currently over half way through my first seat (it is crazy how time flies!), in the Restructuring & Insolvency Department in the Exeter Office where I have assisted the team with a number of contentious and non-contentious matters relating to the different insolvency regimes. I really enjoy how the department allows you to experience working for both individuals and corporate bodies and no matter is the same which keeps you on your toes.
Most interesting case you have worked on?
In my first week in the Department I was involved in the drafting of documents for the winding up of a local entity specialising in the entertainment industry. I found it exciting to be involved behind the scenes in something which was also being aired on national news outlets in the evenings. From a personal insolvency and debt recovery perspective I have been introduced to a huge variety of individuals, each who have their own story. There are too many interesting ones to mention them all, but I have found that the explanations for late/non-payment of invoices has definitely progressed in ingenuity from "the dog ate my invoice." There is almost always at least one famous person's name or company mentioned each month in the department as well- you'd be surprised. The famous can go bankrupt too!
What has been your biggest challenge at Ashfords?
For me the most challenging aspect was entering the unknown. Having not studied insolvency law during my law degree or on the LPC, I entered the department with very little technical knowledge of the area which I was going into and subsequently found that most of the knowledge I did have was misconceived (myself and a colleague literally did a presentation entitled "Companies Don’t Go Bankrupt!" following the inordinate amount of news outlets announcing Carillion had gone bankrupt). The team have been extremely supportive though and provided me with introductory sessions on the key topics, recommended articles and have never once complained when I have asked them to explain something.
That being said, I know most of the trainees say their first seat rotation was the biggest challenge so I am prepared to change my mind come March!
What is your favourite thing about working at Ashfords?
It has to be the firm culture. Despite being here only 3 months I can honestly say that everyone has been so welcoming and made me feel part of the bigger "Ashfords Team". The firm has a great mix of professional, social and sport events- there is always something going on. I’d like to be able to say the view from my 3rd floor window is great too, but to be honest I'm on the side that overlooks the car park. You can't have everything I suppose!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
During my Law Degree I studied for half a year at the University of Ottawa in Canada where I lived with a Canadian family. The day I left, the snowfall reached the same height as me- (5ft 1 inches if you were wondering!).
What is your aspiration?
My short term aspiration is to complete my training contract smoothly and obtain a NQ position in the area of law that most interests me (although I haven’t made my mind up what that is yet!). Long term I aspire to become a recognised expert in my field across the South West. A house near the moors with a couple of (dozen) cats and a token dog are not far down my list either!