Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co Vacation Scheme 2019

The interview was with a senior associate and a member of the graduate recruitment team. The interview itself was pretty straightforward for the most part…why law, why Clyde & Co and then a lot of competency questions. I was also questioned a lot about why I gravitated towards disputes over transactional work. A lot emphasis was placed on how I prioritised work, how I managed stress and whether I enjoyed working under pressure.

For the commercial question I was simply asked to talk about a news story that interested me. They did ask me how the story would effect the firm and how they would be able to capitalise on those developments, so a good understanding of the firms practice areas and international strategy was key.
The main curveball at the interview was that they gave us a mini case study half-way through without telling us beforehand. It was a pretty typical shipping scenario where a ship caught fire when transporting cargo to the buyer. That’s the rough idea. There are a few finicky bits that I forget. I would keep in mind that Clyde & Co’s bread and butter is insurance litigation so that should naturally be a big focal point of your discussion. I talked about third party cover, trade credit insurance and fire insurance and then identified the parties that would be involved in the different potential disputes. I asked for a pen and paper to do out a diagram which made it much easier to keep track of who’s suing does get a bit confusing otherwise.

In general it was a pretty standard interview. They clearly had a set list of questions which they wanted to ask. Personally, I did find it a bit difficult to build rapport with the interviewers because it was so rigid.

When was your Clyde & Co interview? 

February 2018

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Clyde & Co.

I attended an assessment centre at Clyde & Co’s office in London. There were two slots to choose from (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) on each day for about a week. The day is not long but there are a few different exercises, a ‘meal’ with trainees, a group exercise, a tour of the office, and an interview with a member of HR and a partner.

For me personally I think that the sheer amount of applicants that they interview means that there is little interest taken by most of the people who work there, trainees were not very friendly and the tour consisted of a visit to the canteen (we were not allowed in the office areas). On my group there was 8 of us and quite a few knew grad rec very well which made it seem like less than a fair process. But I know others who interviewed here and did not have the same experience.

What advice would you give to future applicants about the Clyde & Co interview?

The group exercise is similar to most, a negotiation style with 4 applicants advocating for their own project while two members of HR sit in. There was not much time given and within this you must prepare your own pitch and answer written questions in a booklet.

The interview is difficult because it is with HR and a partner, and the format makes it so that the questioning is alternated so you answer a competency style question then a commercial or personal one, so it seems a bit disjointed. I think the interview is the key part of the day, the HR questions are very typical competency style, while the partner questions centre on commercial issues and questions about things you have been involved in.

When was your Clyde & Co interview? 

March 2018

What was it for? 

Summer vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Clyde & Co.

Fee earner interview and group exercise

What advice would you give to future applicants about the Clyde & Co interview?

Interview: rigid – questions read off a sheet. All the usual questions (why us, why commercial law, when did you show X competencies). Would advise candidates to think of examples where they showed teamwork and leadership etc

Group Exercise: Each person given a [Redacted], then had to discuss which of the [Redacted] to give money to. Do not treat it as a competition – no requirement to fight for your own [Redacted], if you think another [Redacted] matches the firm’s ethos (which can be found online, and should maybe be referred to when justifying a [Redacted]). I mentioned that it might be best to choose an international [Redacted], so as to match the firm’s international outlook. I also suggested compromises when people were getting too adamant about their own charity.

NB: Redacted so as to not give away the case study topic in case it’s used in the future.

When was your Clyde & Co interview? 

February 2018

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Clyde & Co.

  • The day involved a group exercise and an interview with a partner and a member of the recruitment team. It will not always be a partner though.
  • It was great, in fact. The firm was among the most welcoming I have ever been to and they only invited a small number of applicants.

What advice would you give to future applicants about the Clyde & Co interview?

First interview:

Group exercise

  • Group exercise: again, very typical, if more commercially focused. We were all given the same material to read and then had to answer some questions on it. As this is a larger than typical -in my experience- group (6-8 people), it becomes more difficult to make your presence known without taking time from other candidates. Make sure you do not speak above someone else, but that you also defend your point of view as far as possible.
  • Interview: among the most rounded I have had. Included basic questions based on the application form and the firm, a news story on which we spent some time -they led the discussion around it mostly- and plenty competency questions. Both the member of the recruitment team and the partner would ask questions, each on the area they were stronger themselves, i.e the partner touched on the news story exclusively.
  • It is really difficult to give more detail here. It is a very generic assessment centre, both in terms of what exercises it includes and the specific tasks you will be asked to complete. Prepare as widely as possible, especially for the interview, and make sure read around some commercial news stories so that you can answer the questions on this part more confidently.

My main advice would be to know why you want to work at an international law firm (rather than a national one) and to show you have an interest in contentious work as most of the firm is litigation based. It would also be advisable to think about why you find insurance/shipping interesting as those are a big focus at Clyde & Co. More generally, I would advise your mentee to be very positive, collaborative and energetic. They are looking for interesting people who have passions outside of work as well as for the law, so think of examples of extra-curricular activities that will make you memorable.

From future trainee, Jazil Eddaikra

Please see below for my tips regarding Clyde & Co Vacation Scheme interview/assessment centre.

Preliminary Point

Before listing the tips, I just want to emphasise that the process/interview structure may well have changed since I completed my AC (Feb 2017). Hopefully the tips are still useful.

AC Structure

Group commercial exercise.
45 min interview with an Associate and member of HR.

Group Exercise 

You will be in a group of approx. 8 candidates.

You will do better if you bring in wider commercial knowledge. Each candidate is given a commercial case study to read through (same for everyone). Everyone will then answer a list of questions relating to the case study. It’s important to understand the economic backdrop – which economies are doing well etc.

You are strongly being assessed on interpersonal skills – LISTEN to the people, nod when they speak (sounds silly but this is important) and refer to other candidates by their names. If someone makes a great point – say “that’s a really good point made by John” and then build on it. At beginning of exercise, volunteer to be the script / keep track of time.


One member of grad recruitment and one associate/senior associate/partner.

Prepare for the ‘classic’ questions, such as ‘why law?’, ‘why Clyde & Co?’ etc. Prepare a commercial news story to talk about (if asked) and ensure you are well versed in the story you mentioned in your application. Try and talk about something interesting/relevant to firm.

Make sure you have numerous examples ready for competency questions. Try to use a different example for each competency question. Examples of competencies they might examine:

– time management/organisation;

– communication;

– conflicting deadlines;

– ability to use initiative / start new tasks;

– teamwork;

– challenging relationship; and

– your strengths and weaknesses.

From my experience, the contents of the interview will vary depending on interviews. Generally, HR will focus on competency questions and the fee earner will ask commercial/legal related questions.

If they press/grill you, stand firm and back yourself (without coming across as aggressive!)

Finally, the most important thing is to come across as enthusiastic throughout the entire AC. Ultimately, they want to hire people who seem genuinely interested and passionate about pursuing a career at Clyde & Co.