2020-21 Vacation Scheme Applications Discussion

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SamTam99

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Jan 5, 2021
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Tbh, the VI was actually alright although some questions were quite specific. Spoiler alert: you can’t cheat at all in the assessment or even get help 😂😂 bc they’re recording you on your webcam the entire time
You’re joking, as if they record you doing the tests 🤣 I feel like I always look a hot mess when taking assessments!

Would you mind saying what the timings were like for the VI?
 

Kola

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Sep 27, 2020
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Hi guys, could use some help especially from some of the trainees on this forum. What are the differences between final stage training contract interviews and final stage vacation scheme interviews? For trainees who were successful during their vacation scheme, what questions did you get asked during your training contract interview and what advice would you give to prepare for them?

Are the questions the same? Are they harder? Do they ask certain questions that they wouldn't ask people applying to a Vac Scheme?

I'd be extremely grateful for all answers, but if there is anyone out there with specific experiences relating to American firms, that would be perfect!
 

Celestie

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  • Nov 14, 2020
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    Hi guys, could use some help especially from some of the trainees on this forum. What are the differences between final stage training contract interviews and final stage vacation scheme interviews? For trainees who were successful during their vacation scheme, what questions did you get asked during your training contract interview and what advice would you give to prepare for them?

    Are the questions the same? Are they harder? Do they ask certain questions that they wouldn't ask people applying to a Vac Scheme?

    I'd be extremely grateful for all answers, but if there is anyone out there with specific experiences relating to American firms, that would be perfect!
    If you don't mind, please @ me if you get any replies - thank u
     
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    GK8997

    Legendary Member
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    Sep 25, 2020
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    Hi guys, could use some help especially from some of the trainees on this forum. What are the differences between final stage training contract interviews and final stage vacation scheme interviews? For trainees who were successful during their vacation scheme, what questions did you get asked during your training contract interview and what advice would you give to prepare for them?

    Are the questions the same? Are they harder? Do they ask certain questions that they wouldn't ask people applying to a Vac Scheme?

    I'd be extremely grateful for all answers, but if there is anyone out there with specific experiences relating to American firms, that would be perfect!
    Heya, so I can't speak for American firms as I am yet to do my VS but last year I found that in a TC interview they expect you to be more introspective/ reflective- they normally ask you about your experience on the VS/ what you enjoyed/ what you learned/ what you took away from it. I also got asked quite a few situational judgement questions regarding what I would do as a trainee if a particular situation arose and also slightly more random questions like 'is the prestige of being partner the main reason you'd want to be a partner in the future' but I think they were basically just trying to test how I respond to unexpected situations under pressure.
     
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    John Travoni

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    Jan 14, 2021
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    You’re joking, as if they record you doing the tests 🤣 I feel like I always look a hot mess when taking assessments!

    Would you mind saying what the timings were like for the VI?
    No, I’m being totally serious. The moment you finish registering your details, your webcam is on and they are monitoring you and recording you the entire time, from you doing the SJT to then doing the VI.
    For the VI, you had a 2 mins video to record your answers. You have unlimited prep time.
     

    anxiouslawyer

    Esteemed Member
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    Feb 26, 2021
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    HSF Summer VS offer - so excited!!!
    Congrats!!! May I know when did you do your AC? I'm still waiting to hear back - I did mine last Thursday

    On a separate note - rejection from Freshfields post-app 😝 I applied for direct TC since I'm working at the moment. Kinda bummed as I attended quite a few of their graduate recruitment events and was quite keen on the firm, but oh well.

    Tbh none of my direct TC applications have had any success this year :/
     
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    LEL

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    Jul 22, 2020
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    Feeling a bit lost on how to fully prepare for my AC - when do I know I’ve prepped enough 😩
    Hey, I would prepare the usual why law why the firm, and then competency, commercial questions and questions about the firm too. This is the usual headings structure I follow. Also be sure to prepare anything else you've seen from past interviews on here!

    In all honesty, I found the less you prepare the better. I was unsuccessful in an interview I prepared for the 3+ weeks, and successful in one I had only 4 days to prepare for. I think it's about finding the right balance.

    Best of luck!
     
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    Lumree

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  • Jan 17, 2019
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    Tbh, the VI was actually alright although some questions were quite specific. Spoiler alert: you can’t cheat at all in the assessment or even get help 😂😂 bc they’re recording you on your webcam the entire time
    I wonder how many people they invited to this stage? Sounds like a lot of work for them to watch a 45 minute video of me internally panicking
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    bit of an odd one, but any ideas as to what to wear for a feedback call with grad rec? assumed it was going to be a phone call but have had an email with a teams link
    As long as it looks like you haven’t just got out of bed, it really won’t matter.
     

