A huge congratulations to Sanya for being offered a place on one of Ashurst's vacation schemes. Here she tells of her experience and offers some great advice for future applicants.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
I became interested in Ashurst after attending the firm’s presentation at my University. I spoke to a (then) trainee at the firm who told me about some of the work that he had been doing during his seat in the Banking practice. The firm works with some of the biggest companies and institutions out there so that encouraged me to apply. I also find that Ashurst is a very forward-looking firm; it was recently named the most Innovative Law Firm at the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Award. Participating in a Vacation Scheme at the firm will help me to experience what life as a lawyer at Ashurst is really like; I’m very excited!
What was the most challenging part of the application process? And your favourite part?
For me, the most challenging part was filling in the online application. There’s so much information about a firm online which makes it difficult to decide what to mention in your application questions. I found it useful to pick a deal and to then consider the impact that the deal had on a country, and whether there were any issues arising that were related to that deal. This helped me to nuance my application answers. My favourite part was the interview. I was genuinely excited to be at the firm, and this helped both me and my interview feel relaxed. I really enjoyed being able to share some the extra-curricular activities I’d been involved in over the year and speaking about my year abroad in Germany.
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
Nothing came to me as a shock, but I would say that I was surprised that I enjoyed doing the written case study as part of the interview process. It was the part that I was most nervous about, but I enjoyed the task and didn’t find it to be as daunting as I thought it would be.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?:
Start your applications early
Lots of top law firms recruit students on a rolling basis. This means that they start interviewing candidate’s way before the deadline for the scheme is over. I made sure that I did my firm research a long time before the online application opened. This meant that I was able to submit my application as soon as they started to accept applications. So, I would recommend starting your research early.
Be yourself in the interview
Everyone feels nervous before an interview and it’s easy to go into panic mode. I had done a lot of research about the firm and knew the firm well enough by the time I got to interview. This helped me to feel relaxed; I wanted my interviewer to see how excited I was about the firm. I think this came across because I smiled a lot, seemed genuinely enthusiastic and was confident speaking about my experiences and the firm itself. I would therefore recommend staying relaxed. Asking your friends to give you a mock interview before the real one can be really useful too!
Make the most of the people around you
I knew a lot of people who had secured vacation schemes and training contracts and I think most people do. So, it’s important to reach out to these people for guidance and support. I acted on the advice my friends gave me as to how I should research a firm and prepare for interview. I also sent my mum about four drafts of my application; she’s good at spotting the spelling and grammar mistakes that are easy to oversee. I would recommend making the most of the network around you.
What was the hardest question you faced in the interview?
I was asked about a time that I had been criticised and had to apply that criticism to a different situation. This was a question that I hadn’t prepared for and the idea was to get me to think on my feet. I took a moment to sip my water and asked if I could have a minute to think about the question. I was able to pick out an example related to my job as a translator. My approach to this question shows how useful it can be to take a moment to think. Don’t be afraid to ask for thinking time.