Ask 3 TCLA Application Reviewers Anything!

Maria d'Orey

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Hi everyone! 😄

My name is Maria and I am very excited to introduce myself as one of TCLA’s new application reviewers alongside @Gus Courtauld and @NatashaS98 ! We thought we would start this thread to share a little bit about ourselves and allow you to ask us any questions that you might have about our experience applying to training contracts and the work we do at TCLA.

I’m a future trainee at Ashurst, having only just received an offer this summer after completing the summer vacation scheme. I’ll be joining the firm in September 2024 after doing the SQE!

I’m originally from Brazil and moved to Portugal when I was 15. I then moved to England to study International Relations with French at the University of Sussex. I realised in my second year that I did not want to pursue IR as a career, but decided to finish my degree before doing a conversion degree. In fact, I just finished studying the MA Law (GDL + dissertation) at ULaw!

I absolutely loved my conversion degree! While there was quite a lot of content, I personally found the course really practical (something I really craved whilst in undergrad) and liked the fact that it was quite easy to understand what you needed to get out of each workshop. So, if you know that law is for you, please don’t be discouraged by the process of changing careers - it really is worth it at the end!

I only ever applied to vacation schemes. However, my first time around, I had 0 idea of what I was doing. I was also quite late to applying, so I had a very reduced number of firms to consider because most deadlines had already passed. During my MA, I made sure to treat applications as a priority. Something that really helped me was using the summer and the start of the academic year to understand what I was looking for in a firm. I ended up making a list of 8 firms, but only applied to 6 at the end! I’m genuinely really happy about the offer I received, as I think that the firm and I are quite a good fit!

This experience taught me quite a lot, but my top tip for applicants would be: please don’t feel like you need to apply to specific firms to make your “application cycle count”. Writing a good application takes a lot of time and effort, and it is not worth sacrificing this on firms that don’t genuinely interest you. Everybody is different! Take a little time to reflect on (and be honest with yourself about) what kind of work you’d like to do and what kind of environment you want to work in - this will already help you discard many options! Then, having created a short(ish) list of firms that you’d like to learn more about, make sure to connect with them as much as you can (attend events, reach out to employees, etc). This will not only give you unique stuff to mention in your application, but will also help you to get a feel for the people at the firm and whether you’d fit in.

If anyone has any questions about my background, being a non-law student, or applications, please feel free to let me know! ☺️
 

NatashaS98

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Hi everyone!

Really looking forward to getting to know all of you. By way of introduction, my name is Natasha and I was fortunate enough to convert my Baker McKenzie vacation scheme into a training contract this summer. I have just finished uni and will be starting the SQE in September 2024.

Like Maria, I’m also from a non-law background (I studied French and Spanish at Cambridge University). Initially, I was a bit daunted that this would put me at a disadvantage when applying for vacation schemes and training contracts, but this has definitely not been the case at all. What law firms are looking for is not necessarily that you know reams and reams about commercial law but rather that you are passionate about a career in commercial law – so long as you can demonstrate your ability to analyse effectively, an interest in business-related topics and that you can communicate your ideas in a clear and cogent way, the rest can be learnt 😊

I started to properly look into law firms, TCs and vacation schemes in my penultimate year of studies…which is also roughly when the pandemic kicked in! Being in lockdown, I invested that time by getting more to grips with the training contract application process. I reached out to associates and trainees at different firms via LinkedIn who pointed me in the direction of TCLA …and so it began!

I’m massively indebted to TCLA. That's why I really wanted to be part of the team as an application reviewer as a way of ‘paying it forward’. I spent a lot of my time brushing up on my commercial awareness by taking the TCLA courses and found the TCLA community extremely supportive whenever I faced any doubts as to how to tackle the application process. Getting a VS or TC is definitely an exercise in resilience, so just having that platform to chat to other people going through the same process felt a lot less isolating.

I completed a summer vacation scheme with a MC firm in my first cycle but did not manage to convert this into a training contract offer. Although getting up to that point and not getting the TC was a knock, I knew when I didn’t get the offer that it was probably for the best. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure I would be happy there in the long run. And that’s a really important reminder – that sometimes, even if it’s a rejection, things really do work out for the best. Whilst getting a TC can feel like an uphill struggle at times, it’s important to remember that the TC is a commitment at a firm for 2 years minimum. It's therefore really crucial to think you will be happy there.

