The firm embarked on a redundancy consultation in October which it said was as a result of “identifying more efficient ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic.” In total 52.5 roles were at risk and Shoosmiths confirmed today that 43 have been cut. Whereas, Baker McKenzie want to know your opinion about diversity. They won’t take long to implement and if you do it well, it should make a substantial difference to your application. Now, if we tried to combine the figures above onto a single chart, as below, you can barely make out the blue, which now represents the ratio of available training contracts to total applicants. So if the firm you are applying to has a strong litigation or regulatory practice, you could talk about the financial crisis, what it’s meant in terms of the way the financial services industry is regulated and the scrutiny it finds itself under, and then map that back to specific areas of the firm. Have you fully explained your points? And they need to be convinced that you’re going to survive the long hours. Some example questions to may include: Does the firm undertake the type of work you are interested in? How many trainees are in its intake? Do you want a firm that has a united global brand? All Rights Reserved. The last paragraph is more tailored. Now, you don’t necessarily need to scrap the answer. The job description lists the qualities the ideal candidate must possess. But it does give you an idea. For some firms, the strengths are obvious. You should also avoid long, complex sentences. Your answers will come across as genuine and they’ll stand out because they’re personal to you. Training Contract and Vacation Scheme Application Tips; Before You Start Your Law Firm Vacation Scheme or Training Contract Application Form These type of training contract interview questions require you to use the STAR method to answer the question if possible. Others sections will demand you work a little harder. Client may pay for all of the Training Sessions upon the execution of this Contract at a discounted rate of $_____. They want to know why you want to work at their law firm. Do you understand what commercial lawyers do? Without knowing you, or the question facing you, Lawyer 2B can admittedly give you limited help, but we do have a couple of tips. Well, I can’t tell you why you want to be a commercial lawyer. Here are some other examples of forms that the future trainee may find helpful: Training Service Agreement Forms – These are for when trainees agree to the types of services they’re required to do under the training. About 60% of the applications we receive look something the below. It comes across as disingenuine if you rely on flattery to answer the question: “Why are you applying to our law firm?” Instead, you should use evidence to justify your reasons for applying. [blog_slider title=”” count=”5″ category=”” category_multi=”” more=”0″ style=”” navigation=””]. If another firm asked you: “What is your proudest achievement and why?”, you might think your answer to the question above would also fit well here, and the example may fit just fine but, importantly, the emphasis is different. Although this is asked by all firms, it is clear that some applicants do not put in the necessary research before answering. Did you know we review vacation scheme and training contract applications? An overview of licensing regulatory activity in Romania. While it is important to be an individual, this should never take precedent over the overall look and feel of the form. Try to give context to illustrate your answers and demonstrate how you have the competences they are asking for. Students are “passionate” about commercial law, they are applying with “great enthusiasm” because the law firm provides an “invaluable opportunity” to work with “high-profile clients.” These words and phrases are vague and unconvincing. Long words make your answers hard to follow, easy to misinterpret, and less impactful. Cut this paragraph. And you don’t want to leave them uncertain. Pocket founder and chief executive Marc Vlessing, who would not comment on which other firms the company previously used, told The Lawyer that the decision to cut its legal advisers down to one was […], Dentons Canada has picked up 46 lawyers from collapsed Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie, weeks after DLA Piper pulled out of a deal to acquire a 70-strong team. It’s a quick way to gain access to new jurisdictions, people, and expertise, without also taking on many of the burdens that come with a true merger. If you want to write that the people at a law firm convinced you to apply, mention who (if you remember), and offer details regarding what they said. Some sections of a job application form will only need straightforward factual answers, such as your personal details or education history. So, to prepare for the interviews, I read lots of training contract applications. How do we maintain a competitive advantage? So when it was time for my second round of applications, the process went better. The move allowed Clifford Chance to formally establish its presence in the kingdom through its own legal framework, […]. You can use our fillable PDF below to help you to think about this question. Some candidates are so keen to show that they’ve researched a firm that they include all sorts of facts about that particular firm in their application. Use the active voice instead of the passive voice. I don’t consider it to be a tailored answer – even if you’ve thrown a deal in there – because the firm could easily be replaced with a variety of other firms. Naturally, such direct information-gathering isn’t always possible, so the second-best strategy is online research. What current news article has interested you? Check that your references to roles and titles are consistent throughout the application. Or a different global presence? Get your training contract application reviewed here. Instead, you should focus on what you did and let the recruiter infer what skills you developed. It comes down to improving