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Ask 3 future trainees (Magic & Silver Circle, International Elite) ANYTHING! *New TCLA Team Members*

Naomi U

Distinguished Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Dec 8, 2019
71
126
Hey everyone,

Looking for some general advice as I’m feeling super overwhelmed. I have an AC with HSF next week and I was so excited but I’m finding it so difficult to fit in preparation around my full-time job. I pretty much work 8-7 most days and while I can keep up to date with general news stories at work, I’m always exhausted when I get home. I guess my question is where would you concentrate your preparation and what are some of the things you did to prepare? Thanks for your help!

Hi @ES123456

Congratulations on your AC!

As the others have mentioned, I recently made a thread with some pointers that should be helpful to structure your prep. (https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/hsf-assessment-centre.2899/#post-46369)
I can only imagine how hard it must be to juggle it all, but to echo Dheepa and Jacob's great advice, I think it's all about trying to fit it into the little chunks of your day that you have free e.g. maybe listening to a podcast during your lunch break.

Personally I always find that little and often rather than spending 8 hours prepping on one day is way more beneficial.

Best of luck with your AC, I'm sure you'll do great:)
 
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Reactions: E123456

Naomi U

Distinguished Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Dec 8, 2019
71
126
Hi,

I was wondering how to tackle more personal strengths questions such as 'how would your friends describe you'. I was thinking of using words like loyal, supportive and trustworthy.

However can I use personal examples to evidence these?

For example, I was the first person to visit my best friend after her breakup with her long term boyfriend.

Hi @Lauren

I think I would approach questions like these as "how would someone who knows you well" describe you rather than a "friend".

My reasoning for this is I think that if you focus too closely on the word friend, then rather than offering a general description/insight as to the type of person you are, you end up offering insight into the type of friend you are. Whilst the latter will show great traits such as the ones you suggested, they won't always reveal traits that a particularly relevant to the role you are applying for. So on this note, I think it's important to strike a balance between offering personal insight but maintaining a focus on the traits relevant to the role of a solicitor.

Hope this helps!:)
 

DJMG

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2020
24
96
Hi guys! This question is mainly for Dheepa. Sorry if you have addressed this in another thread which I haven't seen, but I have just been invited to an AC with Bakers and was wondering if you had any specific insight/advice you could share? It's my first AC and I'm particularly nervous about the associate interview (haven't been told what this will comprise of) and the 2 partner case study interview. Any words of wisdom really appreciated-thanks so much in advance :)
 

Lauren

Valued Member
Nov 16, 2018
114
54
Hi Lauren,

For questions like this I'd recommend being as honest as possible.

Personally I'd frame my answer by listing the key things you do like (in terms of the work etc.) and then linking that to the similar things you can find at the firm that you are doing the AC. I'd also mention any key types of work or expertise that the firm you're interviewing at has that the firm you work with doesn't necessarily provide you with exposure to.

If there are certain things that you don't necessarily enjoy as much about your current employer, you can always mention these as well perhaps by framing it as "From working with this firm, I realise that these are aspects (maybe the training style, etc.) I enjoy less and this motivated to apply to your firm because I know that you (list the things that differentiates them)"

I've always been very open at ACs about the fact that the firm I did a VS at and failed to convert was not the "right fit". By no means did this involve criticising them but my interviewers always appreciated the honesty and the level of thought that went into reflecting on both what I did and did not enjoy.

Hope that helps! :)

Hi Dheepa,

Thank you for this answer, a very useful approach. However, I am struggling to find particular things which differentiate between Clifford Chance and DLA Piper as they operate in very similar sectors and have very similar expertise

For example, CC has a very close supervisory approach to training, could I mention how DLA Piper trainees I have spoken to emphasised a hands off approach?

Or could I mention DLA's new consulting arm and the opportunities presented by untypical work arriving from these clients for my development?
 

Holly

Legendary Member
Nov 23, 2019
185
203
Hey guys, does anyone have any tips on the following question:

How do you ensure your work is high quality?

I can think of general things like
  • proof reading
  • comparing doc with previous examples
  • reading with fresh eyes to spot and amend errors
  • having someone else check over it for a second opinion
But I may be missing some other points? It would be great to hear what you guys do to ensure your work is of a high quality!

Thank you :)
 

Lauren

Valued Member
Nov 16, 2018
114
54
I was wondering how to tackle this interview question.

How would you react if your fellow trainee took on too much work?

