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Access Ashurst

Our Access Ashurst Programme has been designed to increase access to law for young people experiencing disadvantage.

The programme provides students with the opportunity to take part in two weeks of paid work experience and skills workshops in the summer of year 12, while receiving mentor support throughout their final year of study.

Programme overview

  • Week 1: During the first week of the programme (22 July - 26 July 2024), students will spend a week at our London Office, gaining an insight into life at the firm. Students will spend two days with a legal supervisor in departments across the office and on the remaining days will take part in interactive skills sessions and workshops, involving representatives from Ashurst and our clients.

  • Week 2: During the second week of the programme (29 July - 2 August 2024), students will spend a day at five different organisations as part of the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP). During this week students will receive an in-depth overview of each organisation, as well as the role of an In-house lawyer.

  • Ongoing support: Students will be matched with a volunteer mentor from Ashurst throughout Year 13 to provide students with a greater insight into life as a lawyer as well as guidance on taking the next steps into higher education or employment.

Important information

  • Full travel expenses will be covered for all of our students. For students who live more than 2 hours commute away from our London office, we require that you stay with a suitable supervising adult (i.e. family member or family friend) for the duration of the programme. We will require your parent's or guardian's written permission in this instance.

  • Lunch and refreshments will be provided for both work experience weeks.

Note: Applications for our 2025/2026 programme will open on 1st October 2024.

Who are we looking for?

Our Access Ashurst programme criteria is based on the criteria set out by Prime.

We encourage you to apply if:

  • you are in your penultimate year of secondary school (Year 12 in England or Wales, Year 13 in Northern Ireland, or S5 in Scotland (or equivalent).

  • you are attending a state funded, non-fee paying school/college or are attending a fee paying school on a 100% means-tested bursary.

You must also meet one or more of the following:

  • be currently or have previously been in local authority care.

  • be currently in receipt of, or have previously received, free school meals, Pupil Premium, Education Maintenance Allowance and/or 16 to 19 Bursary.

  • be currently or have been a full-time or part-time carer.

  • have come to the UK as a refugee or asylum seeker.

  • grew up in a household where the occupation of the main earner is categorised as a routine or manual occupation. For further details please click here.

  • are attending a state school or college with:

  • grew up in a household where no parent or guardian attended University.

  • We are passionate about reaching students who will benefit most from this opportunity and use Rare Recruitment's contextual recruitment system (CRS) to support us with our recruitment decisions in relation to applying the above 'additional criteria'. The CRS allows us to understand your achievements in the context in which they have been gained.

  • We seek to recruit the best people, from every background, regardless of their personal circumstances, and the CRS help us to do that.If you are (or have been) looked after, accommodated or in care, you only need to meet the school year requirement listed in the Eligibility Requirements section.

  • There is room on the application form to explain any extenuating circumstances that might impact your application. These above additional criteria are not exhaustive and may be amended over time.

  • The programme will take place in London – students must be able to travel to London for the duration of the two week programme. Full travel expenses will be covered for all travel.

What we can offer you

Coin inserted into wallet

Paid work experience

Students will be paid the London Living Wage for 2 weeks of work experience. The dates for 2024 are 22 July to 2 August.

Person walking up stairs

Career mentorship

You will be matched with a career mentor to support you with career guidance throughout year 13. Your mentor will help you to understand the roles available in the legal industry and will provide you with guidance on what you can do to get to where you want to be.

Person with three stars

Skills workshops

You will have the opportunity to attend a series of interactive workshops to give you a deeper insight into the role of a legal professional. The workshops will help you to build your knowledge of the industry and routes into the profession.

The recruitment process

Our application form includes a series of questions to help us learn more about you, your interest in our Access Ashurst programme and your passion for a career in commercial law.

Top tips:

  • Make sure you allow plenty of time to complete the application form – this should include time at the end to carefully proof read your application before submitting.

  • Draft your application in Microsoft Word to make use of the spelling and grammar checker.

  • Spend time researching Ashurst and the type of law we specialise in – remember to mention why this type of law interests you.

  • Use the word limit as guidance for how much you should write and remember to back up your statements with relevant research and examples.

  • Try to avoid long sentences where these are not needed. Short sentences are easier to read and will help you to get your point across more clearly.

  • Finally, don't be tempted to copy and paste from our website. We want to read your own words and not ours!


Please watch these two videos, which will help you with completing your application form:

Video 1: Application form top tips (22 mins)

Video 2: Insight into a career in commercial law (14 mins)

Our online test requires you to complete a series of games measuring your problem solving and analytical skills. Please ensure you complete the tests within 7 days of receiving these.

