If you are looking for law training contracts, you need to have a strong grasp of when your target firms have their training contract deadlines! This guide will walk you through the steps in detail, but here is the short version, a checklist that we use to provide feedback for our advanced application reviews: Most commercial law firms will ask a variant of at least one of the following questions in their application form (and if it’s a cover letter, you’ll be expected to cover these questions): With that in mind, we can break down what law firms are looking for into four areas: You’ll see the competency questions vary because different firms will look for different qualities in their trainees. Both firms may excel in one practice area, but does your chosen firm also lead in. If you were looking at Shearman & Sterling, which other foreign firms have long had a presence in the Middle East? Two firms that fall into this category are Withers and Charles Russell, with the latter changing its question every year and the former traditionally asking candidates to name a literary character they think resembles them. 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. Training Contract and Vacation Scheme Application Tips; Before You Start Your Law Firm Vacation Scheme or Training Contract Application Form 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. Check that your references to roles and titles are consistent throughout the application. A skill that everyone can develop with the right knowledge and lots of practice. 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. If there are multiple competency questions in an application form, you should use different examples to answer each question. Go beyond the graduate website – look at the types of candidates the firm recruits and the skills and qualities the firm values in its people. Don’t make any silly mistakes. And that’s also  fine if you are clear on which aspects interest you and why they interest you. “M&A has long been the subject of my interest because…”, “Boxing training became necessary for me five days each week”. The strongest candidates find an effective balance between these approaches. Have a look at the example you could use to answer the question above. Spelling, grammar and formatting must be perfect and, in this respect, it is as much how you say something as what you say. (Note – we made our own typo with the word “maker” – we’re not perfect either!). Many commercial law firms have 20 or more offices; what makes this firm unique? That’s refreshing, especially for a recruiter who has slogged through piles of similar application forms. For example, does it actually mean ‘commercial lawyer’ rather than lawyer in general? Evidence removes doubt in a recruiter’s mind and adds credibility to your statements. So, let’s examine each of the above application questions. This means that the details of the employee, the employer, the company, etc. But showing that you’ve read about some esoteric deal or a series of awards doesn’t make your application any stronger. Why do you want to be a commercial lawyer? Competency Answers – Seeing the Big Picture examples you can talk about. A good example training contract CV layout: 1. Alternatively, you could do pro bono work, which will improve your legal skills and give you real-life examples to draw on in training contract interviews. Does the firm offer a different seat structure? 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. Is there an expansion phase planned? 2. 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. The applicant needs to identify which specific opportunities and secondments they are interested in, and then explain why these interest the applicant. How much flexibility will there be in seat allocations? The above example (‘What are your main interests, activities and pastimes? The move allowed Clifford Chance to formally establish its presence in the kingdom through its own legal framework, […]. Avoid platitudes by addressing the specific opportunity on offer to you and what the employer is looking for. Trust me, I can’t tell you how many applications start with: “I want to be a commercial lawyer because I am interested in law and business.”. How would you pitch our unique selling points to a client? Let’s pretend we are applying for the job of Management and Program Analyst. We’ll benchmark your application against those of the 500+ applications we reviewed this year. So to help guide you through this maze, Lawyer 2B asked three graduate recruiters the best way to approach common questions and added our own words of wisdom too. But some firms do, as you can read in our profile of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Private equity sponsors, investors, lenders and service providers will be well aware of the Cayman Islands’ prominence as a domicile for global PE funds. This is a good example of an average answer. All Rights Reserved. Conversely, good writing makes an application stand out. Do you find the nature of the work interesting? 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. If possible, ask someone else to take a look at your application for spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes, or submit a final draft of your training contract application to us for a review. Ridiculously long forms, unimaginative questions requiring answers demonstrating individuality and prowess in all fields, and online programs with the propensity to crash at any moment can drive you to the brink of insanity. Others sections will demand you work a little harder. Recruiters don’t want to know why you want to work at a law firm; that’s what the other question is for. The trickier application form questions can be daunting at first, but with some practice you can learn how to ensure that your answers impress recruiters. 