Starting my second cycle, I reflected much more on what I wanted out of a career in law and which firms would cater to that. Coming from an international background, studying Modern Languages at uni and having worked in Spain and China, I was really after an international law firm. And Baker McKenzie really did fit that bill!

Although I felt under pressure to juggle law applications and my uni work in my final year at uni, I found that splitting my week into dedicated time allocations for application work and uni work helped ensure I was time-efficient and focused. It also helped me feel like my uni work wasn't impacting my law applications or vice versa. Having done one cycle before that had been really helpful too – which just goes to show that you don’t lose anything by not getting a TC upon your first cycle. You just get more efficient and more effective with the process.

My takeaway from the process is that getting a TC is all about practice, practice, practice (as well as keeping that self-belief). As part of the journey to getting a TC, you will need to step outside your comfort zone. Going to open days where you have to ask questions in front of a crowd of strangers, reaching out to people whose careers trajectories you aspire to, may all feel scary at first. However, you become more comfortable and confident in doing those things as time goes on. The application process shouldn’t be one where you hide who you are, but an opportunity where you let your personality shine. Your unique traits are what make you special (in my interview at the Baker McKenzie Assessment Centre, we actually ended up speaking about art!).

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to fire away 😊
 
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Jessica Booker

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Having seen @NatashaS98 , @Maria d'Orey and @Gus Courtauld ’s applications reviews, it’s fantastic to have them on the forums.

Please do ask them any questions as they are incredibly knowledgable and have provided so much useful insights via the application reviews, that I know they will also be able to provide so much insight via the forums too!
 

Maria d'Orey

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Hi @Maria d'Orey and @NatashaS98 ! Great to hear from you both, and thank you for the introduction!

Since you are both non-law students, I was curious in knowing how you both prepared for assessment centres, i.e. what legal and commercial concepts did you find helpful in looking over?
Hi @Crystal86 , great question!

I was actually doing my conversion degree during the application process, so when it came to the assessment centre I had a little bit of a background in law.

I'm not sure if Ashurst's vacation scheme assessment centre is one of a kind, but our only exercise was to write a business report in 1 hour. This required the ability to process and critically analyse information quickly (because you needed to read a variety of documents to get an idea of what arguments you could make) and write clearly, so this is what I practiced the most (as we knew the structure of the exercise in advance). I think you can easily practice this by doing a similar exercise on a weekly basis where you time yourself to go over a few articles and write a short summary of what you've read. However, please note that there was no need to know the topic in advance in this case.

The interview was also mostly competency-based, although I was asked about any news that had caught my attention recently (which I already expected, so I had also prepared for). The few commercial questions I got then were based on the story I had mentioned, from what I remember.

I mainly went over key commercial and legal concepts before my final interview with the partners (for a TC). I focused on my uni notes on contract and land law (because they were related to the work I had done during the vacation scheme).

I also refreshed my mind on some commercial concepts that I thought could help me during the commercial scenario questions. For example, some basic principles of corporate finance, ways to finance a business, ways in which businesses can grow, some key types of contracts in M&A transactions, common clauses in commercial contracts, rights of shareholders, arrangements that may be initiated after insolvency, how exactly different practice areas can be involved in due diligence, etc.

However, I definitely did not need to know most of this to answer my interview questions - it just helped make me comfortable to discuss this sort of topic! I really hope this is helpful!
 

Maria d'Orey

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Hi, I was wondering how to discuss a role of responsibility eg campus ambassador in applications when I am yet to actively start the role. Should I talk about what the role will entail?
Hi @anushag - congratulations on the campus ambassador role!

I would say that you don't need to provide a lot of detail on this as you're yet to start the role. The firm will be aware of what campus ambassadors do, so there is definitely no need to summarise what you'll be doing!

I guess you can do one of two things:

a) you could briefly explain why you personally decided to get involved in this experience (e.g. what your motivations were), or

b) when talking about a skill you have, you could include at the end of your paragraph a short sentence saying "I look forward to utilising my [insert skill] on campus as a brand ambassador for [insert firm]."

I hope this is helpful!
 
