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Discussion in 'Applications Discussion' started by Alice G, Mar 25, 2020.
Applicant tracking system
Taleo is an ATS
I'm struggling to know what kind of proportions my personal statement should have in terms of me and the firm? Should it mainly just be about me and then supplementing this with research on the firm? Hope this makes sense
Also, I don't suppose you have any pointers on good places to research? I've pretty much unpicked the firm's website now haha and I don't believe there is an annual report online
Research on the firm should only be applicable to why you are applying. Telling the firm things they already know about themselves is just a waste, unless why you are explaining why it is important to you and your potential future career.
Have a look at unbiased sources - things like Chambers Student Guide and the Lex100 can provide a good starting point to see a summary of the firm and the training contract opportunities. Have a look at the deals/matters/cases on the FBD website, find the ones that particularly interest you and then read up about them from other sources to see how they write about them (rather than how the firm does).
Really the whole PS is about you because even when writing about Freshfields you are still wanting to explicitly draw connections between what you’re saying you love about the firm and how it relates back to you. Similarly, for why commercial law to be strong too, it’s best to explain it through the lens of your lived experience rather than abstract comments like ‘i am excited by complex, international work’. Any statements like this have to be supported with evidence and analysis which is built upon your experiences etc.
Jess has mentioned great research points but I also find LinkedIn very useful. Try and look at what the firm is sharing and also what individual lawyers are posting about the firm. Social media channels are generally quite busy at the moment too as a way to connect to candidates so be sure to leverage this too.
Both of these are so helpful - thank you!!
I am not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I am really confused about one of the questions in my TC application. I basically need to answer why I want to work in transactional focused law firm but, as I am coming from non-law background, I struggle to understand the difference between litigation and transactional work in terms of day-to-day tasks, etc. I did some research but all I learnt is that litigation lawyers assist clients in resolving disputes and transactional lawyers facilitate transactions. I would appreciate any advice or may be useful materials I can read. Thank you
These pages on Chambers Student Guide might be worth a read:
Also be aware that sitting in an advisory practice area will be very different to both a transactional practice area or a litigation one.
For interview questions, relating to our success stories/motivations/failures, I was wondering how personal we can be in our answers? I have a few genuine examples that come to my mind. However, I’m slightly worried about sounding too soppy in my answers haha
Hmm very good question. I actually think it depends on you and how much you wish to share. I know many people have faced a lot in life and maybe some people are at a stage to be able to share that but others aren’t and don’t wish to share certain things. I’d personally say it’s down to you and how comfortable you are to share but maybe @Jessica Booker can advise from a grad rec perspective on this.
As long as you're clearly answering the question, I'd be as personal as you're comfortable being. I always find those answers - particularly where it relates to a candidate's journey - to be very memorable/convincing.
Agree with Jaysen on this - it depends very much on you and how comfortable you are with talking about personal matters. But these answers can often be the strongest because they often come with truth rather than bravado.
It is good to show personal achievement with these things but that’s the key - is focusing on the positive outcomes/achievements.
Sometimes people can get a bit “chip on shoulder” or overly negative of the situation/other people, particularly when talking about adversity faced. Although it is important to understand those difficulties and for a picture to be painted, it’s also important to think about your language and tone in these situations.
It is also advisable to avoid anything that is going to make you upset or angry as you are probably going to become less coherent.
So if it is a more emotive topic, try to keep it matter of fact and positive. Focus on your actions/achievements and reflect on the emotions of the time rather than overly describe them. It’s also important to think about how the situation has changed you for the better, particularly if it was a challenging situation.
Very well said @Jessica Booker!! Amazing advice
@Alice G @Jaysen @Jessica Booker Thank you! This is really helpful
Do you remember how long after the deadline it was until you heard back from Freshfields?
I can’t remember exactly I’m afraid, I think for the WG I would say it took maybe around 3 weeks after submission? Then I want to say it was maybe another 2-3 after for the AC invite? These are true approximations so don’t quote me!
Hi Alice, I wondered if you could help with what to write about with the work experience section on Freshfields application? There is no word count and I don't want to repeat what I have written in my personal statement. How many words approximately should it be? and what should be the structure/included i.e. should it be: detail of your job roll? Skills that you have developed and why they are transferable to a trainee?
how many words depends on the work experience itself. One entry could be very brief as maybe the experience itself was, or because the role was fairly basic, while the next could be much longer if you were there for many months/years or the work you did was much more complex.
Avoid repetition in your personal statement. You need to think of your application as a whole and how it’s component parts all fit together. Focus on details that are factual and non-self explanatory points about what you did, and what you personally achieved in the role. Freshfields don’t need you to spell out the transferable skills - these are normally very evident from your application/descriptions, although on occasion can be useful if you feel the experience developed something different to the norm.
Hi there, I think most firms have a 250 word count so perhaps aim for that as a rule but don’t worry if some go over as some experiences are a little more rich and you may have spent a while in a particular job.
Write in prose and not bullet points. Cover what you did, the skills you developed and try to speak about instances you demonstrated those skills. So don’t just list them, use evidence to support what you’re saying
Try not to repeat stuff in the work experience. Obviously you’ll be writing about things you mention but use other examples and try to draw on different skills gained from those experiences