    Jaysen

    Founder, TCLA
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  • Feb 17, 2018
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    Hey guys,

    This is just a friendly reminder to be vigilant of anyone sending you a private message. Unless you know them personally, I would encourage you to be wary of the information you share, particularly if the person is asking for something very specific, makes comments that make you feel uncomfortable, or hints at meeting up before you know them well.

    This doesn't apply to 99% of TCLA members, but we do receive occasional reports about particular users.

    Jess and I will continue to make sure we're warning/restricting/banning any users who don't follow these guidelines, but I just want everyone to know that it's completely okay not to respond to someone via private message or shut them down if they are asking for something that makes you feel uncomfortable. If someone does, please don't hesitate to message one of us or hit the report button.

    Best,

    Jaysen
    A fresh reminder of this ^

    We just had a user (User 1) who reached out to another user (User 2) asking about interview questions for a particular firm. User 1 pretended to have also interviewed at that firm, making it seem as if they were just asking about the toughest questions that User 2 was asked.

    Thankfully, User 2 didn't give anything away and reported the user. User 1 later admitted they actually had their interview the next day and they were prying for interview questions.
     

    Dheepa

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  • Jan 20, 2019
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    Hi guys, could use some help especially from some of the trainees on this forum. What are the differences between final stage training contract interviews and final stage vacation scheme interviews? For trainees who were successful during their vacation scheme, what questions did you get asked during your training contract interview and what advice would you give to prepare for them?

    Are the questions the same? Are they harder? Do they ask certain questions that they wouldn't ask people applying to a Vac Scheme?

    I'd be extremely grateful for all answers, but if there is anyone out there with specific experiences relating to American firms, that would be perfect!
    You are right to say that there are generally two directions it can go in
    1. Reflective questions
    2. Typical competency and motivational questions similar to anything you could get asked in a VS interview.
    For reflective style interviews, the best thing you can do to prepare is having a very comprehensive work diary throughout the scheme. So keeping track of all the work you’ve done during the scheme and all the conversations you’ve had with people. You would need to draw on all this to answer questions like
    1. What work have you completed? - Pick a few highlights and expand on why you found them interesting
    2. Can you give me some more background on the task? - This is the where you’d need to demonstrate that you understood the wider context, what the client wanted, the role your piece of work would have had
    3. What task was the most challenging and why? - This is why I always recommend asking for feedback on tasks because it makes answering this question easier.
    4. What task did you find the most boring and why?
    5. What do you think could have gone better during the week? What areas could you improve on?
    6. How did working with your teammates go on the group task? Were there any issues in working together, how did you overcome them?
    7. How did you find adapting to working from home? - Only including this because I remember being asked this and being pushed on my answer a lot and feeling very confused afterwards as to why. I’d suggest highlighting the good and the bad and framing your answer in a way that shows you’re happy to work in both environment.
    8. How did you enjoy your time at the firm? - Think of this as a why this firm question but make sure your answer emphasises the things you’ve learnt about the firm while on the vac. You could also discuss stereotypes about the firm and why you don’t think it’s true. “I heard XYZ things about the firm before the vac, and I was pleasantly surprised that ...”
    For motivational/competency based interviews, any prep you’ve already done for a VS AC will be more than enough. Similar to what I’ve said above, just make sure to update your why this firm answer so it includes experiences from your VS. Be prepared to be pushed harder on your answers as well. I don’t think the kind of questions you get asked are tougher, it’s just that they expect more from you and your answers. To give you an example, one firm I interviewed at asked me a straightforward question on why commercial law. They then spent 15 minutes pushing me on this answer, in ways I’d never encountered in a VS interview.

    To answer your question on American firms specifically, the TC interview I had with an American firm was focused on motivational and competency questions. Take this with a grain of salt but I think that because schemes are virtual now, you don't get involved in as much live work and both you and the firm have less time to assess whether it is a right fit . This means that a lot more emphasis is placed on exit interviews as an additional form of assessment and an additional way to assess the fit and any other qualities. So I think that motivational/competency interviews are more likely than purely reflective ones. The one interview I had which was purely reflective was with a firm that did get us involved in a lot of live work so I think there was more scope to ask the questions I listed above.

    Hope that helps!
     
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    Kola

    Legendary Member
    Sep 27, 2020
    125
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    You are right to say that there are generally two directions it can go in

    1. Reflective questions
    2. Typical competency and motivational questions similar to anything you could get asked in a VS interview.

