Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Applications Discussion' started by Alice G, Mar 25, 2020.
Not at all! Thank you so much ☺️
Hi @Alice G, I had the same issue as well with being too waffley in interviews. I was wondering what you did to improve your interview technique and your delivery at competency interviews?
I created a document with tables for each competency, I had two examples for each and really tried to make them different (and maybe around 15 competencies in total) and the columns were labelled STARR - situation, task, action, result and reflection (the latter being what I learnt and how the competency might translate in a legal trainee context). I then filled out each one and tried to limit my word count and ensured I was only putting in the need to know details. I found this was good for organising my thoughts and also making sure I had gotten a plan of things to say and cover ahead of time so I didn't waffle too much on the spot. I definitely did not script this though - I just wrote in note form the things I had to cover for each element of STARR. I think this did make me slightly more concise but as I said in a post above, I didn't radically change my delivery as i still wanted to stay true to the way I naturally communicate so I think I did improve and tried to be more conscious of this but also still spoke in a way that felt natural to me.
I also had mock interviews with Jaysen, Aspiring Solicitors and Rare and these really helped me to get some feedback and pointers on my responses too
Thank you for sharing your story and a huge congratulations on the offer!
Now that you have the offer, what kind of things are you doing to help you prepare for the TC?
Hi! I am currently working full time for an incredible contract automation start-up and we are part of A&O's Fuse so I am hoping that this is giving me the skills I will need to work in a professional environment whilst helping me to understand Legal Tech better as this is a key focus for FF. I am also being exposed to incredible work which requires a lot of thought and is often unfamiliar so, as I wrote above, I am trying to approach every task like a trainee solicitor would and just giving everything my best go. I am also quite proactive by nature but really trying to seek new work opportunities and offering to help on projects which I actively know will challenge me - this has made me more excited about doing pretty tough work and has built my confidence a lot.
Asides from that, I have gotten into a habit of reading the news daily and I really enjoy doing that before starting my day properly so I hope that is allowing me to develop my commercial awareness. I also hope to maybe do a bit more with @Jaysen with touring around universities and trying to develop my public speaking confidence a little bit more because it is still a work in progress.
That is pretty much it at this stage as my TC does not start until Feb 2022. I will be starting the GDL come September which I am incredibly excited for but I am really just looking forward to what is to come and going to take each step at a time!
1) Freshfields ask for a personal statement rather than a cover letter? How did you approach it?
2) How did you research the firm?
in terms of your first Q, I wrote a long piece of advice about the application tips we got at the grad workshop, which formed the basis for my PS. Here is a link to the post https://www.thecorporatelawacademy....s-interview-tips-2019.1423/page-55#post-16889 - let me know if you have any issues with the link and hope this helps in terms of getting started
In terms of research, the grad workshop was an incredible opportunity to learn more about the firm and it was honestly the best open day I have ever attended in terms of content and advice for apps so I really would recommend that to anybody who is eligible next year. Beyond that, I honestly just scoured the website, listened to the firm's podcasts, looked at Youtube videos they had put out, searched for articles which referenced Freshfields in the outlets I subscribe to, looked at Linkedin and researched on there and then just general Google searches and the traditional websites like Chambers. I think part of researching any firm is knowing their competitors so I also always look at past research for other firms and I tried to see how FF do things differently etc.
Hi Alice, thanks again for your honest and very helpful advice!
I have two questions:
1. With re to the case study, are there any other tips that you could elaborate on that may not already be out there in how to prepare for them in your personal experience? For example, in your feedback was content as important as structure or was it a combination of the two?
2. In terms of preparing the commercial awareness aspect of interviews, throughout all your experiences were there particular topics that tended to crop up quite consistently?
Hi Alice thank you very much. Very useful advice
1. It is important I think to understand the basics of M&A and have an understanding of what makes businesses tick in terms of content- you can achieve this by consistently reading the news. Further, it really matters how you communicate - be clear, be confident, smile and be enthusiastic. I use my hands a lot when I talk and I always try to be really clear and to the point - keep your audience in mind and if you are speaking to a client, strip back the legalese. The structure is definitely important. For me personally, I have always worked well with spider diagrams so that is the approach I take and try to logically organise my points from the most significant to the least. You need to find an organisation that works for you though as there is often a great time pressure. I also try to start with an intro. Also - make sure you absolutely do every single thing that is asked of you. If the case study has five elements you need to cover, absolutely make sure you allow time to do so. My final note - interrogate everything and really try to think creatively and do not just try to spot the obvious.