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Crystal86

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Hi @Crystal86 , great question!

I was actually doing my conversion degree during the application process, so when it came to the assessment centre I had a little bit of a background in law.

I'm not sure if Ashurst's vacation scheme assessment centre is one of a kind, but our only exercise was to write a business report in 1 hour. This required the ability to process and critically analyse information quickly (because you needed to read a variety of documents to get an idea of what arguments you could make) and write clearly, so this is what I practiced the most (as we knew the structure of the exercise in advance). I think you can easily practice this by doing a similar exercise on a weekly basis where you time yourself to go over a few articles and write a short summary of what you've read. However, please note that there was no need to know the topic in advance in this case.

The interview was also mostly competency-based, although I was asked about any news that had caught my attention recently (which I already expected, so I had also prepared for). The few commercial questions I got then were based on the story I had mentioned, from what I remember.

I mainly went over key commercial and legal concepts before my final interview with the partners (for a TC). I focused on my uni notes on contract and land law (because they were related to the work I had done during the vacation scheme).

I also refreshed my mind on some commercial concepts that I thought could help me during the commercial scenario questions. For example, some basic principles of corporate finance, ways to finance a business, ways in which businesses can grow, some key types of contracts in M&A transactions, common clauses in commercial contracts, rights of shareholders, arrangements that may be initiated after insolvency, how exactly different practice areas can be involved in due diligence, etc.

However, I definitely did not need to know most of this to answer my interview questions - it just helped make me comfortable to discuss this sort of topic! I really hope this is helpful!
Thanks @Maria d'Orey! This is so helpful

When it came to commercial news stories, did you try to make the link with the material in front of you even if your interviewer wasn't asking you to discuss the commercial/economic climate?
 

Maria d'Orey

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Thanks @Maria d'Orey! This is so helpful

When it came to commercial news stories, did you try to make the link with the material in front of you even if your interviewer wasn't asking you to discuss the commercial/economic climate?
Glad to hear this was useful, @Crystal86 !

Do you mean the commercial stories that I read for the business report? If so, I should have mentioned - they were all fictitious! Plus, there was so much information to go over that it was not really worth considering more content to include in the business report. As it was just 1 hour, I had to really prioritise the information I had received. Plus, everything I needed to write the report was in the material that I was sent, so I definitely think that the exercise was more for grad recruitment to see if you had specific skills, rather than to assess your understanding of the current commercial climate.

During my interviews, if I thought that providing a little bit of background on the current commercial climate was going to help me make a point about the commercial news I had chosen to talk about, I would do it. However, I didn't do this too much because I didn't want to end up talking about a very broad commercial story (e.g. inflation) and not really touch upon something that had truly interested me! 😊
 

NatashaS98

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Hi @Maria d'Orey and @NatashaS98 ! Great to hear from you both, and thank you for the introduction!

Since you are both non-law students, I was curious in knowing how you both prepared for assessment centres, i.e. what legal and commercial concepts did you find helpful in looking over?
Hi @Crystal86 ! This is a great question! I’ll break this down into key headers. As you will see the legal is intricately tied to the commercial elements. There are also some broader concepts you might want to look into for an AC:

How a deal works:

Typically at an AC, you will presented with a case study where – either through written form, discussion or presentation – you may need to advise a fictitious client on a deal. This can very often be an M&A deal (although not all the time). In such instances, the firm is not specifically looking for you to reel off case law, but to be able to think through the following:

  • Corporate: How do we buy a company? What are we buying – shares or assets? What’s the difference between the two? What are the advantages and disadvantages of one vs. the other?
  • Finance/banking: How do we fund the deal – debt or equity? If debt, do we issue bonds or loans?
  • Competition: Is this buying a competitor? Could it risk a monopoly/market abuse?
  • Litigation: Is the target company being sued?
Other additional factors and departments you may also want to consider are: real estate, tax, pensions and employment. Being able to take a case and understand the steps that were taken for the deal and why those steps were taken is what will give you that ‘commercial awareness’.

Other themes that may be helpful to keep in mind include: the market price of the deal, how the business’s taxation should be organised, is the deal public or private, any IP issues, the capital structure of the deal, the affect this deal will have on the talent of the business (will this lead to an increase or decrease of individuals with significant talent and expertise as part of the business?) and any supply chain issues.