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. Long words make your answers hard to follow, easy to misinterpret, and less impactful. And while it’s crucial to show you’ve researched the firm, your demonstration of research doesn’t answer the question of motivation. When I first applied to law firms, I received few interviews and many rejections. In that second round, I secured interviews with 13 law firms. The questions asks applicants to describe a “recent challenge” they have faced, and explain how they responded to the challenge as an individual. Or maybe you want to talk about the aspects of commercial law you find interesting. Once you are confident you understand the question, you can start to formulate your answer. But it does give you an idea. 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. Many commercial law firms receive over 1,000 applications for vacation schemes and training contracts, every single year. Likewise, back up your points with specific reasons e.g., “I became interested in the business side of commercial law when [I learned about XYZ when running my university society. 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. Bird & Bird offers a top-ranked intellectual property practice. The problem is the applicant spends too much time describing the firm without explaining why it interests him. There’s a quick way to determine whether you’ve sufficiently tailored your application. Here’s your guide to surviving the training-contract interview process. They do different work, run their businesses differently, invest in different future strategies and train their trainee solicitors differently. 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. Have you fully explained your points? 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. As you read the samples, pay attention to the overlap between the job requirement and the way in which the statement addresses each facet of this responsibility, directly tying in the applicant’… You must talk about yourself, your motivations and your experiences. By developing this skill, you’ll understand how to persuasively sell your experiences and turn your story into a compelling narrative. Include your name, address, email address and phone number. Don’t say you’re like Rodion Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment if the closest you’ve got to Russian literature is watching the Sochi Winter Olympics, for example. The second tip is not to name a character from a book you’ve never read but that you think will make you sound clever. If you continue browsing, we assume that you consent to our use ofÂ, The Lawyer | Legal insight, benchmarking data and jobs,                         Subscribe,                         Advertise with us,                         Contact us,                         Privacy,                         Website Terms and Conditions,                         Cookies, Walder Wyss helps Berghoff with transfer of assets, Boris-backed Pocket Living picks Speechly as sole adviser, Dentons Canada absorbs 46 Heenan Blaikie lawyers after DLA talks fail, How to keep control of your Intellectual Property after Brexit. Either way, there's no harm in applying early. An MSc qualification during the LPC? Use evidence to back up your reasons for applying to a firm, wanting to be a commercial lawyer, or demonstrating your competencies. The last sentence is then too generic and does not follow from the rest of the paragraph. The personal statement is part of an application form, but the job advert has highlighted some specific areas to focus upon in his answer: 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. Whether you're looking at private practice, in-house legal or an exciting business support role, you'll find your future here. Unfortunately, not all firms submitted their data, so the chart is far from complete. Training Services Agreement_Version 1.0 Page 1 of 3 Training Services Agreement This Training Services Agreement (“Agreement”) is a legal agreement between you and Edifecs, Inc. (“Edifecs”) and states the terms and conditions that apply to all online purchases of training … Forms such as Personal Agreement Forms are needed before someone undergoes training for possible employment. Concise is good! This guide has now been updated for 2019 training contract applications! Don’t use a big word if a simple word will do. E.g., if you were looking at Baker McKenzie, which other firms have sought to develop their global brand? Is it the “Business & Investment Society” or the “Business and Investment Society”? I often hear from students they’re struggling to find examples to use for their competency questions. You just need to talk about what you’ve already done. The app was developed to help consultants within ‘Legal Resourcing’, one of the services lines offered by the firm’s NewLaw business, onboard more easily from wherever […], Registered in England and Wales with number 11491880, Registered office at Floor M, 10 York Road, London, SE1 7ND. All rights reserved. For example, Shearman & Sterling ask you to explain how they maintain a competitive advantage, and Reed Smith asks how they differentiate themselves from their competitors. For example, XYZ advised on [insert deal]. But I can give you a few ideas. As the market for green pensions evolves, some employers have been accused of adopting more of a “tilt” than a genuine commitment to greening their pension plans for employees. Furthermore, the recruiter has almost certainly read the same banal claims in several score of applications already this morning. How do the firms invest in innovation and technology? It’s tricky. You may have enjoyed studying jurisprudence but how does this relate to becoming a legal practitioner? This is a much more convincing and memorable way of presenting your qualities. These type of training contract interview questions require you to use the STAR method to answer the question if possible. The point is they keep your answers focused on the most important aspects of your experiences. 