Interview experiences for vacation schemes and training contracts. Law firms are sorted alphabetically.
I believe my partner interview was a tad different because most of the experiences on my CV have been in NGO and journalism. The first question I got asked was why law, Norton Rose Fulbright and why commercial law (all in one). The conversation kind of kicked off from here. They asked me why I was not interested in politics and journalism. They also asked me whether I had stopped having/pursuing an interest in journalism, politics and Human rights law (I had worked at [redacted]) or whether it was something that I continued.
My why Norton Rose Fulbright answer focused on Emerging markets so I got asked what I would do if I started my career at Norton Rose Fulbright and all I did was purely domestic work. I also got asked what I think Norton Rose Fulbright should consider if it were to move into an emerging market. I used Nigeria as an example and from this example, they asked me whether they should move into Nigeria. After this, they asked me whether it was possible I will leave them for an African firm (kind of like why London if you are so interested in Africa). I also got asked what made Norton Rose Fulbright different from other firms I had applied to and where I see myself in the future.
Part of my interview answers included talking about the opportunity I had to interact with people at Norton Rose Fulbright, so I got asked whether there was an Norton Rose Fulbright type and what they (the trainees I met) had described their experience at Norton Rose Fulbright. I also got asked what type of character I noticed from the people I spoke to. They also asked me whether I was prepared to do the less stimulating work.
They asked me what I thought bothered them at the moment. So, I mentioned increasing competition for clients and Trump’s trade war. Most of the discussion focused on Trump’s trade war and my answer got scrutinized closely. They narrowed down on my statements such as “demand for risk management services will increase as a result of the trade war” and asked what I meant by that statement and how I thought risk management will work supposing Trump made an opportunity a client wanted to exploit illegal. They also asked me how I thought the trade war was going to end/whether I thought it was going to end well.
I also got asked what I felt was my greatest weakness, I gave being too detailed, so they said that’s not too bad a weakness and asked me for another weakness. After this, they asked me which kind of team member I dislike working with, what I felt the job of a trainee was, and considering I had such an interest in NGO work how will I handle a scenario if where I was asked to work for a client I did not necessarily agree with. They then asked me one SJT about what how I will handle being asked to take up extra work late in the day or something like that.
From my experience, I think you should have answers that prove you are certain you have an interest in commercial law and if you have dabbled in something else before a deciding on a career in CL have an answer on why you are not more chasing the alternative. I also think compared to my interviews at Skadden and Slaughter and May, Norton Rose is very commercial heavy and I was not expecting to be asked which country NRF should invest.
I think one thing I did that helped me was learning some key industry factors and tying them into my answers. So like when I said NRF was forward-looking by investing in Emerging Markets and Renewable Energy where they now have Tier One capabilities, I also said RE is supposed to take in 8 trillion in investment by 2050 and only a firm like NRF that has already secured high-level mandates like financing the building Serbia’s biggest RE farm (I think) will be at the forefront of capitalising on the surge in investment (in a more elaborate way though). I also knew somethings about Nigeria’s economic prospects which made discussing whether NRF should move into Nigeria very easy.
They kept a poker face but I think they were lowkey impressed. Just avoid making your answers too long by trying to add too much commercial info and this tactic may help! Also, get ready for any follow up questions like whether you are interested in RE and what you feel are they challenges facing the RE industry (I did not get asked pheww). Key advice: Be able to answer any follow-up question on what you mention.