How to ensure buyer protection:

Very often, a Partner or Senior Associate interview might lead to you looking at a case study where you discuss a couple of the liabilities at hand and how to mitigate those. An awareness of how a commercial lawyer can contractually manage risk on behalf of their client is helpful here. You might think about exclusivity clauses, confidentiality clauses, warranties, indemnities, undertakings, non-solicit clauses, change of control clauses, an earnout clause and a non-compete agreement. These terms will be helpful to familiarise yourself with should you be presented with particular scenarios in a case study that might be liabilities. You might be asked how you would contractually manage such risks.

Other helpful terms to keep in mind might be an entire agreement clause and a conditions precedent. You might also want to think about risk allocation in contracts: a retention of title clause (and how this protects both buyer and seller) as well as how force majeure clauses may free each party from liabilities.

A knowledge on restrictions which may come in contracts such as articles of association and rights issues may also be helpful.

All these terms may seem unfamiliar coming from a non-law background but can be familiarised through TCLA (see https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/guide/mergers), a look at these terms’ definitions on Investopedia and Jake Schogger’s Commercial Law Handbook (which I highly recommend – it provides information on how commercial lawyers can help clients through M&A deals in a really bitesize and understandable way)

Echoing Maria’s points, I would also recommend looking into how to protect clients in situations of insolvency and what leads to insolvency.

Other points that are business-related and that are helpful to know about:

Very often in a case study or group exercise, you may be presented with a document measuring the businesses’ financials. This is typically to assess those candidates who are truly business-savvy and aware of how to value a business. An awareness of what the following are: a balance sheet, an income statement, a cashflow statement, a discounted cashflow statement, ROCE and EBITDA, all help here. You can have a look at some financial statements online to familiarise yourself with these formats.

Other ways to be prepared for an AC (from a legal and commercial knowledge standpoint)

Ideally, you should be prepared to talk about:


  • 2 commercial stories that you are familiar with (these may be current affairs stories with a commercial implication). I would research these in advance of your AC and prepare your thoughts on both the legal and commercial implications of the commercial stories. This will demonstrate that you can think both legally and commercially about the issue (coming from a non-law background, you can think about different practice areas (e.g. IP, competition, litigation) and how perhaps this commercial story might present issues that fit within those practice areas)).
  • 1 or 2 of the firm’s cases. Again, I would look at the case’s legal and commercial implications, so as to show that you are interested in both law and business.
  • Wider commercial stories:
  • Listening to the firm’s podcasts and reading some of the firm’s articles highlighted to me which commercial stories impacted the firm and its clients. I recommend listening to podcasts – they are conversational which makes it a lot easier to sometimes understand the business topic.
  • I also would regularly stay up to date with business news but took a targeted approach. I compiled a document and made bullet points of each business story I found interesting and what the implication was of that story. Usually, I would limit the description of that story to 4 sentences or so max. This was just to help me have a couple of examples I could draw on in a discussion, if I felt the business story I had read up on was relevant to the situation at hand.
Helpful case studies you might want to look at to prepare for an AC on TCLA include: https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/case-study-2-m-a-analysis.78/ and https://www.thecorporatelawacademy....-firm-case-studies-monday-article-series.3232.
 
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NatashaS98

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Hi @anushag - congratulations on the campus ambassador role!

I would say that you don't need to provide a lot of detail on this as you're yet to start the role. The firm will be aware of what campus ambassadors do, so there is definitely no need to summarise what you'll be doing!

I guess you can do one of two things:

a) you could briefly explain why you personally decided to get involved in this experience (e.g. what your motivations were), or

b) when talking about a skill you have, you could include at the end of your paragraph a short sentence saying "I look forward to utilising my [insert skill] on campus as a brand ambassador for [insert firm]."

I hope this is helpful!
Hi @anushag - I would completely echo what @Maria d'Orey has said here :)
 

NatashaS98

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Thanks @Maria d'Orey! This is so helpful

When it came to commercial news stories, did you try to make the link with the material in front of you even if your interviewer wasn't asking you to discuss the commercial/economic climate?
I think my answer to this would be yes but within reason. If it is relevant to the material in front of you then that's great. However, it is far better to be as specific about the material in front of you as possible than link the material to a commercial news story rather tenuously.