your writing skills, but while they do have a lot of general applicability, they most directly apply to application writing. Clifford Chance is encouraging its people to remove gendered language from their documents and communications, a step-up of new policies around diversity and inclusion. Rather, they don’t believe their existing experiences are interesting enough to write down. Make your next application the best you’ve ever written. If you are then asked in the question, how is our firm different to our competitors, you may want to consider: If the question is: “How is our firm different to the other firms you are applying to?”, then you can also use personal reasons to justify your answer. Michael is applying for a legal training contract. You can use our fillable PDF to make a note of the information you find: Many application questions require you to understand, or at least acknowledge, a law firm’s competitors. It’s when the subject of a sentence is acted upon by the verb. You can read about how Slaughter and May uses this model in our firm profile. Check what you have written, no mistakes! This is different to really evaluating training contract application questions and answers. Seeing the Big Picture means you should look beyond individual tasks and assess whether or not they will help to meet targets or to get the team to the end goal. Herbert Smith Freehills is a litigation heavyweight. Are you filling in an application form, updating your CV, preparing for an interview, or expecting to do so in the near future? Next on the spectrum, we have alliances. The first is a list of boring answers Withers gets every year that you may want to avoid: Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (often with Bennet spelt incorrectly), Atticus and Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Hermione Granger of Harry Potter fame. And only a handful secure interviews. Don’t fall into this trap. If you just write that you are good at managing your time under pressure and are organised, that doesn’t tell a recruiter much. Law firms ask this question because they know how tough the job can be. Financials: size/profits per equity partner/growth, Management structure or management change, Lateral moves and recent partnership moves, Alternative service delivery: offshoring/nearshoring, Navigate to a firm’s “experiences” page on the website. Law firms want to hire candidates who will be there in the long term, who can overcome challenges on a daily basis, and who can still operate at a high level. Who are our competitors and how do we differentiate ourselves? But for competency questions, both in the application form and interview, I’d recommend you use a method to structure your answer. In each point, they use evidence to explain why they are interested in commercial law. Client may pay for Training Sessions on a per session basis at the beginning of each session. Client is purchasing __ Training Sessions at a rate of $_____ per Training Session. This can be a clear way to differentiate firms, especially if you know what practice areas you’re interested in. It just depends on which firm you are looking at. If not, delete it! The more you think about this answer the better. In their traditional form, these questions begin:  “Tell me about a time when…” and ask you to describe an experience in which you demonstrated a specific competency, such as leadership or communication. Other applicants are clearly very motivated. For example, XYZ advised on [insert deal]. The questions asks applicants to describe a “recent challenge” they have faced, and explain how they responded to the challenge as an individual. Play to all your strengths. This language change entails gendered […], Shoosmiths has concluded its redundancy consultation, with 43 roles made redundant. This is better. So, you should always leave time to proofread your application. For most training contract application questions, you can structure your answer the way you want. I would like to be involved in transactions at the top of the market/I would like to work alongside prestigious clients like this clients“. Berwin Leighton Paisner graduate recruitment & trainee manager Alan Demirkaya. Is it another demonstration of how the firm uses innovation to attract the best lawyers? A good example training contract CV layout: 1. Follow the tips below to … The strongest candidates find an effective balance between these approaches. Sources told The Lawyer that the firm is pondering the introduction of a bonus pot, which would replace existing bonus points within the lockstep allowing it to hand out extra […], Norton Rose Fulbright is reducing its London office space by nearly 25 per cent after a recent workspace redesign, which could cut the firm’s rent by more than £4m. Personal details. This page is designed to provide a list of firms’ deadlines for training contract applications. An MSc qualification during the LPC? Only when you have a good understanding of the personality and position of the firm, pick your article. Looking back on it now, it’s far from a perfect answer, but it should give you an idea of how to employ the STAR structure. “Why do you want to be a lawyer?” is a superficially simple question, although you may want to consider if there are any unwritten elements. I blamed those rejections on lots of things. Be bold enough to go beyond stock answers Being well-prepared at interviews is a pre-requisite for getting a training contract. And that’s also  fine if you are clear on which aspects interest you and why they interest you. Note, this isn’t a full proof method, and you should do further investigation into a firm (check out websites like Chambers Student as well as the firm website) to work out if the type of work a firm does seems to cross over. The above example (‘What are your main interests, activities and pastimes? The magic circle firm will now produce only gender-neutral documents and contract templates in a new policy that spans all of its practice areas and offices. But some firms do, as you can read in our profile of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Instead, try adding a few words to the start of your sentence, such as “I find it interesting how lawyers do XYZ…because….”