Employer profile: Ashurst, a global commercial law firm
What it’s like to work at a commercial law firm
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Law firms guide their clients through their legal and business problems, but what is it like to work for one? In this guide, you’ll learn all about working at Ashurst, the work experience and apprenticeship opportunities that are available, and how to apply.
Ashurst at a glance:
30 offices in 20 countries including London and Glasgow
Ella Blakesley, who is a Senior Social Impact Manager, tells us what it’s really like to work for Ashurst.
What does Ashurst do?
Ashurst is a global commercial law firm with over 1,600 solicitors worldwide. Solicitors at Ashurst are responsible for providing clients with clear, practical advice on the issues they face as a business. Typically Ashurst advises large businesses, like global banks and tech companies.
Where is Ashurst based?
In the UK, we have offices in London and Glasgow and approximately 1,500 people are based in these offices, making them two of Ashurst's largest offices. Both offices are located within easy access of public transport, shops, restaurants, and cafes.
What is Ashurst's work environment like?
The work environment at Ashurst is modern and spacious, and our offices boast great views of London and Glasgow! We have a mixture of open plan and office spaces, allowing for informal catch ups with colleagues as well as independent work at our desks. In our London office our 4th floor has over 25 meeting rooms, where we invite our clients and external guests.
What are the top five work environments that best describe what it's like to work at Ashurst (taken from the Unifrog work environment profiles)?
Lots of oral communication
Having to act professionally
Often working with others
Needing high skills
Indoor or sedentary work
What are some of the most common roles at Ashurst?
We have a wide range of legal roles at Ashurst. This includes junior roles like solicitor apprentices and trainee solicitors, as well as senior roles such as counsel and partners. A commercial solicitor's role is intellectually challenging, varied and fast-paced, but working hours can be long and unpredictable. Flexible working arrangements like the option to work from home can help solicitors to manage their work-life balance.
Solicitors at Ashurst specialise in a range of legal disciplines. For example corporate solicitors work on mergers and acquisitions and provide their clients with advice on acquiring new businesses and negotiating terms and contracts. Disputes solicitors help their clients to resolve disputes with other companies, which involves researching relevant case law and sometimes drafting witness statements. If a dispute is unable to be resolved, they might prepare for court proceedings to take place.
How can someone join Ashurst at entry-level?
There are lots of different ways to join us. Our Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme is aimed at school leavers who are looking to start their career as a solicitor. This programme lasts 5½–6 years and you’ll study for an LLB (Hons) degree and your Solicitor Qualifying Exams, alongside gaining hands-on experience of a wide range of legal work.
Our training contract is for university students and graduates. Over a two-year period trainees have the opportunity to spend time in different legal divisions, as well as on secondment abroad, or working directly for one of our clients.
Our Ashurst Advance Pathway Programme offers a new career path into law for those who are not looking to qualify as solicitors. The legal analyst role is varied and includes tasks such as drafting, preparing and proofreading legal documents, and carrying out legal research.
What are the entry requirements for these roles?
For our Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme we are looking for applications from school leavers, but you don’t need to have studied law at school to apply.
For our training contract, you should be on track to achieve a 2.1 in your undergraduate degree (this could be in any subject). If you haven't met this criteria but you have mitigating circumstances, we will take these into consideration.
For the Ashurst Advance Pathway programme, applicants must have an LLB or BA in Law.
What skills does Ashurst look for in applicants?
Working at Ashurst is a fast-paced and challenging environment. We are looking for people who will thrive in these surroundings and have the drive to succeed. An interest in the business world and the news is essential, as is a passion for reading, writing, and analysing information.
Our recruitment process at Ashurst varies from role to role, but it typically includes an application form, online tests, interview, written case study exercise, and group exercise.
Related Unifrog skills:
Working under pressure
Resilience / Staying positive
What advice would you give to students interested in applying to Ashurst?
A great way to develop your knowledge of commercial law is to complete a virtual internship on our Emerging Talent Hub. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your understanding of areas of law like Intellectual Property and Competition law, and to develop core soft skills like confidence. We also run a range of insight days and webinars, which allow you to get to know us better. This will help you to understand if a career in law is the right pathway for you. You can find details of them on our website.
What work experience opportunities do you have available at Ashurst?
Access Ashurst involves a paid work experience placement in our London office, where students have the opportunity to shadow a legal professional at Ashurst and meet some of our clients.
Access Law is a virtual programme which introduces students to a career in commercial law through a series of interactive webinars involving legal professionals at Ashurst, as well as some of our clients.
What can students be doing right now to build their experience?
We encourage you to keep updated on what’s happening in the world. This could involve watching the news at home, visiting news websites, or listening to podcasts. Part-time jobs and volunteering are also great ways to develop your skills and confidence. Many of our solicitor apprentices, legal analysts, and trainee solicitors previously worked in restaurants or supermarkets, and volunteered in their local community or through school projects.
Good stuff from elsewhere
Opportunities for students at Ashurst Learn more about Ashurst's apprenticeships and other training opportunities