    For reflective style interviews, the best thing you can do to prepare is having a very comprehensive work diary throughout the scheme. So keeping track of all the work you’ve done during the scheme and all the conversations you’ve had with people. You would need to draw on all this to answer questions like

    1. What work have you completed? - Pick a few highlights and expand on why you found them interesting
    2. Can you give me some more background on the task? - This is the where you’d need to demonstrate that you understood the wider context, what the client wanted, the role your piece of work would have had
    2. What task was the most challenging and why? - This is why I always recommend asking for feedback on tasks because it makes answering this question easier.
    3. What task did you find the most boring and why?
    4. What do you think could have gone better during the week? What areas could you improve on?
    5. How did working with your teammates go on the group task? Were there any issues in working together, how did you overcome them?
    6. How did you find adapting to working from home? - Only including this because I remember being asked this and being pushed on my answer a lot and feeling very confused afterwards as to why. I’d suggest highlighting the good and the bad and framing your answer in a way that shows you’re happy to work in both environment.
    7. How did you enjoy your time at the firm? - Think of this as a why this firm question but make sure your answer emphasises the things you’ve learnt about the firm while on the vac. You could also discuss stereotypes about the firm and why you don’t think it’s true. “I heard XYZ things about the firm before the vac, and I was pleasantly surprised that ...”

    For motivational/competency based interviews, any prep you’ve already done for a VS AC will be more than enough. Similar to what I’ve said above, just make sure to update your why this firm answer so it includes experiences from your VS. Be prepared to be pushed harder on your answers as well. I don’t think the kind of questions you get asked are tougher, it’s just that they expect more from you and your answers. To give you an example, one firm I interviewed at asked me a straightforward question on why commercial law. They then spent 15 minutes pushing me on this answer, in ways I’d never encountered in a VS interview.

    To answer your question on American firms specifically, the TC interview I had with an American firm was focused on motivational and competency questions. Take this with a grain of salt but I think that because schemes are virtual now, you don't get involved in as much live work and both you and the firm have less time to assess whether it is a right fit . This means that a lot more emphasis is placed on exit interviews as an additional form of assessment and an additional way to assess the fit and any other qualities. So I think that motivational/competency interviews are more likely than purely reflective ones. The one interview I had which was purely reflective was with a firm that did get us involved in a lot of live work so I think there was more scope to ask the questions I listed above.

    Hope that helps!

    Thank you, that's great.

    The rather unusual, yet somewhat fortunate position I am in is that a firm I applied to for a VS has accelerated my application towards a direct TC interview. So, I've not actually done the VS, nor do I have any other prior work experience that is legally related. In this scenario, do you think the interview will be much more like a general VS interview with, as you said, more emphasis on digging deeper?

    Also, how would you answer the following question: "you have no legal work experience, why should we hire you over other candidates that have"?
     

    S87

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    Sep 4, 2018
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    Wondering if anyone can shed any light on what's happening to me rn...

    Back in December I was invited to an AC with a large firm and my only option was to book it for March. It was in fact supposed to be today. I've been waiting since then. A couple of weeks ago I got into contact with GR to sort out my reasonable adjustments. They called me, but said that due to internal reasons they couldn't hold any ACs during the week starting 1 March and mine would have to be rescheduled to the end of the month, which wouldn't affect my app. I was like alright but chatting to people on here I've since found out they ARE running ACs this week, including the one today, but for some reason have moved me out of it?? And I've had no contact with GR since they suggested the end of the month date. I've emailed but they haven't confirmed the day or time. Does anyone have any idea why this has happened? If it's just because they want to move me to a separate AC because of my adjustments I don't understand why they would lie and say none are going on this week.
    I am really sorry that this happened to you. I am someone who needs reasonable adjustments too so I understand how hard it was to make this kind of request. Try to stay calm, get the necessary information and when you get the VS keep in mind this experience!
     

    whisperingrock

    Legendary Member
    Forum Winner
  • Sep 12, 2020
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    Thank you, that's great.

    The rather unusual, yet somewhat fortunate position I am in is that a firm I applied to for a VS has accelerated my application towards a direct TC interview. So, I've not actually done the VS, nor do I have any other prior work experience that is legally related. In this scenario, do you think the interview will be much more like a general VS interview with, as you said, more emphasis on digging deeper?

    Also, how would you answer the following question: "you have no legal work experience, why should we hire you over other candidates that have"?
    I'd assume they'd interview you the way they interview their direct TC candidates if the firm does direct TCs generally.

    As for the question about no legal work experience, I'd talk about other transferable skills where you've shown that you are cut out to be a trainee. At one of my interviews I was asked something similar, along the lines of why they should pick a non-law student over a law one, since I didn't study law at undergad. I talked about how unlike most lawyers I actually know economics, which they liked and laughed at. Really emphasize what makes you special and how it will benefit the firm despite the lack of legal experience.
     
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