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

Cleary Gottlieb Interview

When was your Cleary Gottlieb interview? 

January 2018

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Cleary Gottlieb.

The entirety of the firm’s assessment process consisted of a CV/Cover Letter and an assessment day.

The assessment day was certainly tough, insofar as it lasted a good 5 hours and involved an interview and two exercises, a negotiation and a group-work one.

I felt a lot of pressure towards the end as we were not given any break in between the two exercises. The assessment material itself was rigorous and at times very tricky but I still believe it was great fun and gave us a fair shot at showing our skills.

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

Regarding the interview, the key thing is to be very up-to-date with current affairs in the business world, including how it works. I was asked pretty ‘specialised’ if I may say so questions, i.e how might a bank advise a client on how to fund something (so, both the bank AND their client come to play), including the advantages and disadvantages of each method. So, if anyone wants to succeed here, they MUST know what a law firm might do, they’ll be expecting you to have done your research.

Beyond this, make sure you’ve read your CV and cover letter well and be prepared to explain anything on it succinctly and persuasively. For example, I was asked to describe a module of mine (Law and Economics) and what it involved. I was caught off-guard given that I could not use academic/economics terms to explain what it involved (they couldn’t be expected to know what they meant) – make sure you do not make the same mistakes.

I also know some others had a case study to read.

Regarding the competition negotiation exercise, well, hopefully you’ll have done some competition law, but if not make sure you get the basic idea of it. They say you don’t need to but it really would confer a material advantage. Our case study revolved around the food delivery companies, i.e deliveroo, ubereats etc.

Finally, re. the group exercise, it’s your typical sports star who needs you to get the best deal for them. This is pretty standard, do not interrupt others, DO listen to them and engage, do not just throw random stuff around, and learn to concede some points – do not let time run out because you personally cannot accept a point.

My assessment day involved a short interview, a negotiation session (you will be put in a team with other participants) and also a group presentation on a competition scenario.

I would recommend researching the firm to be prepared to explain why he/she would like to work at Cleary in the interview and making sure to work well with the team mates in the group Assessment she is assigned.

My advice would be to really get a feel about what cleary is all about. Chambers student has a great insight, and there’s lots to read on the firm’s website. Your mentee would need to know why he or she wanted to work in an international firm over a national firm and why the culture at cleary would suit them (lockstep, non departmentalised). Finally I’d say to go for it! In my experience everyone at cleary has been friendly and accommodating – hope that helps

I think in general just researching what sets Cleary apart from other firms and why you would therefore be well-suited to their work and working culture etc. They’re also interested in what makes you stand out as an individual, and what character strengths you can bring to them!