Trainee Life at Ashfords: The First Six Months - Jess Hedges

  • 3 mins read

How it all began

Prior to commencing my training contract with Ashfords in September 2021 I studied the GDL and LPC at The University of Law. With no previous paralegal experience I had no idea what to expect, but I was keen to get started.

I am now five months in to my first seat in the Bristol Real Estate team. Looking back I cannot believe how much I have learnt in such a short space of time.

First seat up - Real Estate

The Bristol Real Estate department is made up of mini teams specialising in areas such as residential development, affordable housing, freehold and leasehold commercial transactions, investment and franchise work. We are allocated a supervisor who gives us work and oversees our progress but we are encouraged to seek work from everyone.

Typical trainee tasks include:

  • drafting reports for clients;
  • reviewing searches carried out on a property;
  • drafting sale contracts, leases and licences;
  • dealing with exchange and completion;
  • drafting replies to pre-completion enquiries;
  • Payment of stamp duty land tax and Land Registry applications;
  • organising signing of documents electronically and in wet ink.

There is a good combination of independence and supervision. I have been able to ‘run’ a couple of smaller matters myself but the support is always there when I need it (which is most of the time!). A stand out task has been drafting an underlease of licenced premises which was a learning curve in terms of understanding the client’s requirements and the underlying law.

I like the transactional nature of Real Estate. While there may be differences along the way, both parties are ultimately seeking the same outcome. Each matter throws up unexpected issues and I enjoy working out how to solve a problem – this may be amending a clause in a contract or using a particular type of legal document. Real Estate is one department where your LPC text book comes in handy (unlike other departments, or so I am told!).

The best part of the job is the people I work with. The Real Estate team is growing and there is a real buzz to the department. I have been lucky to join when people are going back into the office. Speaking to colleagues in person makes such a difference and has definitely made it easier to get to know people. Everyone is friendly and always has time to answer my questions despite a heavy workload.

There’s more to it than just work!

My team are really social and we like to make the most of the office’s central location by regularly organising after work drinks!

Ashfords is part of the Bristol Women’s Netball League and we play against other local law firms on a regular basis. It is a great way to meet colleagues across Ashfords’ other departments. I also attended the Bristol Law Society Annual Awards Dinner in October 2021, and this summer I will be climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon as part of the Ashfords Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Ashfords’ chosen charity: Winston’s Wish. There is no shortage of events to get involved in!

Like the sound of trainee life? Find out more about trainee opportunities and submit your application by 30 April!

Send us a message