. If you were looking at Linklaters, which other firms have sought to build a deeper presence in China? The top firms attract candidates of an exceptionally high-calibre, to the … Using non-legal work experience in your application. Pro-tip: To develop your answer, rather than simply mentioning the rank of a department (we see phrases like: “XYZ firm is ranked tier 1 in X department by Legal 500″, try to give some indication of why you find that practice area or area of law interesting. In your “why commercial law?” question, make sure you are directly explaining why you are interested in commercial law and not describing what commercial lawyers do. You just need to talk about what you’ve already done. How to answer these questions is something that I have been repeatedly asked at law information days and university fairs. There are two things that you must make clear here:  1) You understand this law firm; and 2) You want to work at this law firm. Now we are getting into the solid questions. The point is that unless the question is: “Who are our main competitors?”, you have a fair bit of scope to choose a firm’s rivals. Table of Contents. Your sentences are clearer, easier to read, and typically more concise, when written in active voice than when written in passive voice. For example, take a look at Allen & Overy’s graduate page: The firm gives you specific reasons to choose Allen & Overy including its international work, innovative client services and investment in technology. “Entering into a strategic cooperation […], Konexo, the alternative legal services business operated by Eversheds Sutherland, has launched a legal resourcing app to manage its extensive base of consultants amid a surge in Covid-19 related mandates. The applicant has identified the firm’s M&A practice and international reach as a reason for applying. If the answer is yes, then your answer is too generic. Delete this word. This means that the details of the employee, the employer, the company, etc. Forms such as Personal Agreement Forms are needed before someone undergoes training for possible employment. I read countless applications along the lines of: “Firm X does interesting deals/headlining transactions/advises prestigious clients. Situation – I work part-time as a waitress and we often host large dinners and events of 100+ people. I asked myself, was I good enough for this? What is the passive voice? If you’re talking about an achievement, end your description with an outcome or results — ideally something that’s quantifiable, such as how much money you raised or how many people joined. For example, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Kirkland & Ellis are well known for their private equity work in London. You’ll have survived the application process, now all that remains is to impress the law firm’s recruitment team in person. Rather than trying to plant themselves in many different jurisdictions, the law firms that adopt this model leverage strong international relationships with foreign law firms. This question assesses your commercial understanding, motivation to join the firm and analytical ability. They are “passionate”, “interested in M&A”, and “want to work on cutting-edge deals with international clients.” But that evidence of motivation doesn’t fully answer the question, either. Here’s your guide to surviving the training-contract interview process. The image below is taken from my training contract application to Allen & Overy. How much flexibility will there be in seat allocations? Last updated Mar 13, 2019 10:42:43 AM Avoid being overly academic or focusing solely on legal theory. Many commercial law firms have 20 or more offices; what makes this firm unique? Do the firms have different international strategies? Explain why. Will you stay in the profession for the long term? Furthermore, the recruiter has almost certainly read the same banal claims in several score of applications already this morning. It’s training contract application season. In answering these questions, you will need to show your understanding of the law firm (which ties into #2 above, your motivation) and you will also need to demonstrate your commercial awareness (your knowledge of how law firms operate as a business). In a merger, law firms don’t always share a single profit pool to pay partners, because that can be very hard to integrate and may involve a hefty tax bill. They provide a subdomain for each annual review, so you can find out their key achievements, investments and strategies over the course of the year. On average, of the 21 law firms listed above, 12% of applicants were interviewed for vacation schemes and training contracts. Many commercial law firms receive over 1,000 applications for vacation schemes and training contracts, every single year. If you write a specific and interesting anecdote that describes how you prioritised the most important issue of each day and made use of a to-do list to stay on top of tasks before an important conference, then the recruiter has proof in hand of your impressive abilities. Here are some examples of the ways you can distinguish a law firm: You can also check out this fantastic list from our forum moderator, Alice Gossop: Let me run through two areas to explain what I mean. They lead with their reasons for applying to a particular firm and weave in their understanding of the firm to back up their answer. Whether you're looking at private practice, in-house legal or an exciting business support role, you'll find your future here. Answer every part of the question with an example. [divider height=”30″ style=”default” line=”default” themecolor=”1″]. Does the firm offer a different seat structure? You can’t waffle. 