Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Application Questions

Discussion in 'Vacation Schemes and Training Contracts 2020+' started by Daniel Boden, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Daniel Boden

    Daniel Boden Legendary Member
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    Hi Guys,

    Think I've double checked that there isn't another thread about this BCLP's applications...

    So the firm has an interesting application form and has some questions that I haven't seen before as well as the standard questions:

    1. How does BCLP align with your ambitions for your Training Contract and beyond? (A fairly straightforward 'why BCLP' question but if someone could confirm a good structure to use that would be much appreciated)

    2. The legal sector is subject to continuous change and competition. What can BCLP do to stay profitable and what should BCLP be highlighting to clients when pitching for work? (I imagine referencing the merger and the firm's great strength in real estate would be a given here but again any pointers are welcomed!)

    3. Imagine you are a first seat trainee at BCLP. Your supervisor has asked you to present to a client in a weeks time on a matter that you have been working on. You feel that you have gaps in your knowledge on the subject area and you are already busy with other matters; how would you react? (I have never seen a question like this before so any advice on how to approach it would be much appreciated)

    All of the above are given a 250-word limit to answer them if that helps formulate a strategy in any way.

    Thanks guys - look forward to reading your responses :)
     
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  2. Benjamin Cull

    Benjamin Cull Active Member

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    Hi folks,

    Wondering if anyone can advise on the correct focus for BCLP's first app question:

    How does BCLP align with your ambitions for your Training Contract and beyond? 250 words

    My thoughts on this were to dedicate around half of the word count to why law(i.e. explain your ambitions)? and then the rest as to how my particular interests align with the firms strategy/strengths etc.

    Does this sound reasonable? Or would you spend more time focussing on the latter/other things?

    Thanks in advance!


    EDIT: I see another user has uploaded an almost identical post simultaneously to me, ah!
     
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  3. AJ

    AJ Legendary Member
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    Interesting indeed. I’m no expert but my views are as follows:

    For the first question you have to stress why law at bclp and not say pinsent masons which is also strong in real estate. I have no set structure - it’s somethong I struggle with to be honest. But I structure it on a couple of key points which interest me that I’ve indetified.

    The second takes concise writing to the limit. You could do a dissertation just on this question. I would also suggest Innovation/legal tech here.

    Agree the third is weird. It’s like a SJT type question rather than multiple choice. Try to identify some of the key words. Present. Gaps. Busy. React. Perhaps consider the key skills it’s trying to get at. Would you take on extra work. I tend to over complicate the questions, but in this case maybe over simplifying. Try to think about what you’d do and write that down in bullet points. From there draft it into a couple of paragraphs. I don’t think it’s possible to fill 250 words for this.

    Separately question from me. What is the position on shortening firm name? So Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner to bclp. And say Herbert Smith Freehills to hsf. Bclp I’ve seen refer itself to this. Hsf not so much. Any views? Asking from a word count perspective.
     
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  4. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    I have merged both of your questions so we can cover it here.

    1. How does BCLP align with your ambitions for your Training Contract and beyond?
    • You are correct that this question is similar to a "Why BCLP" question. However, to be clear, they have changed the question for a reason. So you should answer the exact question, and not use the similarities an excuse to write an answer for "Why BCLP" (I'm not saying you were going to do this, just to clarify).
    • I would suggest you think about what you want in your career. Mentoring? Opportunities for secondment? To gain an in-depth understanding of real estate? Identify what specific opportunities or experiences BCLP provides to help you get there.
    • Pick 2-4 reasons. A good answer will be very tailored. @Benjamin Cull - I'm not sure writing about why law would be suitable here, unless you are covering the above.
    2. The legal sector is subject to continuous change and competition. What can BCLP do to stay profitable and what should BCLP be highlighting to clients when pitching for work?
    • Good ideas @Daniel Boden, I agree. I haven't got round to a full insight on BCLP yet, but some thoughts on the merger here.
    • Use this question as an opportunity to show off your knowledge of commercial awareness. e.g. How do law firms maintain a competitive advantage? How do they make a profit?
    • Use this question as an opportunity to show off your knowledge of BCLP. e.g. how will Lawyers on Demand support their business?
    3. Imagine you are a first seat trainee at BCLP. Your supervisor has asked you to present to a client in a weeks time on a matter that you have been working on. You feel that you have gaps in your knowledge on the subject area and you are already busy with other matters; how would you react?
     
