The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
City heavyweight Ashurst earns respect for its broad corporate and projects departments, and is a popular choice for blue-chip clients. The firm has recently withdrawn from Italy and Sweden but still has offices across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and North America. Ashurst earned nominations for both Energy & Infrastructure and Corporate Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2016. The firm is set to relocate from Appold Street to Spitalfields in 2019.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Bank lending – investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Commodities: derivatives; Commodities: physicals; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Emerging markets; Employee share schemes; Employment: employers; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); Islamic finance; Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Pensions dispute resolution; Pensions (non-contentious); Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Rail; Securitisation.
Advised BP Gas Marketing on the purchase of gas from Ithaca Energy; advised Avenue Capital on its proposed acquisition of a €2bn non-performing loan portfolio from Ulster Bank; assisted Petropavlovsk with its $335m convertible bond refinancing; handled a €516m CLO for arranger Morgan Stanley; advised Barclays and Denmark’s export credit agency on the £138m financing of the 27.8MW Cramlington biomass plant in Northumberland.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; BlueBay; Honda Motor Europe; Informa; Mitsui & Co; National Express; RBS; Vedanta Resources; Xchanging Plc.
Current trainees were motivated to apply to Ashurst because the firm conducts ‘Magic Circle-quality work’ while recruiting a ‘trainee intake which is comparatively small’. This enables Ashurst to ‘deliver a better training experience’ which ‘cannot be matched by other firms of its size’. Highlight moments include ‘working on a £47bn deal’, ‘assisting with preparation for and attending a judicial review hearing in the RCJ’ and ‘being given recognition in front of the client by the partner for coming up with the new structure that saved a deal’. Respondents state that ‘Ashurst is particularly strong in the corporate space’ and that ‘the energy department is well respected’. These areas of work are supplemented by the firm’s ‘strong international presence’, though there are a few complaints that there are not enough international secondments and that the ‘application system lacks transparency’. As can perhaps be expected of a major City firm, ‘long hours’ can mean ‘sleeping in the office’ and ‘a week of 3am finishes’, though it is said that ‘it is not constant and you are recognised for your commitment’. You can count on a ‘very good support network’ and a ‘friendly working environment’, and the ‘team socials and drinks’ will help you to unwind. Additionally, ‘partners are just as approachable for questions as the juniors’ and there is also ‘no social divide between support staff and fee-earners’, all of which contributes to Ashurst’s ‘famously personable and friendly atmosphere’. To experience a ‘well-rounded training contract’ at a firm which will ‘invest a lot’ in you, consider applying to Ashurst.
A day in the life of...
Joanna Green trainee, Ashurst LLP
Departments to date: Disputes, real estate
Degree:Law with South East Asian Law, 2(1)
8.45am: I like getting in a little earlier than most of the department to tick some small jobs off my list before the day’s emails start flowing in. Due to the number of matters that we work on at one time in real estate there is always a steady flow of emails to keep on top of.
9.15am: One of the main tasks that I have for today is drafting CPSE replies for a property that one of our clients is selling. As the client only recently bought the property, I dig out the CPSE replies that we received and use these to help inform my replies. I make a note of any queries that I have ready to ask our client’s agent.
10.30am: I get a call from a client who is looking for some more information on an email that I sent yesterday afternoon. I explain the outstanding points on the electricity easement and gas deed and we discuss the practicalities of the deeds in relation to the site layout.
11.00am: I have nearly finished drafting the CPSE replies when a calendar invite pops up on my computer reminding me that I have a meeting with a colleague from the tax department to run through an SDLT return that I prepared earlier in the week.
12.30pm: I grab some lunch from the mini Writs, and eat at my desk while having a read through some of the legal updates we receive on a daily basis. Having eaten my lunch, I make a quick call to the cashier desk to see if a payment I’ve requested from a client has been received so I can pay their stamp duty land tax and submit the relevant tax return to HMRC.
1.10pm: I jump in a cab and head to a local primary school with a number of other lawyers and support staff from across the firm. We visit this school on a weekly basis to read with Year 6 students, helping them to develop their comprehension skills. The students have put in a lot of effort this year and it is very rewarding to see how far they have come.
2.30pm: I check my BlackBerry on the way back to the office and can see that an associate has had the chance to run through some documents that I have drafted. Once back in the office I pop over to the associate’s office and we run through his comments. I then update the documents and send them to our client to see if they are happy for us to circulate the documents to the new tenant’s solicitor.
3.30pm: My supervisor has invited me to join a call which he is having on a new matter. After the call my supervisor talks me through the documents that we will need to draft and we give the property litigation team a ring for their advice on a point that was raised during our conversation with the client.
4.30pm: I have received the first draft of a substation lease and have been asked to review the document. I mark up the document with my comments ready to discuss these with the senior associate who has been liaising with the client on this matter.
6.00pm: I have a few things on my list that I want to get out before the end of the day. In particular, I have four Land Registry forms to submit in relation to a pro bono matter that I have been assisting on.
7.00pm: Once these jobs are done, I make a quick list of what needs to be done tomorrow, and ask my supervisor if there’s anything else I can help with before I go. I register my time for any work that I haven’t logged throughout the day, turn my computer off and head upstairs to a networking event with a group of vacation scheme students.
About the firm
Address:Broadwalk House, 5 Appold Street, London, EC2A 2HA
Telephone: 020 7638 1111
Fax:020 7638 1112
Managing partner : Paul Jenkins
Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Brisbane, Brussels, Canberra, Dubai, Frankfurt, Glasgow (support office), Hong Kong, Jakarta (associated office), Jeddah (associated office), Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Perth, Port Moresby, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Washington DC.
Who we are: With 25 offices in 15 countries and a number of referral relationships we offer the reach and insight of a global network, combined with the knowledge and understanding of local markets.
What we do: Our clients are at the heart of our thinking; our ambition is to be our clients’ most incisive partner. You will see we have a prestigious client base, with whom we build strong partnerships working closely together on large and complex multi-jurisdictional transactions to deliver incisive and insightful commercial solutions. Our global reach provides opportunities for our people to work in numerous jurisdictions.
What we are looking for: We expect a lot of ourselves – and so, as you would expect, you will need to be comfortable with challenges and pressure. You should also be able to express yourself confidently on paper and out loud, whether that’s among your team or in a client’s boardroom.
What you'll do:A training contract at Ashurst will move your mind beyond technical knowledge of the law. Ultimately, we want to help you become a thought leader with a reputation for clear, perceptive and influential advice – a professional in whom governments and leading businesses the world over can place their trust.
Perks: Private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, pension, season ticket loan (interest-free), dental insurance, ISA savings account, wine club, technology purchase plan, holiday purchase, travel insurance, reduced rate gym membership, childcare vouchers, cycle to work scheme, give as you earn, onsite services including doctor, dentist, physiotherapist and masseuse. 25 days’ holiday (plus bank holidays), staff restaurant.
Sponsorship:For the GDL and LPC, we offer scholarships that cover your course fees and provide £8,000 per year towards the cost of maintenance (£7,000 if you choose to study the GDL outside London).
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 45
Applications received pa: 1,500
Percentage interviewed: 10-15%
First year: £41,000
Second year: £46,000
Newly qualified: £70,000
Total partners: 410
Apply to:Hammad Akhtar, graduate recruitment partner.
When to Apply:1 October-31 December 2016; 1 May-31 July 2017.
3-7 April 2017 (apply by 8 January 2017)
26 June-14 July; 24 July-18 August 2017 (apply 8 January 2017)
12-16 December 2016 (apply by 6 November 2016)