The Legal Cheek View
Before its 2012 merger with Australian firm Blake Dawson, Ashurst was the embodiment of the ‘silver circle’ firm — with a strong City of London finance speciality built around a slightly friendlier culture to a magic circle firm. Now it’s a member of the global elite, with 25 offices worldwide, including a low-cost support centre in Glasgow.
What this means for London trainees is high quality work and some decent international secondment opportunities — especially to Asia-Pacific offices. With much of the process tasks going north, rookies in the capital report being “rarely given dogsbody work” and often being “given a high level of responsibility”.
Despite some recent upheaval in the firm’s senior ranks, with Ashurst looking to overhaul its partner remuneration system, the dynamic between supervisors and junior lawyers remains positive. Insiders tell us that partners are “very approachable” and are “careful to explain the deals and answer questions”. However, it can “depend on the person and the day”.
Trainees get along nicely, with one reporting that others “have my back”. Outside the office there is a buoyant social scene. One insider describes it thus: “The other trainees are great and 40 of us did the LPC together and all get on very well.” A social committee organises regular meet-ups for lunch in the summer and weekend drinks and rounders games.
Work-life balance, meanwhile, is reasonable, with the average arrival time after 9am and the average leave time around 7:30pm. One current trainee summarises their experience like this:
“I play a lot of sport (organised on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after work) and take the hit on other evenings if need be. My superiors encourage me to leave the office as soon as I can (work permitting), which is encouraging. Some days can be long though and I've had a few bad Friday evenings, which is never fun. I haven't worked any weekends though.”
Perks are very good. Legal Cheek’s fave Ashurst freebie is the gratis froyo after 6:30pm, while there is also complimentary membership (and entry) to institutions such as the British Museum, plus a subsidised canteen, cut price gym membership and “lots of biscuits”. There are high hopes for more giveaways when Ashurst relocates to state of the art new offices in Spitalfields in 2019.