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  5. Daniel Boden

    Daniel Boden Legendary Member
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    This is great @Jaysen - many thanks for taking the time!
     
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  6. Benjamin Cull

    Benjamin Cull Active Member

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    Very useful advise, thank you @SameerS and @Jaysen for your input.

    Just something to note, BCLP sold their entire stake in LOD in May 2018. Firm has now launched Swiftagree which is probably something useful to talk about.
     
  7. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Good knowledge!
     
  8. Flora R

    Flora R Legendary Member
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    Hi Benjamin, I’ve just seen in another thread that your application was successful, how did you decide to approach/structure this question? Many thanks and congratulations!!
     
  9. Benjamin Cull

    Benjamin Cull Active Member

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    Hi Bugsy,

    I am wary as to posting my entire answer but as a brief general rule I approached it mostly in the same manner as a Why BCLP question plus including some indication as to career ambition.

    So my particular model that I use is to identify area of interest(for me, litigation/contentious practice) and then hone in on their reputation, strategy and culture. I dedicate most of the word count to the first two, using things like Legal500 rankings and significant lateral hires. In BCLP's case, you almost certainly must include something about tech, their entrepenuerial practices and the fact that they fully merged(brand wise and financially) which is quite rare and indicates the commitment of the partnership to the new firm. This has noteably caused some disruption as can be seen by the several lateral departures, but this is almost inevitable when merging two firms with quite different cultures/financial results. In regards to culture, I just said relatively small intake, lots of responsibility etc. Perhaps name some diversity initiatives and why that attracts you to the firm(if that is relevant to you).

    Format:

    The firm’s strength in Litigation and Corporate risk, its medium-sized intake and strategic vision.

    Rep - rankings, significant hires, major cases/deals.

    Strategy - merger, tech investment, Manchester service centre. Good to say these investments are allowing lawyers to concentrate on the law, not menial work.

    Culture/general - intake size, diverse range of seats, responsiblity, diversity initiatives.

    Ambition: It should be clear from your answer what practice area(s) you want to go into.

    Good luck, I will post my full answer up once I have completed the process.

    EDIT: And as a side note, remember to link each of these facts into why the firm. E.G. Want to work in investigations - "The firm’s strategic focus on growing its litigation department through hires such as Mukul Chawla QC demonstrates how BCLP is aligning with my interest in investigations."
     
    #9 Benjamin Cull, Oct 28, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  10. Flora R

    Flora R Legendary Member
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    Thank you so much for such an extensive answer! Good luck with the rest of the process :)
     
  11. Amanda

    Amanda Star Member

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    Hi everyone, I have been thinking about question 2. I was wondering whether BCLP want you to focus on what they could be doing or does the question want you to mention what they are already doing when talking to clients and pitching for work? My understanding was that they want you to give them some ideas on how they can develop to remain competitive rather than showing off knowledge about what the firm already does? Or am I not reading the question properly?
    Many thanks :D
     
  12. Nat

    Nat Well-Known Member

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    Hi Amanda

    I kinda did both and I got an invitation to an AC. You can see an example below.

    To stay profitable, BCLP should aim to improve service delivery by striking for the optimal combination of people, processes and technology to meet client needs. This can be achieved by streamlining internal processes and employing technology to optimise the output of the business. BCLP is well advanced in driving such changes. It has invested significantly in document automation and with the use of Contract Express fee earners save hundreds of hours and focus on legal issues.

    I hope it helps!

    N
     
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  13. Amanda

    Amanda Star Member

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    Thank you so much Nat, I was just wondering was the AC for the vat scheme or TC- I better get a move on with my application haha :D
     
  14. Nat

    Nat Well-Known Member

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    Vacation scheme. :)
     
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  15. Arash

    Arash Active Member

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    Just to share my approach to the first question, I started from the pros of the merger that created opportunities for the firm and also included the awards won by the firm.
    I stayed genuine to the practice I'm more keen on and built a bridge to real state which is their strength, finally I concluded the importance of utilising AI by the firm as well as developing tech platforms to improve performance and client service.
    I'm still contemplating the next two questions so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  16. W

    W Legendary Member

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    Does anyone know if BCLP are moving virtual when it comes to their assessments for TCs and VS?
     

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