What you need to know about… Ashurst

April 5, 2022

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3 min read

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An intro to the firm

Celebrating its 200th birthday this year, Ashurst has solidified itself within the international landscape as a “global mega firm”. The winner of Best Client Service Innovation at the Lawyer Awards 2021, it is clear that the firm can spearhead “top tier finance work” whilst fostering a genuinely friendly working culture. Its worldwide reach is undeniable with 29 offices operating across 19 countries, including the “key economic hubs” of Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong. With UK offices taking on 40 trainees a year, prospective solicitors can have hands-on experience with corporate financial and transactional work. Other key departments include Infrastructure and Energy. To characterise the firm in three words, Ashurst is innovative, corporate and international.

Its key strengths

The firm spearheads mid-market private equity transactions of up to £250 million. On behalf of both UK and US private equity houses, Ashurst has the strength to support both the buyer and seller side within the mid-market space. The firm covers a wide range of sectors including defence and financial services for key players in the commercial world such as Goldman Sachs and the Government’s HM Treasury. Recently, Ashurst advised J.P Morgan in connection with ASOS plc’s move from the AIM market to the London Stock Exchange’s Main market.

Beyond this, the firm is a “true sector specialist” within infrastructure, covering any kind of work from early-stage development through to ongoing asset management. Sectors include M&A, contract management services and refinancing. Moreover, Ashurst advises the Government and other key clients such as Blackstone Infrastructure. In a series of UK Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects, Ashurst worked for Skanska on its interests. This included private sales in the education sector to various infrastructure funds and an ongoing auction sale of Skanska’s stake in the UK’s biggest hospital PFI (£1.3 billion in the Royal London and St Bartholomew’s hospitals).

Highlighting their incredible range, Ashurst famously handles “big ticket” oil and gas transactions, placing them in a powerful position in the Energy and Natural Resources sector. This is really where the firm’s international presence shines, with its specialty experience in cross border matters from Asia to the Middle East in petrochemical and decarbonisation deals. Key clients here are the China Nuclear Power Group and BP. Combining all strengths, the firm recently advised the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company on one of the largest energy infrastructure transactions in the world. With an astronomical value of $20 billion, this deal saw investors invest in gas pipeline assets.

Training, training, training...

Ashurst implements hands-on experiences for its trainees. The firm’s training contract mandates seats in finance and transactional work. Apart from that, trainees are free to craft their training in any way that they wish. This leads to a diverse array of training experience, shaping trainees into well rounded NQ solicitors. 

Secondly, with a variety of both international and client secondments, Ashurst trainees can explore this element within their training if they wish. With around 20 international seats and 40 trainees, there is a high chance of being able to go where you want. You need to write a short essay and send in a CV if you want to go abroad, with Singapore and Tokyo being popular choices every year. 

Finally, there are great pro-bono opportunities for trainees; there is even a six-month seat purely dedicated to pro bono. Trainees will work with a small team on various “global pro-bono initiatives”, such as the arts project ‘creative:engagement’ which provides valuable experience in a wide array of charitable areas. Ultimately, with the firm’s technology improving at a rapid pace, prospective solicitors can expect training that is seamless and work that is “just as high quality as the Magic Circle”, according to The Lex 100.

Report written by Rida Ahmed

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