2. Online behaviour-based assessment For example: ‘produced, gathered, organised, improved, negotiated’, give a greater sense of what you did rather than ‘assisted, helped, worked’. The same applies to punctuation. When you review your applications, you should ask yourself:  Does this word or sentence add to my application? There’s a quick way to determine whether you’ve sufficiently tailored your application. What challenges? Shearman & Sterling recruitment manager Victoria Bradley. Recruiters can learn a great deal from the way you answer this question. All this to say, a firm’s international approach tells you a lot about a firm, which may well trickle down into your reasons for applying. Our website uses cookies to improve your user experience. The impact of your writing is important, because your application form needs to be persuasive. My grades. You can then justify your interest in a firm. And that could be from a university society, a weekend job, or a role in a volunteering organisation. Why do you want to be a commercial lawyer? Sometimes, you can get around this problem without having to completely change your answer. Ultimately, through your answer you will reveal what interests you about the firm you are applying to. An employee training contract is a contract that is signed in between an employee and the employer, where the main aim is to give enough training to the employee, so he/she can easily reach their targets in the given time. Once you are confident you understand the question, you can start to formulate your answer. This example of a training contract cover letter is just to give you a rough idea of the layout – don’t use it as a template! Let me show you how I used the above sources to answer this question for the law firm DWF. They need to know that you have a genuine interest in the role of a commercial lawyer that’ll keep you at the firm when it gets tough. You’ll understand how to convince recruiters of your genuine interest in commercial law and how to clearly distinguish your interest in a specific firm. This research will help you to visualise yourself as a trainee in the firm and assess how suitable you are. Personalised answers are more engaging and help us form a picture of who you are. For a general question like this you have freedom to talk about whatever you want but try to ensure the following: Pinsent Masons graduate recruitment manager Edward Walker. APPLYING FOR LAW FIRM TRAINING CONTRACTS TIPS FOR APPLICATIONS AND INTERVIEWS There is strong competition for training contracts, for example, in one year a City firm received over 2000 applicants for 80 vacancies. This is why you want to be careful of how you tailor your application. Take the time to tailor your training contract applications. Can you give me a definition of medicine? This is an important reason why you should be careful before copying pasting competency answers, even when the question appears similar. Do you find the nature of the work interesting? RPC HR and graduate resourcing manager Kali Butler. With so many applications and so few available places, the only way you’ll be invited to interview is if you learn how how to write excellent applications. This is one of the most common mistakes candidates make. By developing this skill, you’ll understand how to persuasively sell your experiences and turn your story into a compelling narrative. Get your application reviewed here. The same goes for other application questions. Does it show something about how the firm rewards hard work? For example, does it actually mean ‘commercial lawyer’ rather than lawyer in general? Let me give you an example of how I used the STAR method in one of my successful training contract applications. These questions do have the advantage of breaking the monotony of application forms but they also contain a key challenge – not showing off your unparalleled literary knowledge, but walking the tightrope between not coming across as either boring or weird. The problem is the applicant spends too much time describing the firm without explaining why it interests him. The good thing is, this type of writing is something you can easily practice — and if you do, it’ll make a substantial difference to your applications. One of the best ways to find out what makes a law firm different is to speak to lawyers at open days or firm events. Is there an expansion phase planned? E.g., if you were looking at Baker McKenzie, which other firms have sought to develop their global brand? This is because the applicant clearly links the evidence to his or her interest in commercial law. How did that influence you? Colons, semi-colons, and dashes can work well if they’re used correctly. If your answer to: “Why?” isn’t covered in the body of your answer, you should rethink. Is it the “Business & Investment Society” or the “Business and Investment Society”? Evidence removes doubt in a recruiter’s mind and adds credibility to your statements. Please describe any related positions of responsibility you have held.’) was taken from Norton Rose Fulbright’s application form but many law firms ask this question. It’s not about your mastery of vocabulary. The application form. The best applications I’ve read aren’t the ones with the most impressive experiences or grades, but the ones that are well-written. Don’t make any silly mistakes. For example, Norton Rose Fulbright have historically asked in their application form how you work in a team and how you work under pressure. You’ve got to be clear and precise. Check it out here. You could then look at the implications the crisis has had on the make-up of in-house legal teams and the pressures they face, and again look to reference how the firm you are applying to has adapted its model to meet that need, for example by recruiting lawyers with a higher degree of commercial awareness. A mentoring scheme? The firm’s presence on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is another good way to find out about current stories and getting a feel for the firm. They write in their answers to the extra-curricular activity/positions of responsibility question: “I did XYZ and this developed my attention to detail and leadership skills”. 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