Many aspiring trainee solicitors consider applying to Ashurst for a training contract or vacation scheme due to the firm’s reputation for providing a high level of training and an innovative work environment. This guide will provide you with comprehensive information on the application process, requirements, tips, and everything else you need to know to help you secure Ashurst’s training contract or vacation scheme.

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What is the Ashurst Training Contract?

The Ashurst training contract is an intensive program that sets the foundation for a career as a legal professional. Trainees will rotate through four six-month seats, which provide them with a breadth of experience in various areas of commercial law, including a mandatory seat in global loans or global markets and another in transactional practices. The remaining two seats offer exposure to a wide range of practice areas or the opportunity for a client or international secondment. Make sure you are up-to-date with training contract deadlines.

Ashurst Training Contract Graphic

Moreover, Ashurst ensures that all future trainees are well-prepared educationally by attending The University of Law. For those without a law degree, the Post Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) is offered, followed by an LLM Legal Practice Course (SQE1 and 2), tailored uniquely to Ashurst. There is financial support in the form of bursaries and maintenance grants, as well as an interest-free loan of £2,000, demonstrating Ashurst’s commitment to investing in the professional growth of its trainees.

Ashurst Training Contract Requirements

To qualify for an Ashurst training contract in the UK, applicants must be finalists or graduates from any degree discipline or penultimate year law students with an anticipated grade of at least a 2.1 in their undergraduate degree. If an applicant does not meet these criteria due to mitigating circumstances, they can provide this information in their application. Updates on your application will be provided to candidates usually by mid to late May. 

What is the Ashurst Vacation Scheme

The Ashurst vacation scheme is a pivotal component of the firm’s recruitment process and provides a comprehensive introduction to commercial law. It’s available to final-year students and graduates from any degree discipline, as well as penultimate-year students. Participants undergo two-seat rotations, tackling tasks akin to those of trainees, such as proofreading, research, and attending meetings. Importantly, participants are considered for a training contract at the scheme’s conclusion. The scheme is a crucial step for those seeking to understand the practical workings of a law firm and consider a future at Ashurst. Stay up-to-date with vacation scheme deadlines.

Winter Vacation Scheme at Ashurst

Ashurst’s winter vacation scheme offers a one-week intensive experience in December, designed for final-year university students or graduates. During this time, participants work in a specific department under the supervision of a qualified solicitor, engaging in real work, attending workshops, and learning about Ashurst’s specialist areas. Social events are also included, providing opportunities to network with the firm’s partners, associates, and current trainees.

Applications for the scheme are typically open for a month in the autumn, with assessment days and interviews scheduled shortly thereafter. No extensions to this deadline are granted unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Overseas candidates must specify their situation and availability for interviews in their application, ensuring they can attend an interview in London if necessary. This scheme serves as a stepping stone to securing a training contract with Ashurst, as participants are interviewed for such contracts upon completion of the vacation scheme.

Summer Vacation Scheme at Ashurst

Ashurst’s summer vacation scheme is a comprehensive program designed for final-year students, graduates of all degree disciplines, and penultimate-year students. This three-week scheme immerses participants in the world of commercial law with two-seat rotations, offering hands-on experience in the tasks that trainees perform. The work includes proofreading, research, and attending meetings. A key aspect of the scheme is that participants are evaluated for a training contract upon completion​.

The application period for the summer vacation scheme has a specific window, after which the assessment days and interviews are scheduled. Applicants must also complete three psychometric assessments within seven days of submitting their online application, with no extensions provided unless there are extenuating circumstances.​​

What You Will Do During Ashurst Vacation Scheme

During the Ashurst vacation scheme, participants engage in a range of activities designed to provide a comprehensive view of life at a commercial law firm. They will undertake two seat rotations to gain exposure to different legal areas and work on actual tasks similar to those handled by trainees, such as proofreading, conducting research, and attending meetings with a supervising solicitor. There’s also the opportunity to attend workshops and learn about the firm’s specialist areas. Additionally, participants will be part of social events to network with firm members and will be considered for a training contract at the end of the scheme.

Application Process for Training Contract and Vacation Scheme at Ashurst

The application process for Ashurst’s training contract and vacation scheme is as follows: 

  1. Online Application: Candidates showcase their knowledge, skills, and passion for the legal industry.
  2. Three Psychometric Assessments: Cognify, Emotify, and Values Fit. These tests evaluate problem-solving abilities, interpersonal skills, and alignment with Ashurst’s values. It is also possible to encounter the Watson Glaser Test as well.
  3. Assessment Day: You will generally have to participate in and analyse a case study and/or a group exercise.
  4. Interview: Either during an Assessment Day or on a separate day, you will be invited for an interview with the HR team and senior partners. 

Ashurst does not review applications on a rolling basis but rather reviews all applications after the closing date. This applies both to the training contract and vacation scheme applications. It is important to note that candidates cannot apply for both vacation schemes and training contracts within the same recruitment window. Find out how to perfectly answer why this law firm or why study law application questions. 

Ashurst Training Contract Application Process Graphic

Why You Should Apply to Ashurst?

