University of Leeds
What did you do while on the scheme?
The one-week scheme took place in the lead up to Christmas, so there was a real buzz in the office and plenty of social events, such as the trainee dinner, which provided good networking opportunities. I spent the week in the real estate department. One of my research tasks focused on understanding and applying the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to a case study. For my main task, I was given a lease agreement and asked to write a summary report with the obligations expected of the client.
My main points of contact during the scheme were my trainee buddy and senior associate who I went to if I had questions or wanted to discuss anything. They were open to sharing their insights and experiences. There were also several workshops on topics such as diversity and inclusion (D&I), personal branding and networking, pro bono and corporate social responsibility (CSR), and Ashurst Digital Ventures, as well as a trainee secondment and partner panel.
What did you feel that you gained from the placement?
I was glad to experience the firm and its people, which allowed me to make my own informed decision that the firm was right for me. When researching, the firm’s website can only take you so far, so having that experience within the firm was very valuable! Everyone was friendly and approachable and networking felt very comfortable throughout the week. With the firm’s open-door policy, it was easy to knock on doors to speak to people in your wider team.
Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?
I most enjoyed the lease agreement task as that mirrored what I’d be doing as a trainee, and I got helpful feedback from a senior associate. It was great to really understand the role of a trainee in the real estate department as this is an area I’m interested in – I’d like to do a real estate seat during my training contract. I also learnt what I’d be doing when working on big deals – for example, liaising with the Land Registry – and could see there would be the opportunity to manage new files and have high client contact as a trainee.
I also enjoyed the D&I workshop because this is something I’m passionate about and it made clear that diversity is also important to Ashurst’s clients.
The challenging part was balancing completing tasks to the highest standard while attending workshops and taking opportunities to socialise.
Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?
I had a conversion training contract interview with two partners the week after the vacation scheme.
Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?
Be confident in your abilities as it’s a massive achievement to get onto a scheme. You should be enthusiastic and positive while also trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as networking is the best way to get a genuine feel for the firm. I hope future vacations schemers at Ashurst enjoy the opportunity as much as I did!