These are a few of initial thoughts:

A similar example arose during my consultancy project with {..}. One of my colleagues wished to broaden her experiences and so was allocated tasks across both the marketing, operations and consulting streams. However, soon she became overwhelmed by the competing deadlines and the variety of research which needed to be conducted. To this extent, I asked them if they were ok and offered to support them with some of the work. We collaborated together on the operations tasks, whereby we both benefited from bouncing ideas of each other and ensuring the deadline was met.

If this situation occurred with a law firm, I would similarly offer to support with the tasks, seeing if there was anything I could do to help. I would ensure I had capacity to do so, completing any urgent tasks first, and informing my supervisor.

Are there any other strengths I could demonstrate?
 

IntrepidL

Legendary Member
Jul 29, 2018
163
145
Hi guys, I am currently preparing and pre-empting interview questions and I am struggling with this particular question - "tell me a time when you dealt with something outside of your control". I was wondering if it would be appropriate to talk about situations that occurred during the pandemic or personal family circumstances? Thank you for your help :)
 

Dheepa

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Jan 20, 2019
203
590
Hi guys! This question is mainly for Dheepa. Sorry if you have addressed this in another thread which I haven't seen, but I have just been invited to an AC with Bakers and was wondering if you had any specific insight/advice you could share? It's my first AC and I'm particularly nervous about the associate interview (haven't been told what this will comprise of) and the 2 partner case study interview. Any words of wisdom really appreciated-thanks so much in advance :)

HI DJ,

Congrats on your AC! Not sure if you're already aware of the interview experiences section of the forum but here's a link to a rundown of the Bakers AC https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/baker-mckenzie-interview-2019-2020.2238/

Here's my advice for each part of the AC:

Group Exercise

The group exercise doesn’t have an obvious commercial element to. It's not even a commercial scenario! I think the main purpose of the group exercise Bakers, more so than others, is to see how you work with other people. So just be yourself, don’t interrupt anyone and try your best to make some meaningful contributions. Maybe encourage other people to contribute if you feel like anyone is being too silent.

Associate Interview

The associate interview is actually just a competency interview. You can also expect typical questions on why law, why this firm, where else have you applied to, that kind of thing. The most helpful thing I did was make a list of about competency questions (corresponding to the key competencies Bakers look for - check their GR website for this) and prepare a few good examples for each one. I found that many of the questions I got asked were questions I had already prepared for. Even for the questions I did not foresee, I could somehow use and adapt my answer from the various examples I had prepared.

Case Study + Partner Interview

Read the questions before reading the background or any other information. It naturally helps you focus on the more important details in the documents. Don’t be afraid to ask the partners something you are unsure of because they are more than willing to clarify/it will show that you are really thinking about every detail. Even if your answers aren’t necessarily correct the partners will nudge you in the right direction. Be open to taking on their suggestions and reworking your answer.In the second half of the interview, be prepared for the partners to ask you commercially focused questions. Other than that just know your application well. I got a broad range of commercial questions some based on previous experience and some more general ones on things that had been happening the in news. They will also pick up on interesting things in your application - like your experiences etc.

Document checking Exercise

I genuinely think this exercise is designed for you to not finish it. No one in my AC managed to complete it! Just take your time and highlight as many mistakes and factual inaccuracies you can find and don’t worry as much about making it through the whole document. Focus on being thorough with the pages you have read.
 

Dheepa

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Jan 20, 2019
203
590
Hi Dheepa,

Thank you for this answer, a very useful approach. However, I am struggling to find particular things which differentiate between Clifford Chance and DLA Piper as they operate in very similar sectors and have very similar expertise

For example, CC has a very close supervisory approach to training, could I mention how DLA Piper trainees I have spoken to emphasised a hands off approach?

Or could I mention DLA's new consulting arm and the opportunities presented by untypical work arriving from these clients for my development?

Hi Lauren,

I definitely think those are all things you can mention!

However, as I said in my previous answer, you'd want to lead with the differences in work (since at the end of the day any firm is going to want to make sure you're actually interested in doing the job more than anything else). I actually disagree that CC and DLA have similar sectors and areas of expertise. Just off the top of my head, CC is great at banking work, PE work and generally have great rankings across all their transactional teams. Contrast this with DLA who have a particularly strong employment team (I'm thinking of the work they did with Uber a few years ago), entertainment and media team, and a lot more. I'd recommend really looking at the Legal 500 rankings for both firms and focusing on any differences you can pick up. The other huge difference is that DLA operate on a swiss verein structure which means they have a greater on the ground presence in more countries, think about how this will reflect a difference in both the clients and work you can expect to be involved in. I'm gonna link you to this fantastic thread that gives you more general points of research to go off of. https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/struggling-to-differentiate-between-firms.1332/
 
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Reactions: Jaysen

Dheepa

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Jan 20, 2019
203
590
Hey guys, does anyone have any tips on the following question:

How do you ensure your work is high quality?