Applying to Ashurst’s training contract or vacation scheme is a strategic move for aspiring legal professionals. Ashurst is a prestigious firm offering a structured program that equips trainees with a diverse range of legal experiences through seat rotations in various practice areas. The firm supports educational advancement through sponsorships and grants for postgraduate studies. Moreover, Ashurst’s global reach and commitment to innovation and client service provide an excellent foundation for a stimulating and successful legal career. The firm’s inclusive culture and focus on developing thought leaders in the legal field make it an attractive place to start and grow professionally.

History of Ashurst

Ashurst, established in 1822 under the name Ashurst Morris Crisp, has a storied history as a distinguished law firm in the City of London. In the early 2000s, the firm underwent significant changes, rebranding to Ashurst LLP and implementing strategic management that led to a surge in profitability, placing it among the UK’s top 10 in this regard by 2007. Despite facing challenges during the financial crisis in 2008, Ashurst recovered and reported strong financial results in 2011​​​.

A pivotal moment in Ashurst’s history was the 2012 merger with Australian law firm Blake Dawson, which had a rich heritage dating back to 1841. This merger significantly expanded Ashurst’s global footprint and reinforced its presence in Asia-Pacific, enhancing its capabilities in key practice areas​​​​​.

What Makes Ashurst Stand Out

Ashurst stands out for several reasons:

  • Project Expertise: Ashurst is known for its expertise in Public Private Partnerships (PPP), a key method of infrastructure development, and offers comprehensive services in this area, backed by a Band 1 rating in Chambers USA​.
  • Flexibility and Development: The firm is noted for its flexibility in practice areas, allowing associates to experience different aspects of the firm and choose their path. It provides robust training, mentorship, and professional growth, setting associates up for long-term success​.
  • Culture and Camaraderie: Ashurst promotes a culture of camaraderie, with a supportive environment where colleagues form genuine friendships. The firm emphasizes informality and work-life balance, hosting social events and recognizing personal achievements​.
  • Commitment to Pro Bono and DE&I: The firm grants autonomy in pro bono work and takes diversity and inclusion seriously, with significant recruitment from historically black law schools and a diverse cohort of associates​.
  • Progressive Vision: Ashurst aims to be the most progressive global law firm, seeking innovative solutions to client challenges and emphasizing a forward-thinking approach to legal practice​.
  • Global Strategy: With a focus on infrastructure as a core industry, the firm leverages its global network to deliver expertise and local market knowledge and is expanding its presence in the US and Asia​.

These aspects make Ashurst a distinctive choice for those seeking a career in law, offering a blend of tradition, innovation, and global reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the Ashurst training contract and vacation scheme:

How many trainees does Ashurst take?

Ashurst takes on around 40 trainees each year in its London office.

How do you qualify for an Ashurst apprenticeship?

To qualify for Ashurst’s solicitor apprenticeship, which provides an alternative route to becoming a qualified lawyer in England and Wales outside of a training contract, you would typically need to have completed A-levels or equivalent qualifications. The apprenticeship allows you to gain an LLB and pass the SQE without incurring student debt, as the firm pays your study fees.

How much do Ashurst associates make in London?

The typical salary range for an Ashurst Associate in London is between £71,899 and £107,210 per year. Including bonuses and additional compensation, the average total pay could be around £96,001​. Learn all about solicitor salaries in our comprehensive guide.

What are the perks of working at Ashurst? 

Ashurst, as a multinational law firm headquartered in London and part of the Silver Circle, offers a variety of perks that attract professionals. Employees have praised the firm for its great employee benefits and friendly staff, which contribute to a positive working environment. The firm is committed to providing comprehensive training opportunities, including e-learning modules and interactive workshops, allowing professionals, students, and graduates to develop their skills and personal brand. Furthermore, Ashurst prides itself on a fantastic culture and provides the tools and guidance necessary for a successful career in law, not just within its own firm but the industry as a whole.

Is Ashurst top tier? 

Ashurst is recognized as a top-tier law firm, with Tier 1 status achieved in several practice areas. It has been recommended in numerous practice areas in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guide and other respected legal directories, underscoring its prominence in the legal landscape both in the UK and internationally​​​​​​​​.

What makes Ashurst different? 

What sets Ashurst apart from other law firms is its strong entrepreneurial culture that encourages individualism and provides exposure to a diverse range of challenges, businesses, and cultures. It is noted for its expertise in energy and project finance, as well as a robust corporate side, making its corporate department comparable to those in the Magic Circle. The firm is also highly regarded in areas such as property, tax litigation, and international finance. Ashurst is known for its forward-thinking approach, championing new ideas, understanding clients’ needs, and finding innovative solutions, particularly in a time of significant global change.

Is Ashurst a Magic Circle firm? 

Ashurst is not a Magic Circle law firm; it is part of the Silver Circle, which consists of London-headquartered firms that offer elite services in the UK and have a broader range of specialisms than Magic Circle firms, often with a significant focus on private equity. The Magic Circle refers to the five most prestigious London-headquartered multinational law firms known for their profitability and prestige. Ashurst, while highly reputable and with a long history, is distinguished by its Silver Circle status and offers a different working culture and range of specialities compared to Magic Circle firms​​​.