With my Baker McKenzie AC, I was presented with a particular case where the client wanted to enter the Brazilian market. I was asked as to what kind of difficulties the client might have in entering this market. I had 0 knowledge of this market (and wasn't expected to have knowledge of the Brazilian market!) but did know a little about the difficulties foreign companies might have in entering the market in China. I therefore said that, whilst I didn't have much knowledge of the Brazilian market, I could perhaps think laterally about the different kinds of problems one might encounter when entering a foreign market and drew on my knowledge of the difficulties a business might encounter in entering the market in China. Here, I therefore made a link between the material in front of me and some of my commercial knowledge, but also made it clear that I wasn't making the China and Brazil market sound like for like.
 

Crystal86

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Hi @Crystal86 ! This is a great question! I’ll break this down into key headers. As you will see the legal is intricately tied to the commercial elements. There are also some broader concepts you might want to look into for an AC:

How a deal works:

Typically at an AC, you will presented with a case study where – either through written form, discussion or presentation – you may need to advise a fictitious client on a deal. This can very often be an M&A deal (although not all the time). In such instances, the firm is not specifically looking for you to reel off case law, but to be able to think through the following:

  • Corporate: How do we buy a company? What are we buying – shares or assets? What’s the difference between the two? What are the advantages and disadvantages of one vs. the other?
  • Finance/banking: How do we fund the deal – debt or equity? If debt, do we issue bonds or loans?
  • Competition: Is this buying a competitor? Could it risk a monopoly/market abuse?
  • Litigation: Is the target company being sued?
Other additional factors and departments you may also want to consider are: real estate, tax, pensions and employment. Being able to take a case and understand the steps that were taken for the deal and why those steps were taken is what will give you that ‘commercial awareness’.

Other themes that may be helpful to keep in mind include: the market price of the deal, how the business’s taxation should be organised, is the deal public or private, any IP issues, the capital structure of the deal, the affect this deal will have on the talent of the business (will this lead to an increase or decrease of individuals with significant talent and expertise as part of the business?) and any supply chain issues.

How to ensure buyer protection:

Very often, a Partner or Senior Associate interview might lead to you looking at a case study where you discuss a couple of the liabilities at hand and how to mitigate those. An awareness of how a commercial lawyer can contractually manage risk on behalf of their client is helpful here. You might think about exclusivity clauses, confidentiality clauses, warranties, indemnities, undertakings, non-solicit clauses, change of control clauses, an earnout clause and a non-compete agreement. These terms will be helpful to familiarise yourself with should you be presented with particular scenarios in a case study that might be liabilities. You might be asked how you would contractually manage such risks.

Other helpful terms to keep in mind might be an entire agreement clause a conditions precedent. You might also want to think about risk allocation in contracts: a retention of title clause (and how this protects both buyer and seller) as well as how force majeure clauses may free each party from liabilities.

A knowledge on restrictions which may come in contracts such as articles of association and rights issues may also be helpful.

All these terms may seem unfamiliar coming from a non-law background but can be familiarised through TCLA (see https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/guide/mergers), a look at these terms’ definitions on Investopedia and Jake Schogger’s Commercial Law Handbook (which I highly recommend – it provides information on how commercial lawyers can help clients through M&A deals in a really bitesize and understandable way)

Echoing Maria’s points, I would also recommend looking into how to protect clients in situations of insolvency and what leads to insolvency.

Other points that are business related and that are helpful to know about:

Very often in a case study or group exercise, you may be presented with a document measuring the businesses’ financials. This is typically to assess those candidates who are truly business-savvy and aware of how to value a business. An awareness of what a balance sheet is, an income statement is, a cashflow statement, a discounted cashflow statement, ROCE and EBIDTA all help here. You can have a look at some financial statements online to familiarise yourself with these formats.