I can think of general things like
  • proof reading
  • comparing doc with previous examples
  • reading with fresh eyes to spot and amend errors
  • having someone else check over it for a second opinion
But I may be missing some other points? It would be great to hear what you guys do to ensure your work is of a high quality!

Thank you :)

Hi Holly,

You've already identified some great things! I think the answer to this will probably be very different for each person but some additional things I would personally do:

  • Break down the task I've been given and decide which areas I would need to focus on more thoroughly because of gaps in my own knowledge.
  • Set strict deadlines for myself as to when I would like to get the first/second draft of the document finished by. This will then give me more time to go back to the work and check for any missing elements (this ties into your proofreading point quite nicely I think)
  • Take time to reflect on any amendments/comments that have been made on previous work (similar or otherwise) that I have completed and ensure those errors are not repeated.
I would also caution against the having someone else check over it point, just because as a trainee I think you'll find yourself in many situations where people are either too busy to do that or you're simply expected to take full ownership of the task.

Hope that helps! :)
 
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Reactions: Holly

Holly

Legendary Member
Nov 23, 2019
185
203
Hi Holly,

You've already identified some great things! I think the answer to this will probably be very different for each person but some additional things I would personally do:

  • Break down the task I've been given and decide which areas I would need to focus on more thoroughly because of gaps in my own knowledge.
  • Set strict deadlines for myself as to when I would like to get the first/second draft of the document finished by. This will then give me more time to go back to the work and check for any missing elements (this ties into your proofreading point quite nicely I think)
  • Take time to reflect on any amendments/comments that have been made on previous work (similar or otherwise) that I have completed and ensure those errors are not repeated.
I would also caution against the having someone else check over it point, just because as a trainee I think you'll find yourself in many situations where people are either too busy to do that or you're simply expected to take full ownership of the task.

Hope that helps! :)

Really really helpful, thank you! And yes, I agree with your points :)
 

Dheepa

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Jan 20, 2019
203
590
Hi guys, I am currently preparing and pre-empting interview questions and I am struggling with this particular question - "tell me a time when you dealt with something outside of your control". I was wondering if it would be appropriate to talk about situations that occurred during the pandemic or personal family circumstances? Thank you for your help :)

I personally always tried to keep my examples for questions like this strictly related to any work/uni/extra curricular situations so I would perhaps avoid using a personal family circumstance but other than that I don't think there's any issue with situations arising out of the pandemic (again provided that it's related to the work etc. situations I mentioned before). I'd be interested to hear Jacob and Naomi's take on this actually.
 

E123456

Distinguished Member
Nov 19, 2020
72
216
Hey guys I have a question regarding how long you should talk for. I know there won’t be a set time for each answer but I really don’t know what would be classed as too short and not enough detail and what would be too long and considered waffle.

For example, for the ‘why law?’ Question, how long (approximately) did your guys’ answers last?
 

DJMG

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2020
24
96
HI DJ,

Congrats on your AC! Not sure if you're already aware of the interview experiences section of the forum but here's a link to a rundown of the Bakers AC https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/baker-mckenzie-interview-2019-2020.2238/

Here's my advice for each part of the AC:

Group Exercise

The group exercise doesn’t have an obvious commercial element to. It's not even a commercial scenario! I think the main purpose of the group exercise Bakers, more so than others, is to see how you work with other people. So just be yourself, don’t interrupt anyone and try your best to make some meaningful contributions. Maybe encourage other people to contribute if you feel like anyone is being too silent.

Associate Interview

The associate interview is actually just a competency interview. You can also expect typical questions on why law, why this firm, where else have you applied to, that kind of thing. The most helpful thing I did was make a list of about competency questions (corresponding to the key competencies Bakers look for - check their GR website for this) and prepare a few good examples for each one. I found that many of the questions I got asked were questions I had already prepared for. Even for the questions I did not foresee, I could somehow use and adapt my answer from the various examples I had prepared.