2. Erm, no I wouldn't say certain topics or stories do come up. I think if you just understand M&A (the course on here that Jaysen has created is excellent) then you should be pretty good to go and just try to read stories in the press through a more commercial lens. Think about the way these businesses operate, what they rely on, whether they may have third parties involved in their operations etc. I would also say get into the habit of thinking in terms of PESTLE as this can help to organise your thoughts (a google search should hopefully give you a bit more detail on this). Always have a couple of stories you are following in full though just in case you get asked a question on this.
How do you resist the temptation of checking your emails post interview
That is something I was never able to master myself I am afraid to say!
Hi Alice, 2 questions for you
1: As an International applicant, I can't be physically present for Open days and law fairs, so what can I do as an alternative of what the natives can pitch in their applications regarding their Open Day experience?
2: Can you list the sources you used building up on your commercial awareness? Also, how many months do I need to go back in time to brush up the old commercial awareness if say, my AC is tomorrow? ( I mean how updated does being updated ask for, can they pop a story which happened a year back and ask me stuff about it?)
Thanks Alice, re your first point would you include the SWOT analysis and financial DD like enterprise value of business, projected growth, annual return, debt to equity ratio etc?
1. I am afraid I am not entirely certain what the best suggestion might be here. Linklaters do a virtual internship now which is great and would make a great addition to your CV. I suppose I would probably advise you reach out to the respective grad rec teams to ask them what their best advice might honestly be on this or @Jessica Booker may have some insight into this for you too.
2. I just read the FT and the Economist daily and use all the resources we have on here as the major sources of my commercial awareness (also I love reading the weekly news topics our commercial writers do for us - they are incredible). I am also lucky to work alongside some really bright and business-minded people so always try to join in with discussions and ask them questions. If you are at uni, debating probably offers a similar outlet. To be honest, you would be best looking forwards and trying to build on current affairs now as opposed to backdated issues. If you have an AC very soon though, try to pick a couple of current stories and try to look at what the root cause of the issue was, and get a sense for the timeline of events and what it could mean for other businesses and law firms. But really, it is best to just get into the habit of consuming ten mins or so worth of news a day so you can keep up with the trends and spot inter-related problems too.
agree on the virtual internships.
would also try to get internships with law firms in your home country that would work with city law firms.
Yes, SWOT is a similar concept and a great one to maybe think about using if you feel comfortable to do so. The latter, I would say not. Law firms know that candidates are not financial analysts and would not expect this of you. In terms of debt to equity ratio, I would advise you look into what debt and equity are and the pros and cons of each and maybe an understanding of leverage, especially if you are applying to PE focused firms. Beyond this, I wouldn't worry too much. I also think if something technical is asked, it is best to just say you do not know but ask if they might be able to explain slightly so you can have a go at an answer.
Thank you so much for the insightful posts! I have two questions/queries:
How do you differentiate between law firms and find out what makes them unique – this is something I really struggled with on my apps as I found that firm claim that they're totally unique but throw around the same buzzwords in their grad recruitment materials
I would be interested in hearing more about the legal tech work that you do! As a non-techy person, I've been trying to puzzle together the realities of the emerging tech with the realities of the law profession but haven't been able to conceptualise it that well
hope you're staying safe and healthy!
1. I created this list https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/struggling-to-differentiate-between-firms.1332/ to help with differentiating between firms
2. It was because I had the same issues which you describe in terms of really understanding the value-add of legal tech that I decided to explore ways to get involved. I work for a company called Avvoka which is an end-to-end contract automation, negotiation and analytics platform. This basically means that documents can be automated in the platform and then those templated documents can be live negotiated between counterparties and e-signed all within the platform too. The analytics refers to the fact the data within the templates can be captured in the platform and it can give our clients meaningful insights into their own data. We actually launched a new initiative called 'Avvoka Academy' where we are seeking to host webinars in the coming weeks to give people more of an insight into what automation is in a hands-on, but hopefully fun way! If any of you are interested then you can sign up at the bottom of this page for one of these sessions: https://academy.avvoka.com/event/avvoka-academy-automation-webinar/