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

Simmons & Simmons Interview

When was your Simmons & Simmons interview? 

November 2017

What was it for? 

Winter Vacation Scheme

Please describe the interview process at Simmons & Simmons.

Simmons and Simmons has the most complicated application process of any firm I have applied to. In addition to numerous (I think three) pre interview tests, the assessment centre itself consisted of several different exercises.

Firstly there was a written exercise which was about advising on a [redacted] change for the firm’s office. We were given a booklet containing all the possible options and asked to advise which would be the best choice.

Secondly I had a situational judgment interview with one associate and one HR employee. This was a strange exercise which consisted of me being read out a situation I might be faced with as a trainee and then I was asked to explain how I might respond to it. The interviewers were helpful in mentioning things so that I wouldn’t miss anything out or if I ran out of things to say.

The third part of the assessment centre was a partner interview and document analysis. I think this interview lasted around 45mins and I was given a contract to analyse beforehand. I think the contract was some sort of service agreement between the firm and [redacted]. In the first half of the interview I was asked to explain what the contract was about and then was asked specific questions about what each parties’ liabilities were in certain situations and at what points liability was triggered under the contract. I quite enjoyed this part of the assessment centre, but the interviewer was clearly just ticking yes or no boxes in responses to my answers so that made it feel a bit superficial. The last half of this interview was a discussion of why I wanted to work for the firm and some competency questions- standard things.

*redacted specific information.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Simmons & Simmons interview?

For the written exercise, being mindful of the time is very important, I also think I spent too long weighing up all the options instead of focusing on why the suggestion I was arguing for was the best.

For the situational judgment interview, I was nudged a few times for the interviewer for forgetting to say that I would get work checked by a superior before sending on to clients so don’t forget to mention that.

For the contract analysis, in your prep time make sure you’re thinking about which party is assuming responsibility for what before you go in.

When was your Simmons & Simmons interview? 

November 2015

What was it for? 

Vacation Scheme

Please describe the interview process at Simmons & Simmons.

I was prepared for the interview thanks to the support of one of the diversity organisation. This helped me to prepare for the relevant areas, although the assessment centre was still quite tough.

The interview was split between a case study (contract analysis) and competency questions. For the case study, we were given a short amount of time to read through a large document. A lot of the questions were based on joint ventures, their purpose, the consequences of a break up and liability issues. This was difficult, but you were allowed to read back through the document during the interview to answer the questions. In all honesty, I think it was unfair for them to choose such a difficult commercial topic which students won’t really understand and this is coming from someone who knew some of the key areas to prepare for in advance. I know it’s supposed to be testing your thought process, but it seemed unfair to push about the technicalities of a joint venture break up provision as some students – like those on the LPC – would be better able to answer this.

The group exercise involved us splitting into two groups and discussing an area that Simmons & Simmons should look into. We were given material to back up our assertions. We then had to form a conclusion and discuss it with the rest of the group, coming to a consensus if the areas were different. Finally, we then pitched to the interviewers (there were a few around the room).

The written exercise was quite straightforward. You had one hour to write and all the relevant information was in the document.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Simmons & Simmons interview?

The case study topic has probably changed by now but even then (as you can probably tell!) I wouldn’t class joint ventures under straightforward commercial awareness. There are things I would recommend in the interview though. It helps to mark up/highlight areas that seem important so you can flick back to it at interview, ask the interviewer to clarify if you need to and tell the interviewer you don’t know if you don’t – otherwise it’s obvious when you’re waffling!

The competency interview was only a few questions. You should have clear reasons why Simmons (e.g. talk about their sector focus) and also be prepared to justify why you are interested in the firm if you have other interviews upcoming.

For the group exercise, when we broke off into discussions, one of my team members was determined to justify a particular area for Simmons & Simmons to invest in, even though it was an odd choice for a commercial law firm. Since we were allowed to come back with two, I was able to focus on my topic and let her pitch hers. Leaving it up to the interviewers to decide ended up being the better approach so I would recommend this if you get a difficult character in your group session.

For the written, I don’t think you can prepare. Just focus on getting it done within the time limit (even if you have to finish up early). I think it’s better to submit a decent finished answer than an incomplete one.