Top tips:

  • To find out more information on what the tests entail and how you can prepare, please visit here.

Our telephone interview will take approximately 30 minutes and will be with a member of Ashurst's Social Impact or Human Resources (HR) teams or with an Ashurst lawyer actively involved in our Access Ashurst programme.

The interview questions will help us understand your passion for a career in commercial law and your interest in our Access Ashurst programme. We will also ask you a series of competency questions to help us learn more about the skills and experiences you have that make you a strong candidate for the programme.

Top tips:

  • Make sure you allow plenty of time to prepare for your interview by researching Ashurst and the types of law that we specialise in.

  • Think about the skills and experiences that you have and how these might match with the skills and experiences we look for in our junior lawyers

We are committed to making all stages of our recruitment process accessible to candidates with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

If you consider yourself to have a disability or a long-term health condition, please feel able to be open about this at any point during the recruitment process. If you are not sure what adjustments you require, we will work with you to establish the most suitable adjustments at each stage of the recruitment process. Please note that our online application form includes a section which allows you to advise us of any extenuating circumstances that are relevant for us to consider when reviewing your application form.

If you would like to talk to a member of our team in relation to any queries you may have on your disability or long-term health condition and the recruitment process, please get in touch. Any information disclosed on your disability will remain strictly confidential.

Access Ashurst: Programme Insights

Watch this short video to learn more about our Access Ashurst programme and the benefits of taking part.

Hear from some of our Access Ashurst alumni and representatives from Ashurst involved in the programme.

Virtual Tour of our London office

Join two of our solicitor apprentices, Matthew and Coinneach, on a virtual tour of our London office, where our Access Ashurst programme takes place.

Access Ashurst Award

We recognise that the cost of studying at university is high and appreciate the additional challenges for students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Through the Access Ashurst Award we are committed to supporting Access Ashurst alumni with the costs of studying at university.

Our Access Ashurst Award recognises one student each year, from our Access Ashurst programme who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and passion for commercial law over the course of the programme.

The recipient will receive an annual bursary of £2,000 for the duration of their undergraduate course.

The Award is designed to support the recipient with the cost of studying at university. For example, course study materials (such as a laptop and text books), university accommodation and everyday living expenses. To learn more about the Award and our first recipient, Ana Fegan-Smith, watch the below video.

Key dates

Applications open

2 October 2023

Applications close

16 January 2024 at midday

Telephone interviews

12 – 22 February 2024

Offers confirmed

By 8 March 2024


Aqila Rafa, Access Ashurst Student

"My work experience at Ashurst enable me to gain wider perspective about the various pathways into law and the roles within the legal sector. I found the reflections of the lawyers to be invaluable and I would definitely recommend the programme to other students."

Aqila, Access Ashurst student

Mohammad S Hussain, Access Ashurst Student

"Access Ashurst has allowed me to broaden my understanding of the Law. Being able to communicate with professionals has given me a great insight into the profession, helping me to dispel any misconceptions I had. The experience has helped me venture beyond my comfort zone, allowing me to grow as both an aspiring lawyer and a human being."

Mohammed, Access Ashurst student


"The experience I’ve had on the programme has been amazing. In all honestly, becoming a solicitor wasn’t something I had fully considered or seen as attainable prior to the programme. Now, not only am I seriously considering the solicitor route, but I can actually imagine myself working at a large law firm such as Ashurst. The offices and everyone at Ashurst were much less intimidating than I expected and I learnt a lot from my time in corporate transactions. My supervisor was kind and helpful and I’m so glad to be able to have her as my mentor for the next year."

Reem, Access Ashurst student


Applicant Resource Hub

For answers to all your frequently asked questions and information on application & interview tips, the benefits we provide, life at Ashurst, our L&D programmes, and our IDB initiatives.

Visit hub

Inclusion, Diversity & Belonging

Our inclusive and diverse culture stands at the heart of everything we do. For more information on our initiatives and the support we provide please follow the link below.

More information

Contact us

If you can’t find answers to your questions on this page or on the Applicant Resource Hub then please contact our Social Impact team.


We are committed to offering a safe and welcoming environment for our employees and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. With diversity and inclusion at the heart of what we do we place a strong emphasis on working with people from diverse communities and aim to make a positive impact through our Social Impact programmes.

Speak up!

Ashurst is committed to ensuring an accountable workplace culture. Candidates are encouraged to report any ethical or conduct concerns to our confidential email address:

Please note that this email address should not be used for general enquiries about, or applications for, job positions available at Ashurst as they will not be passed onto the relevant team. Any recruitment enquires should be directed to