Interview experiences for vacation schemes and training contracts. Law firms are sorted alphabetically.

Ashurst Interview

When was your Ashurst interview? 

January 2018

What was it for? 

Ahead with Ashurst (first year scheme)

Please describe the Ashurst interview process.

There were 3 parts to the interview process:

  1. Written exercise – 1 hour to read several articles and formulate an argument where you had to present your ‘findings’ on whether or not a wind farm project should go ahead
  2. Interview with head of HR
  3. Tour of the office with trainee (not assessed)

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Ashurst interview?

The HR interview is very straight forward with typical questions such as why law, why Ashurst. A lot of competency-based questions too such as what is your greatest strength – these types of questions can all be prepared for in advance which is good to know! Just be yourself. At the end of the interview there’s an opportunity to ask questions and it’s good to have one/two questions to show that you are interested in the firm (just don’t ask anything that’s already on their website).

The hardest part of the interview process was the written exercise as there’s not much time to give a detailed evaluation – top tip is to quickly skim through the materials have a clear conclusion and pick 3 or 4 points supporting your view, making sure to use evidence from the articles to back up your points. Right quickly and focus on being succinct.

When was your Ashurst interview? 

February 2018

What was it for? 

First Year Vacation Scheme

Please describe the interview process at Ashurst.

There was a HR interview and a case study exercise. The case study was completed first but was not referred to in the interview. The interview was also followed by a tour of the office with a trainee which was unassessed, but questions could be asked.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Ashurst interview?

The case study was fairly straightforward. It was not particularly legal, requiring mostly commercial awareness. It included a table of profits for a business and articles about the business, requiring advice to be given about business strategy. The interview featured common questions such as ‘why Ashurst?’, ‘why commercial law?’ and ‘tell us about a time you had to overcome a challenge’. Considering answers to these questions is preparation would be a good plan.

When was your Ashurst interview? 

September 2017 and January 2018.

What was it for? 

Winter vacation scheme and training contract

Please describe the interview process at Ashurst.

Written case study, one hour HR interview and office tour by a trainee.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Ashurst interview?

The case study is written and had quite a lot of information so time management is really important, but the content itself wasn’t particularly challenging. I think it would be best to take some time to plan before hand because structure is important. Try and leave time to give a brief proofread.

The HR interview is competency based and was quite structured. As long as you’re well prepared and know yours strengths, weaknesses and experiences well and can sell them convincingly, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. Mine was quite relaxed, and if I got a particularly challenging question I would stop to pause and have a drink of water.

The office tour isn’t assessed apparently. Even if it is, the tour is really relaxed. Ashurst trainees have a reputation for being really friendly so don’t worry about this part.

The winter vacation scheme is only one week so my training contract interview was the following month. It was with two partners, likely to be someone you met during the vac scheme if you did one (e.g. someone from your department). It wasn’t about what I’d done during the scheme as it had been a while ago by this stage. It was very motivation based. It is crucial to know Ashurst really well because they will really push why you prefer them over other firms. They’ll also likely ask you a lot about which other firms you’ve applied to and why. We discussed Brexit in quite a lot of detail.

When was your Ashurst interview? 

N/A

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the Ashurst interview process.

Ashurst’s vacation scheme assessment day is split into two – a case study and an interview with a member of graduate recruitment (unless they have changed this).

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Ashurst interview?

For the case study, I would tell your mentee to brush up on their commercial knowledge. Personally, I found Chris Stoakes’ ‘Know the City’ invaluable to prepare. Also, be aware of the time pressure – you only get 1 hour to write the case study, and it goes by quickly. Be sure to answer the prompt fully, giving both sides of the argument.

Otherwise, for the interview portion of the day, your mentee should prepare the standard motivational questions – why this firm, why commercial law, why be a solicitor. I would also recommend that they look over their own CV and try to match the characteristics asked for by Ashurst when they’re looking at potential employees. These can be found on Ashurst’s graduate recruitment website. I would put special emphasis on the ability to work in a team.

When was your Ashurst interview? 

N/A

What was it for? 

Training Contract

Please describe the Ashurst interview process.

Expect to write business report, have a short interview with HR based around his CV and experiences, and then a longer interview with 2 partners which is more scenario based.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Ashurst interview?

Overall I found the process fairly relaxed compared to other firms. The interviewers are really keen to find out more about your personality, management styles and thought process. Your mentee should prepare to be able to discuss the points raised in his/her application and CV.

The culture at the firm is key: they focus on personality and pride themselves on the social and supportive aspects of the firm.

When was your Ashurst interview? 

October 2018

What was it for? 

Winter Vacation Scheme

Please describe the interview process at Ashurst.

The morning was split into two, firstly I had 60 mins to write a business report. A lady had started a healthy food, dips business, which in its first year did quite well. She now wants to [redacted] further in years 2, and 3. You need to advise on this, and then in year 4 you need to choose between three options and advise on a strategy. You have to address some of the following questions.

• What is the business USP
• Who are the competitors
• What are the threats
• What are the opportunities
• Describe the way UK consumer tastes are changing
• What is the current UK business industry trends
• What is the food industry trends in the UK

Following this there was an interview with a member of graduate recruitment, some of the questions that I can remember included

Why law?
What makes Ashurst different?
What is the best team you worked in, what made it such a good team? Why is that important?
Describe a team that you were in, that was not performing well together, how did you fix it?
When have you had a setback? How did you overcome this setback?
When did you take constructive criticism?
How do you think things will change in that time, what are the challenges currently facing the legal industry, and the wider business world in general?

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Ashurst interview?

I think for the written task just think of the audience, try and do an executive summary at the start. Have headings, and underline these. Watch grammar and punctuation.
The interview is competency based so make sure you’ve got loads of examples prepared for the questions.