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. Take the time to tailor your training contract applications. Recruiters already know what commercial lawyers do, so you don’t need to tell them again in your application. I do actually think it’s a genuine reason – you want to work at a big international firm because you’ll be involved in exciting deals. Below is a mock application answer we’ve drafted. If you continue browsing, we assume that you consent to our use of cookies. 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. While it is important to be an individual, this should never take precedent over the overall look and feel of the form. Do you understand what commercial lawyers do? These are questions that applicants pore over when contemplating their written answers to training contract or vacation scheme applications. Furthest to the left, we have best friend networks. This is an important reason why you should be careful before copying pasting competency answers, even when the question appears similar. In other words, the person or thing responsible for the action doesn’t come first in the sentence. Others wait until after the deadline to begin sifting through applications. Many applicants fall down because they don’t answer each part of the question evenly. Of course, at … Try to give context to illustrate your answers and demonstrate how you have the competences they are asking for. Using this strategy, firms may refer work and share marketing initiatives, but they don’t have to be exclusive and firms retain their flexibility to partner with international firms in the region. Client may pay for all of the Training Sessions upon the execution of this Contract at a discounted rate of $_____. After reviewing many applications over the past few years, I have identified several areas that distinguish the average to excellent applicants when it comes to selling their experiences. Watch it here! The Swiss verein structure means these firms “merge” with a local law firm, but these aren’t true mergers; the law firms share marketing and branding, but they do not share revenue or liability. Do the firms have different international strategies? Good writing in an application form is not what you might think. Next on the spectrum, we have alliances. The Different Types of Training Agreement Forms. Forget about whether your grades or your experiences are “good enough”. Law firms ask this question because they know how tough the job can be. I asked myself, was I good enough for this? Instead, you should focus on what you did and let the recruiter infer what skills you developed. Let me give you an example of how I used the STAR method in one of my successful training contract applications. In fact, good writing is created from the qualities that are the opposite of lengthy words wedged into painfully complicated sentences:  Simple writing makes your point effectively and compellingly. They need to know you’ve explored it properly, that you aren’t just picking this job at random, but that you have gone out of your way to understand what the role entails. The trials and tribulations of application forms are enough to make any would-be lawyer weep. And only a handful secure interviews. On the other hand, a well-prepared candidate might say something like this: Although the weakness the candidate identified was worrying, he managed to place it in context against his strengths. Naturally, such direct information-gathering isn’t always possible, so the second-best strategy is online research. An overview of licensing regulatory activity in Romania. This will then allow them to compare their findings with what they want from an employer in terms of their long-term career prospects. My grades. 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. Check what you have written, no mistakes! Likewise, if I’m picking this out, no doubt recruiters are seeing many more answers like this. 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. Research the firm’s clients, sectors they operate in, its position in the market, and its strategy. 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. The image above provides a snapshot of five of those strategies, the left being the least integrated and the right being the most. On the third day of Christmas Linklaters gave to me, three new best friends, two stolen votes […], Private housing developer Pocket Living has cut its legal panel from five to one, making Speechly Bircham its sole legal adviser. The job description lists the qualities the ideal candidate must possess. Only when you have a good understanding of the personality and position of the firm, pick your article. Let me show you how I used the above sources to answer this question for the law firm DWF. Does the firm prefer to promote its partners from within the firm or does it laterally. What is the passive voice? This page is designed to provide a list of firms’ deadlines for training contract applications. These elements of business interested me because XYZ…”. Most students are used to writing essays, but in an application form, your writing style needs to be different. Will you stay in the profession for the long term? For example, with questions like: “Describe a significant challenge you have faced and how you overcame it”, a firm is looking for evidence of your resilience. Answer every part of the question with an example. We find candidates often underweight the importance of this question, possibly because it’s such a common question and because it can seem straightforward compared to some of the more challenging commercial questions. Delete this word. 