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Meet the lawyer

Shanice McAnuff

Shanice McAnuff

University: University of Warwick            
Degree: Law
Year of qualification: 2018
Position: Associate
Department: Digital economy/corporate transactions

What attracted you to a career in law?

Law governs our society. It can enable individuals and businesses as well as prohibit them. Once I understood that the legal system impacts everything that we do in so many ways, I knew that I wanted to be involved.

How did you decide which firms to apply to?

When I reached university, I started to research various law firms that were international in nature and which boasted experienced lawyers who were leaders in their fields, as I felt that these organisations would be the best places in which to gain experience. Ashurst stood out for those reasons, but also because when I spoke to trainees and associates, they all told me that they worked directly with partners. This contrasted with the structures I had learned about at some other firms, which were more hierarchical and involved less partner contact at junior levels.

Which departments did you train in?

I started off in derivatives and then moved into corporate transactions for my second seat. My third seat was in corporate projects and for my final seat, I went on a secondment to Singapore where I continued to work in corporate projects. Being seconded was an amazing experience – I worked with so many great people, including many of Ashurst’s Australian team and also had opportunities to travel, as Singapore is an ideal location from which to explore other Southeast Asian countries as well as Australia.

How does the qualification process work at the firm?

The process depends on which department you want to qualify into to an extent. Sometimes there is competition from several trainees for the vacancy, so each candidate has an interview with partners in that department. For me personally, I did not do a formal interview, but instead spoke with partners in a range of departments that interested me, who then considered the work I had done for them during my training contract, and the decision was made from there.

Please outline your area of expertise. What might you do in a typical day?

The digital economy team was formed a number of years ago. We have gone from being a more traditional TMT team, to being at the core of many of our clients’ businesses strategically. We work on clients’ digital transformation strategies and help their companies to advance. As a junior associate I work on a wide range of matters, from the construction of telecoms infrastructure, to fintech, to regulatory work, to data protection.  

What do you most/least enjoy about your career and why?

The diverse, international nature of the work is amazing. Being at the forefront of advising clients on new technologies is very exciting.

How involved are you with business development and promoting the firm?

I have worked on client pitches since I was a trainee and now that I am an associate, I arrange meetings with technology businesses I know to see what Ashurst can do for them. Even at a junior level, I’m involved in engaging with potential clients and finding out how we can help them with their digital strategies.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

Sometimes the unpredictability can be challenging, but it is also what makes the role amazing because it ensures constant variety.

What is the wider culture like at Ashurst?

It's very friendly and inclusive - Ashurst is home to a whole range of networks and initiatives, and lawyers are encouraged to set up new initiatives where the firm doesn’t have one. I’m the junior representative for the firm’s Women’s Network and participate in both internal and external panel discussions as well as other events, which is great experience for a junior lawyer.

What is the highlight of working at the firm?

For me, the opportunities to travel with and for work have been the source of many highlights since I joined Ashurst. I had a fantastic experience on secondment in Singapore, while I have also had the opportunity to work in Europe for negotiations and client meetings, which is a wonderful way to understand more about other countries and cultures.

Do you have any advice for people interested in Ashurst?

Read up as much as you can, both in terms of the international work, clients and offices, and in terms of the experiences of people working at the firm. Engaging with people currently at Ashurst can help you find out about the culture before you arrive.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, which is about a boy and his family growing up in the Dominican Republic. My family is from Jamaica, so learning about other Caribbean cultures is really interesting and important to me.