Other ways to be prepared for an AC (from a legal and commercial knowledge standpoint)

Ideally, you should be prepared to talk about:


  • 2 commercial stories that you are familiar with (these may be current affairs stories with a commercial implication). I would research these in advance of your AC and prepare your thoughts on both the legal and commercial implications of the commercial stories. This will demonstrate that you can think both legally and commercially about the issue (coming from a non-law background, you can be think about different practice areas (e.g. IP, competition, litigation) and how perhaps this commercial story might present issues that fit within those practice areas)).
  • 1 or 2 of the firm’s cases. Again, I would look at the case’s legal and commercial implications, so as to show that you are interested in both law and business.
  • Wider commercial stories:
  • Listening to the firm’s podcasts and reading some of the firm’s articles highlighted to me which commercial stories impacted the firm and its clients. I recommend listening to podcasts – they are conversational which makes it a lot easier to sometimes understand the business topic.
  • I also would regularly stay up to date with business news but took a targeted approach. I compiled a document and made bullet points of each business story I found interesting and what the implication was of that story. Usually, I would limit the description of that story to 4 sentences or so max. This was just to help me have a couple of examples I could draw on in a discussion, if I felt the business story I had read up on was relevant to the situation at hand.
Helpful case studies you might want to look at to prepare for an AC on TCLA include: https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/case-study-2-m-a-analysis.78/ and https://www.thecorporatelawacademy....-firm-case-studies-monday-article-series.3232.
Thank you @NatashaS98 for the comprehensive and incredibly helpful answer; thanks so much for also taking the time to answer both my questions!

A follow-up question for either yourself or @Maria d'Orey to answer (apologies for the questions!), is when do you know if you should stick to your opinion, or change your opinion to the new information the interviewer may provide? Is this new information a hint to change your answer or testing how you hold your argument?
 
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Maria d'Orey

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Thank you @NatashaS98 for the comprehensive and incredibly helpful answer; thanks so much for also taking the time to answer both my questions!

A follow-up question for either yourself or @Maria d'Orey to answer (apologies for the questions!), is when do you know if you should stick to your opinion, or change your opinion to the new information the interviewer may provide? Is this new information a hint to change your answer or testing how you hold your argument?
Very good question @Crystal86 !

I think that the key here is reaching the right balance between sticking to your opinion and being open-minded.

I would say that if the interviewer is literally slowly feeding you information you should feel free to re-evaluate the facts you're being given and change your mind if appropriate. It is only natural that if you don't have all of the information from the outset, your opinion might change after you've been presented with it.

However, if the point is that you've given your opinion and the interviewer is picking on things that you've said and providing counter-arguments, I think that it is also important that you be firm and defend your position for a little bit. Partners do this often to see if you can find alternative arguments to support your opinion, but they also don't want to work with someone who cannot recognise that they're wrong and cannot accept that there might be a better solution.

When this situation happened to me, I personally tried sticking to my argument for the first few "rounds". I did this by showing that I recognised what they had said (for example "That's an interesting point, I hadn't thought of that"), but that I still thought that I believed X was the best solution because Y. However, I was also honest with myself - when it got to the point that they clearly had a more reasonable solution (which will likely happen!), I accepted it and pointed out in what way I thought my reasoning might have been flawed! 😊
 

confusedlawstudent

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    i am applying for the taylor wessing summer 2023 VS and the first question is "tell us about any activities you have been involved with over the past 3 years that you feel has helped build your skillset. This can range from sports teams to mooting, to simply juggling responsibilities you have at home."

    I was thinking of talking about my year abroad, since I went during covid and I feel like I came back a lot more confident, resilient and motivated. But do law firms care about year abroads? Or should I try to think of something else to put? I was also thinking about writing about chess society or orchestra, but again I don't know if they care about this kind of thing. I could write about mooting but I have already written about this in the next question (which about my most significant achievement).

    Any guidance is much appreciated!
     

    NatashaS98

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    i am applying for the taylor wessing summer 2023 VS and the first question is "tell us about any activities you have been involved with over the past 3 years that you feel has helped build your skillset. This can range from sports teams to mooting, to simply juggling responsibilities you have at home."

    I was thinking of talking about my year abroad, since I went during covid and I feel like I came back a lot more confident, resilient and motivated. But do law firms care about year abroads? Or should I try to think of something else to put? I was also thinking about writing about chess society or orchestra, but again I don't know if they care about this kind of thing. I could write about mooting but I have already written about this in the next question (which about my most significant achievement).