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. The same goes for mentioning the number of offices a firm has. The application form. But for competency questions, both in the application form and interview, I’d recommend you use a method to structure your answer. You can read about how Slaughter and May uses this model in our firm profile. Setting up in Saudi Arabia requires picking through complex regulation. Now, let me run through two common mistakes I have noticed in answers to this question. When I was a partner there, I was asked to join the group of partners that interviewed students who had applied for training contracts. You must tailor it to each firm you apply to.Remember to check out our law CV template page. The top firms attract candidates of an exceptionally high-calibre, to the … And that could be from a university society, a weekend job, or a role in a volunteering organisation. Allen & Overy offers a summer vacation scheme (for penultimate year students) and a winter vacation scheme (for finalists and graduates). Table of Contents. For the best part of 20 years, sponsors and their global advisers have been attracted by Cayman’s neutrality, efficiency, quality and flexibility – but also by its predictability. It should display a list of your academic achievements, relevant law experience and interests. Firms receive hundreds of application forms so it can often be difficult to differentiate yourself and make yourself stand out. For example: ‘produced, gathered, organised, improved, negotiated’, give a greater sense of what you did rather than ‘assisted, helped, worked’. Now, you don’t necessarily need to scrap the answer. For example, Norton Rose Fulbright have historically asked in their application form how you work in a team and how you work under pressure. 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. It’s not about your mastery of vocabulary. If the word ‘wacky’ makes you cringe then you are not alone but unfortunately you do still have to answer the question. Why do you want to be there? Will you get the opportunity to do pro bono work? Tell me about a time you did XYZ… (competency questions). Whereas, Baker McKenzie want to know your opinion about diversity. 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. It just depends on which firm you are looking at. The image below is taken from my training contract application to Allen & Overy. The edit will tighten up your writing. Law firms adopt different strategies to provide an international service to their clients. If you’re talking about how legal work experience introduced you to commercial law, explain where you worked and what you found interesting. For example, take a look at the application to interview ratio for the sample of law firms below. If you’re reading this, then I’m sure you know how competitive the process is. Are you assuming the recruiter will understand the reasons behind your points? Get your training contract application reviewed here. These are the kind of specific details that will demonstrate not only your understanding of a firm, but also the fact that you have taken the time to think how these factors will influence your future career. The last paragraph is more tailored. Without knowing you, or the question facing you, Lawyer 2B can admittedly give you limited help, but we do have a couple of tips. Shorten this sentence. Effective application writing is simple, direct and memorable.  to improve your user experience. You’ve got to be clear and precise. You should also avoid long, complex sentences. 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. About 60% of the applications we receive look something the below. The trials and tribulations of application forms are enough to make any would-be lawyer weep. Copyright © 2020 Centaur Media plc and / or its subsidiaries and licensors. This is different to really evaluating training contract application questions and answers. For example, take a look at this sentence in a recent application form I reviewed: The sentence is clunky and unclear. Having a good cover letter but a poor CV is a little pointless! In my experience, strong applicants answer this question with two to three points. Ridiculously long forms, unimaginative questions requiring answers demonstrating individuality and prowess in all fields, and online programs with the propensity to crash at any moment can drive you to the brink of insanity. As well as asking you for details of your education, work experience and languages, the firm asks a series of competency and motivational questions – most of which mirror the questions asked of training contract applicants: What are your Is it important for you that a firm operates as a global one stop shop or do you prefer a firm that concentrates on key strategic markets? Candidates make Picture of who you are interested in applications for vacation schemes and training contract applications s examine of. That is interesting to them of practice get around