Case Study + Partner Interview

Read the questions before reading the background or any other information. It naturally helps you focus on the more important details in the documents. Don’t be afraid to ask the partners something you are unsure of because they are more than willing to clarify/it will show that you are really thinking about every detail. Even if your answers aren’t necessarily correct the partners will nudge you in the right direction. Be open to taking on their suggestions and reworking your answer.In the second half of the interview, be prepared for the partners to ask you commercially focused questions. Other than that just know your application well. I got a broad range of commercial questions some based on previous experience and some more general ones on things that had been happening the in news. They will also pick up on interesting things in your application - like your experiences etc.

Document checking Exercise

I genuinely think this exercise is designed for you to not finish it. No one in my AC managed to complete it! Just take your time and highlight as many mistakes and factual inaccuracies you can find and don’t worry as much about making it through the whole document. Focus on being thorough with the pages you have read.


Thank you so much, Dheepa. I wasn't aware of that thread actually so that is helpful. And your tips are very insightful-I will definitely be using your advice to help me prep! I really appreciate you taking the time :)
 

Naomi U

Distinguished Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Dec 8, 2019
71
126
Hey guys I have a question regarding how long you should talk for. I know there won’t be a set time for each answer but I really don’t know what would be classed as too short and not enough detail and what would be too long and considered waffle.

For example, for the ‘why law?’ Question, how long (approximately) did your guys’ answers last?

Hi @ES123456

I don't think there is an exact right or wrong answer and this will vary for each question. However I think my biggest advice would be to have structure to your answers.

Personally for each type of question I would plan to mention 2-3 key points. I would then express my answer along the lines of " I think I am drawn to a career in law for 2 key reasons, the first ..................., the second ........" Then follow a point, evidence, link structure. So say you are drawn to law because you enjoy the investigative and research element, evidence this by mentioning how you found out about this interest e.g. a subject you studied, a workshop/work experience you attended, then link back to why law e.g. the day to day role of a trainee etc.

If you plan to complete each element in a sentence or two that should be ideal as this way you can be sure to include everything you feel is relevant but you avoid droning on. Personally I think as a long as you have structure, and you know where you answer begins and ends, this will help you appear measured and in control. I think everyone's biggest worry (at least mine) was that you want to get everything out to the point that you just don't stop talking. But don't be afraid of a few seconds of silence. Just mention what you feel is relevant as in an interview setting, the interviewer will be likely to follow up anyway.

I hope this helps:)
 

Naomi U

Distinguished Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Dec 8, 2019
71
126
Hi guys, I am currently preparing and pre-empting interview questions and I am struggling with this particular question - "tell me a time when you dealt with something outside of your control". I was wondering if it would be appropriate to talk about situations that occurred during the pandemic or personal family circumstances? Thank you for your help :)
Hi @IntrepidL

I think I agree with Dheepa here. I would probably stick to uni/work related scenarios as I think they are easier to explain whilst keeping the attention on you (this is unless of cause they intertwine e.g. you work at your family's business). I think my general approach would be to use the STAR technique and to think about a time when something didn't go to plan e.g. you planned a presentation to do a presentation with a partner and overnight, they fell ill.

Honestly I think it can be anything, I think the question is more focused to see how you can respond to unforeseen situations and think on your feet.

Hope this helps :)
 

Lumree

Legendary Member
Highest Rated Member
Jan 17, 2019
385
486
I accidentally put this question in another subforum but I’m interested to hear your thoughts as well!

In a question that asks 'Why do you want to become a solicitor and what key skills do you have that are relevant to the role? [200 words]' would you provide examples of where you have demonstrated these key skills or would you just state you have said skills and explain why they are relevant to the role? I'm finding it tough in the word limit to say where I have developed a skill, and why it's relevant!

Any suggestions welcome!
 

Jacob Miller

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Feb 15, 2020
175
470
I accidentally put this question in another subforum but I’m interested to hear your thoughts as well!

In a question that asks 'Why do you want to become a solicitor and what key skills do you have that are relevant to the role? [200 words]' would you provide examples of where you have demonstrated these key skills or would you just state you have said skills and explain why they are relevant to the role? I'm finding it tough in the word limit to say where I have developed a skill, and why it's relevant!

Any suggestions welcome!
In 200 words, I would typically avoid going into why X skill is relevant. I would also only mention as briefly as possible the examples of when you've used the given skill.

Hope this helps!
 

Jacob Miller

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
Feb 15, 2020
175
470
Hi,

When answering a question about what I enjoy from paralegal work, does it make sense to mention the collaborative approach, the variety of work and the opportunity to produce a tangible output to be used by an associate/client?
Hi Lauren,

In my opinion these are all valid points to raise! I would also mention the fact that it gives you a better insight into the real internal workings of the firm which would make you a more effective trainee from the off :)