    Any guidance is much appreciated!
    Hi @confusedlawstudent

    Thanks for this question - I can definitely resonate with your point about the resilience you built during your year abroad in the middle of the pandemic. My year abroad too was during the pandemic! 😅 (Solidarity there!)

    I would definitely say it’s worthwhile speaking about your year abroad experience during the pandemic - this question is less concerned with which activities/experiences you mention and more with what skills you build through those activities and experiences. I myself at interview would often talk about my year abroad as a time I illustrated resilience! So long as you clearly articulate how this experience built your skillset, this is the most important thing.

    Re. your experiences as part of the chess society and orchestra - these are definitely relevant too. You just have to clearly demonstrate what your responsibilities were and how you developed your skillset through your responsibilities.

    Firms will be interested in these experiences - they are looking for well-rounded people who will be interesting to work with too ☺️

    So definitely - all the above is relevant. Just focus on articulating clearly how you demonstrated and developed your skills through these activities and experiences.
     

    GusC

    New Member
    Premium Member
    Junior Lawyer
    Aug 9, 2022
    2
    8
    Hi everyone!

    Following Natasha and Maria’s introductions, I wanted to introduce myself and answer any of your questions.

    As a brief background:
    • I am a future trainee at Latham & Watkins
    • I studied Philosophy at Cambridge University and spent a year at the Cambridge Business School studying Management (specialising in Corporate Finance)
    • I spent a year working in Finance (in Financial Risk) whilst applying for training contracts
    • I have undertaken vacation schemes at a Magic Circle and several US firms and am currently undertaking the PGDL
    I joined TCLA because I deeply resonate with its mission of educating and genuinely helping aspiring lawyers (as someone who found the application process extensive and tiring!)

    The best advice ever given to me was, “you really can improve at the skills law firms are looking for”. Whether that be writing concisely, communicating clearly, conveying interest, understanding business and markets etc., these skills can be learned.

    I hope this encourages a growth mindset so that you lean into your interests.

    If anyone has any questions (whether that be about Latham, how to distinguish between firms, or how to prepare for interviews), please do not hesitate to ask or reach out to me personally.
     
    Last edited:

    Crystal86

    Esteemed Member
    Gold Member
    Premium Member
    Nov 10, 2021
    80
    58
    Hi everyone!

    Following Natasha and Maria’s introductions, I wanted to introduce myself and answer any of your questions.

    As a brief background:
    • I am a future trainee at Latham & Watkins
    • I studied Philosophy at Cambridge University and spent a year at the Cambridge Business School studying Management (specialising in Corporate Finance)
    • I spent a year working in Finance (in Financial Risk) whilst applying for training contracts
    • I have undertaken vacation schemes at a Magic Circle and US firm and am currently undertaking the PGDL
    I joined TCLA because I deeply resonate with its mission of educating and genuinely helping aspiring lawyers (as someone who found the application process extensive and tiring!)

    The best advice ever given to me was, “you really can improve at the skills law firms are looking for”. Whether that be writing concisely, communicating clearly, conveying interest, understanding business and markets etc., these skills can be learned.

    I hope this encourages a growth mindset so that you lean into your interests.

    If anyone has any questions (whether that be about Latham, how to distinguish between firms, or how to prepare for interviews), please do not hesitate to ask or reach out to me personally.
    Hi @GusC! Thank you for the introduction.

    I am quite curious to know how are you finding the PGDL? Is it difficult to adapt from a non-law degree and is it very intense?
     

    GusC

    New Member
    Premium Member
    Junior Lawyer
    Aug 9, 2022
    2
    8
    Hi @GusC! Thank you for the introduction.

    I am quite curious to know how are you finding the PGDL? Is it difficult to adapt from a non-law degree and is it very intense?
    Hey @Crystal86- great question.

    I have found the change to be fine- I am really enjoying it so far.

    If you are thinking of doing the same, I recommend three pieces of advice:
    1. Treat the PGDL as a job. It requires around 35-40 hours a week of studying, including workshops and personal studying.
    2. Work through the material very much with the exam in mind (it would be very easy to over-study).
    3. Make sure you proactively work through the material as you go- it is easy to slip behind.
    Other than that, it really should not be an issue for non-law students.
     
    • Like
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