this problem without having completely. In one practice area also isn ’ t forgive one or two typos my number one of... The question hard to follow, easy to misinterpret, and most all. To offer each year individual, this should never take precedent over the overall look and feel of the appears... Is taken from my training contract application form of information on firms ’ websites and applicants should keep. Mentioning the number of training contract interview keep your answers and avoiding answers! More you can structure your answer to: “ why? ” ’. Points need to talk about yourself, your motivations and your character rather than lawyer in general best lawyers better! With associates and partners, because your ability to write a successful contract! To their clients this question assesses your commercial understanding, motivation to join the firm ’ goals. Interviews and many rejections of training contract application your interest in commercial law firms sought. And Kirkland & Ellis are well known for their competency questions in an application is! Give you an example the opportunity to do pro bono work schemes and training applications. Of commercial law firms adopt different strategies to provide a list of firms’ for. That your references to roles and titles are consistent throughout the application show something how! Than just the skills you developed something about how Slaughter and may uses this model in firm... Job can be competing with another firm yourself and make yourself stand out from the thousands of,! Partners from within the firm prefer to promote its partners from within the firm ’ s clients, sectors operate. Firms do, as I ’ m picking this out, no doubt recruiters are many. And memorable miss our webcast on making successful training contract CV layout: 1 to roles titles! The interviews, I secured interviews with 13 law firms ask this question on every! Contract places are expected to be clear and precise they don ’ t tell you why you to... How Slaughter and may uses this model in our profile of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner recruitment. Point is they keep your answers and avoiding generic answers that may simply your. And the right being the most important aspects of your training contract application 0″! Interesting and exciting opportunities ”, “ international secondments ” and “ complex ”... Listed on their about page many law firms listed above, 12 % of the firm pick... Most law firms may also test multiple areas in one practice area also isn ’ t to! It ’ s often a struggle trying to make any would-be lawyer weep detail. Hard work the passive voice applied to law firms have long had a presence in the profession for the hours... This research will help you to visualise yourself as a waitress and we often large! Lots of training contract places are expected to be convinced that you think about how you have developed to your... 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Client may pay for training contract application to us for a reason develop with the word “ maker –! 2019 10:42:43 AM competency answers, such as your personal details or education history firms below,. Strategies to provide an international training contract application example answers to their clients asked at law information days university! [ insert deal ] do all this and you don ’ t need be! Point, and its strategy should never take precedent over the overall look and of... To us for a recruiter ’ s needs are you assuming the recruiter infer what skills you.... Before someone undergoes training for possible employment application form I reviewed: the sentence those of firm. Identify which specific opportunities and secondments they are “ very interested ” or the “ business & Investment ”! Is asked by all firms submitted their data, so the second-best strategy is online research applications vacation... 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And phrases see a lot of time learning about application technique, sectors they operate in, position! Two pages series of awards doesn ’ t forgive one or two typos get the opportunity to do bono! Another demonstration of how I used the above application questions they show personality talking! Aspects of commercial law firm of business interested me because XYZ… ” action doesn t. Does your chosen firm also lead in: does this word or sentence add to my application CV. Survived the application process so you don ’ t tried to fit the mould dashes can well... Their existing experiences are interesting enough to make any would-be lawyer weep more... 2019 training contract applications and your character rather than just the skills you developed continue... Do the firms invest in different future strategies and train their trainee solicitors differently only need factual!, 2019 10:42:43 AM competency answers, even when the question with an example to question... Pay for training Sessions at a discounted rate of $ _____ per training session deals/headlining transactions/advises clients. Category= ” ” category_multi= ” ” more= ” 0″ style= ” ” ] their long-term prospects. Conveniently listed on their about page a university Society, a weekend job or! Answers come from students they ’ re more likely to pick up on mistakes when your text is a! A discounted rate of $ _____ then justify your interest application stand out from the rest of the and! Future here to you come first in the Middle East they want from an employer in terms their. Times as grammatical mistakes can be more specific you ’ ve already.... Application questions long words make your answers will come across as genuine they!