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

Burges Salmon Interview

When was your Burges Salmon interview? 

January 2018

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Burges Salmon.

There was an assessment day at their office in Bristol. It was the longest assessment centre that I have attended, and there were quite a few applications (maybe 30) we were split into groups of 4 with a trainee buddy to take us around for the day. There was a presentation on the firm, a group exercise, a critical thinking test, and an interview with a partner.

What advice would you give to future applicants about the Burges Salmon interview?

I think that the interview with the partner is the most important part of the day. It lasts 30mins and most of the questions are incredibly predictable. For example, ‘why this firm’ and general questions on your experience listed in the initial application. Be prepared to talk a lot about what you wrote as there are some longer essay style questions in the application. The group exercise is not too tasking, but remember that the biggest aim is to appear like you work extremely well in a team. Definitely don’t talk over people or be in any way aggressive, as that doesn’t fit at all with the ethos of the firm. Similarly, being too quiet is also undesirable. They stated that the critical thinking test has little weighting on the outcome, so I wouldn’t worry about this. Overall, I think the most important thing at this firm, if you have the grades and experience, is to be a friendly person, seem enthusiastic, and be quite outgoing. At this firm I have not met anyone who is not genuinely friendly, so though it seems like a long and stressful day, it was not a negative experience.

When was your Burges Salmon interview? 

February 2018

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Burges Salmon.

I was invited to attend the assessment centre at the firm’s office in Bristol. The programme for the day was to start with an introduction to the firm, a group exercise, an opportunity to meet current trainees who showed us around and answered questions, and interviews. For the group exercise, we were split into groups of four and had to present on several issues to two recruiters. The group exercise focused on negotiation skills. As in any group exercise, you are expected to perform together, but you must also shine in your own right without being too intrusive on the other participants. The interview with the partner was not long. I was asked questions such as what motivated me to a career in law, what drives me in general. It did not feel like a very formal interview. I was then interviewed by a recruitment partner and member of the human resources team. This interview was more structured and formal, asking me questions on why I had chosen Burges Salmon, what relevant work experiences I had and how they would help me at Burges Salmon. Overall, the experience was pleasant. People were friendly.

What advice would you give to future applicants about the Burges Salmon interview?

For the group exercise, learn how to stand out without taking too much space. This balance can be hard to maintain in group exercises. As for the interview with the partner, make sure that you prepare questions to ask the partner. As the interview is more of a discussion, you could ask them about their work and interests, and why they like about working for Burges Salmon. As for the interview with the recruitment partner, you should be up to date on your knowledge about the legal world. You should research the firm, what they do and any recent cases they have been involved in. At the same time, you should be yourself and take your time when answering the questions. I would advise you to take your time to think and organise your answers before giving them. This will not only enable you to provide a well-structured answer of high quality, but it will also show the recruitment partner that you have thought about your answer.

When was your Burges Salmon interview? 

February 2018

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Burges Salmon.

-Detailed application form followed by an assessment centre. If successful, you are invited to a final interview, either at the end of the vac scheme or directly if applying for a TC.

-The application form was long and varied in terms of the questions but the space given was very limiting. The interview itself was nice but involved too many people in my opinion.

What advice would you give to future applicants about the Burges Salmon interview?

First interview involves:
-Psychometric testing (critical thinking test)
-Group exercise
-Interview with ONE partner

-Critical thinking test: this is similar to the critical reasoning tests used by many firms. You should prepare like you would for a pre-assessment day test at home.

-Group exercise: unlike the general vibe of the day, this felt as too small – only four people participate in each exercise. I believe this is the easiest part of the day, make sure you let others speak their mind and do not dominate. Do participate as much as you can, however, since clearly they were not simply checking whether we got along with others, but also whether what we said did in fact contribute to the discussion. They were very much interested in ‘originality’.

-Partner interview: certainly the toughest, and most important, part of the day. It lasted around 30-40 minutes, and centred on competencies and the questions on the application form. As Burges Salmon sees itself as the top commercial firm outside London, you can expect to be asked a few things on this, including more intuitive questions on what the firm should do to further increase its calibre. These are all aspects which are touched by the questions on the application form! As they are a smaller firm compared to their London peers, they really do (!) have certain qualities that they are looking for – check out their website for a description and keep those in mind throughout the day.

-Prepare as you would for any assessment centre. It will not involve anything surprising but it is a long day for sure.

Second interview (for the TC):
-I did not attend this as I had already accepted an offer elsewhere. However, I know it is your typical exit interview with a partner and a member of the recruitment team. This will vary depending on whether you attend a vacation scheme or not.