Meet the Trainee - Melissa Jones

What were you doing before you joined the firm?

Before I joined Ashfords I worked as a Paralegal in the Commercial Property Department in a Devon law firm whilst studying the LPC full time. I have also previously worked as a legal secretary and as a sales assistant at Vodafone UK.

Why Ashfords?

I knew that I wanted to be based in the South West and work in a top firm in the area so Ashfords was the perfect fit for me! Ashfords has a brilliant reputation both locally and nationally which was really important to me.

What areas of law have you worked in so far?

I have undertaken a double seat in the Public Sector Team which is part of the Company Commercial Team. We deal with a number of areas of law including procurement, State aid, planning, governance and vires, employment, commercial, corporate structuring, funding arrangements and project management.

Most interesting case you have worked on?

Since joining the team I have been lucky enough to work on many interesting matters. I particularly enjoy working on a £40 million regeneration project for a large City Council in relation to its establishment of a wholly owned housing development company. I have been involved in all elements of the legal work required to bring this project to fruition, including project structuring, options appraisals, procurement advice, State aid, governance, vires, local authority finance structures, application of the right to buy, high value voids and housing management. I also had the opportunity to present to senior Council Members and Officers in relation to the legal aspects of this project.

What has been your biggest challenge at Ashfords?

Starting in a new seat can feel quite daunting. So far I have only had to do that once but back in September I felt quite worried about starting as it was a completely new area of law. When you start you have so many questions but sometimes you are not sure who to ask. Having trainees that were moving into their second year on hand to offer advice and support was fantastic but everyone at the firm is willing to help. You quickly learn about the dynamic of the team, the type of work that they deal with and how you can best contribute.

What is your favourite thing about working at Ashfords?

It would have to be the people. Ashfords is a very sociable and friendly firm. Straight from day one I have been made to feel part of the team and supported. It has been brilliant being one of fifteen trainees as we regularly meet up and support one another.

What is your aspiration?

I would love to qualify as an NQ into the Public Sector Team and progress through the ranks at Ashfords.

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