When was your Simmons & Simmons interview? 

November 2017

What was it for? 

Vacation Scheme (Winter)

Please describe the interview process at Simmons & Simmons.

The day was split into three assessments. For me, the first of these was the case study and interview with a Partner. The case study involved reading documents related to a transaction for sale of services. The interviewer clearly has some questions to ask, and chose different ones seemingly at random. The questions could be answered by looking at the documents and understanding them. There were also questions at the beginning about the general transaction and whether I understood what it was generally about, whether I understood what each bit of the documents was about, ie liabilities, undertakings etc. I had to pretend to be giving advice to a client. It seemed like I was given points out of five depending on each answer. After that, I was asked about motivation for commercial law, compared with other careers, why Simmons, and a couple of competency questions.

The second exercise for me was a written exercise. We had three potential new offices for Simmons to move to, with a page or two from a ‘brochure’ for each which included details about capacity, cost, benefits etc. We had to compile a memo to compare the offices and make a recommendation as to which was best. This was typed.

Then two trainees took the group of us for lunch in the office cafe, and we discussed questions we had, what it was like at the firm, all very informal and informative.

The final exercise was a group exercise. We were told to individually think about ideas for new areas for Simmons to focus on in the future. Then we were split into two groups to come up with two ideas to agree upon, with an assessor each to judge how we coped in the group. Then the two groups came together and we had to agree on one idea as a big group.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Simmons & Simmons interview?

Try to understand what will be involved in a transaction, think about what risks there might be, what is usual in terms of liabilities. It’s difficult to prepare properly for the document exercise though, so just try to read them as well as possible but also quickly; I ran out of time just before the end. Prepare commercial topics to discuss, think about your competencies.

Try to structure the written exercise well, but make sure you correctly identify the costs of the offices, and other key data, as mistakes will be worse than not enough information. It doesn’t matter too much which option you recommend so long as you explain why.

Be cordial in the group exercise, and make sure to contribute your own ideas while supporting other people as well. Don’t be afraid to speak out and disagree with other people, but don’t be hostile. Prepare by thinking about the emerging areas of law, show that you’re up to date with commercial issues, stay on top of the news.

Anonymous –

First off, the whole partner interview is really based on luck.

The other interviewees had smiling partners but mine was this guy who looked super unhappy to be there.

Secondly, the case study is a contract. It seems like they don’t care about your views or how you analyse, all they are looking for is for you to say the correct answer on their sheet and then they will make some markings on it. So my partner would literally cut me off when i gave him the answer he wanted. They just want u to tell them what they want to hear. He also got super impatient when i didn’t manage to find the correct clause and stuff. Also they didn’t really ask me competency questions. At the end of drilling me about the contract, he asked me what skills can you bring and why simmons together. When i got to skills i said i was an entrepreneur and had experience dealing with clients. He then grilled me about that and i didn’t even get a chance to answer why simmons & simmons cos then he just didnt care to ask anymore and asked me another question instead.

I would say the only great part about the whole ac is the written exercise which wasn’t that hard.

But overall i got many of the contract answers wrong and i am absolutely certain i can kiss any chance with simmons goodbye.

Overall, i felt the interview was really impersonal and they don’t care about you as a person. The partner didn’t even ask me any icebreakers. Just got straight to the point about the contract even whilst we were walking to the room.

The group interview was bad.
It consisted of 3 parts.
One part was u had 5 mins to quickly think which countries you want,

And then you were split into 2 groups of 3 to discuss 15mins. During the discussion the girl who dominated everything was from Cambridge and her ideas were actually really sound and good. So we went with her idea and the other girls idea. And then we agreed what we were going to say each.

Then we went back and discussed as a big group. But the two of them decided to say stuff that we agreed i would say. And they repeated alot of things that i said at the small group meeting and passed it off as theirs. For instance i said i didn’t think Malaysia was viable cos they already have Singapore and the two countries are very close. And she repeated this during the big discussion and passed it off as her own.

Not gonna lie, out of the 6 candidates i think 2 people were actually really really nice Like i don’t think the Cambridge girl meant to do that to me or had many mean thoughts. Its just that she was definitely a better and very strong candidate. Which sucks if you’re not as good. ‍♀️