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

Jones Day Interview

When was your Jones Day interview? 

January 2017

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Jones Day.

Online application with a very short cover letter followed by an interview with two partners.

Admittedly, this might have been my worst interview experience, but it was also my first so that might explain it. It felt cold and distanced, and the trainee that gave me a tour was clearly not having it – it felt forced and unwelcoming.

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

Jones Day is known for its one-hour competency-based interviews. There were two partners who would ask a whole range of competency questions and just a couple commercial ones towards the end.

Specifically, Jones Day is apparently looking for ‘friendly trainees’ to be good company to partners on business trips rather than a ‘robot’ trainee who’s only expected to do their work (how far this is true throughout the actual training contract I am not sure). Hence, the first thing they will be looking for is an approachable and talkative (but not overly so) trainee. It’s all about the right balance, and given how many candidates they invite to interview the competition to show this will be very fierce. Accordingly, make sure to show them you can hold a conversation without being awkward!

Their training contract, moreover, is unique in that they do not have seats, but allow trainees to do what they like (within reason) and are expected to go looking for their own tasks. Naturally, a great deal of the interview will focus on this aspect – in my case, I was asked whether I had done something which required me to focus on two different aspects simultaneously, something in which I had to show initiative and drive, when I overcame a challenge and the like. I believe the best way to prepare for this is to download a list of competency questions from well-known sites such as chambersstudent and try answering them. Do NOT learn them by heart, just use them to structure and get a feeling of a questions.

The final commercial question varies enormously, as partners each deal with different practice areas. I was asked how Jones Day might be involved in a M&A deal (which I found very generic), as well as what I would invest £10m in – clearly meant to catch people off-guard. From what I gathered, this was less so to test your knowledge and more so to see how you’d react to an unforeseen question, as might happen throughout your training contract with clients and/or partners.

Generally, as cliche as this is, my advice would be to truly be yourself – if you pretend to be someone you’re not you will not enjoy this particular firm and its training structure. So, be yourself, be respectful, and answer any questions honestly, politely and above all with enthusiasm.

When was your Jones Day interview? 

November 2016

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme and TC

Please describe the interview process at Jones Day.

The Jones Day interview is centred around your personality. I was asked some typical questions, such as why law, or why Jones Day, and I was frequently challenged on the answers I gave. I was also asked about my motivations and how I tackled challenging or mundane tasks. I was also asked about the Jones Day training style and why I felt I would be a good fit for the firm.

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

For Jones Day, the best advice is to be sincere. They will catch you out quickly if your answers are disingenuous as they are keen to challenge individuals to bring out the best in them. Do not cave under pressure and be prepared to play your own role to guide the interview. I stood out for my relaxed demeanour and I was comfortable talking about anything, from the breakfast I had in the morning to my exam grades in my first year of university.

When was your Jones Day interview? 

April 2016

What was it for? 

Vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Jones Day.

I arrived and saw no other applicants for the entire time I was there. I was called in for an interview with two partners. This interview mainly covered all of the main things. First there were questions about motivation, then there was some stuff on commercial awareness, recent issues etc., and then a couple of questions on competencies, and then some questions about what is good and bad about their assessment process, how is it different from other firms, how it could be improved. I felt quite intimidated throughout the whole process.

Then a trainee came in and took me to reimburse my expenses, give me a tour of the office and answer any questions I had.

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

They really look at your application and interests, and saw that I am involved with a lot of music activities. They really pushed me on why I wanted a career in law if I could guarantee a successful career in music, and I wasn’t really prepared to respond properly. I was a bit flustered and then I didn’t respond well to questions about why I love commercial law. Be really prepared on your motivation for the career. I had a lot prepared on why Jones Day but they didn’t really ask much about that.

It seems that their tactic in interviews is to really push you and try to get you on the back foot to see how you react, so try to remain calm at all times and confident in your answers, even if they question them and speak with a lot of authority with contrary views, or doubt that you really are committed to commercial law. Make sure you know why you applied to the firms that you did, and really get to know about the different types of firms and what each type can offer you.

Don’t be intimidated!

Jones Day Interview 2018

When was your Jones Day interview? 

November 2018

What was it for? 

Winter vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Jones Day.

Interview by two partners. Very informal and laid back, focussed on your application and your experiences with some competency questions.

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

Know your application really well. I suggest looking at it in detail and think of the questions they might come up with. Just because it is less formal than an AC, do not make the mistake of being too casual – but do let your personality shine!

When was your Jones Day interview? 

Not given – assuming Nov 2018.

What was it for? 

Spring vacation scheme

Please describe the interview process at Jones Day.

It was a surprisingly informal interview, more like a conversation between myself, the partner and a member of the graduate recruitment team. They were interested in the modules that I had chosen, the extracurricular activities that I was part of. There was one commercial question at the end, but they did not push me to answer any technical questions – they seemed genuinely interested in how I felt about the issue and allowed me to direct most of the interview in a way that I felt comfortable with.

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

There is not as much need to prep in terms of commercial awareness as the interview is more competency based. I would learn your CV inside out, and be prepared to answer any questions to do with the subjects you are currently studying.

Anonymous:

My interview with Jones day was with two partners and lasted about 40 minutes. They were very friendly and really let you lead the conversation to where you wanted it to go. Nothing really came up that I wasn’t expecting, but they did grill me on what I said. I would suggest getting a friend to mock interview you and push everything you say so that you are prepared to defend yourself.

They really pushed me on my “Why Jones Day?” answer. I made sure that I could talk about a logical path that I took before I decided on Jones Day – began with international presence, high profile M&A work and then discussed their culture – each time discussing similar firms and why I preferred Jones Day.

They also really pushed me on why commercial law and they asked for a business news story that I found interesting. For this point I would say use something genuinely recent that you have genuinely found interesting – they might not believe you if it is too technical and it is unlikely to spur on an interesting conversation. You can link almost anything to a law firm – it doesn’t have to be too obvious.

They also asked me which departments would be involved in a typical transaction, why I choose to do much work experience that wasn’t legal, what would be the negatives of working at the firmwhere I saw myself in 10 yearswhat my working style wasan example of when I had gone beyond what was expected of me, and which kind of work appealed to me most. If you can, I would prep 2/3 commercial topics that you find interesting and try to bring them up. They were really keen to hear about what I found interesting and seemed impressed when I brought them into my answers for the more typical questions.