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Charles Russell Speechlys Interview 2021

Elizabeth K

Esteemed Member
Gold Member
Premium Member
Jul 6, 2021
Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

27th April 2021 - 28th April 2021

Please specify what the interview was for.

Training Contract

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

Charles Russell Speechlys recruited directly for their training contract this cycle and did not do a vacation scheme. The assessment day process was divided into a virtual networking day (we were told this was unassessed) on the first day and then the assessment day the day after. The recruitment was virtual.
Day 1 - 27th April 2021 lasted from 10:30am - 4:00pm
Day 2 - 28th April 2021 lasted from 09:00am - 2:00pm

Please provide a summary of each assessment on the day with approximate timings.

Day 1 – 27th April 2021:
The day started at 10:30am with an introduction by graduate recruitment and the training principal. Afterwards there was an ice breaker, networking session with trainees, a Q&A with partners, a case study presentation linked to the firm’s practice areas, and a session on the firm’s responsible business strategy and practice area.

Top tips: Although the day isn’t assessed I would advise that candidates engage with each session by asking questions, contributing to the discussions, and listening attentively. It is good practice for getting into the right mindset for the AC the next day/so you are not being too relaxed or comfortable + I remember grad recruitment saying to me on my feedback call that although they weren’t assessing us on the day, they were impressed by how engaged I was during the networking session and had received comments from others commending me for my active participation. So in essence, I would say that it doesn’t hurt to approach the day like you are being assessed. Also worth adding that when in person assessments begin again, the virtual networking day may be dropped entirely as I think it was added this year to try to compensate for the firm’s decision to cancel their vacation scheme.

Day 2 – 28th April 2021:
The day started a lot earlier than the virtual networking day at around 9:00am with a brief intro by the training principal and graduate recruitment. Following this, we began the first task.

1) The group debate
The Group debate lasted 40 minutes. We were given a number of topics to debate on for a certain amount of time. After the time to discuss each topic was up, one person was then asked to summarise the points raised on both sides of the debate, with everyone getting a chance to do this after each round.

2) The interview
The interview was with one partner and a senior associated and lasted 40 minutes. It consisted of:
  • Competency questions
  • Motivation questions e.g. why law, why CRS, why law at university
  • Commercial awareness question about a commercial news story
  • A question about values & ethics
  • Opportunity to ask the interviewers questions
3) The individual written exercise
This involved reading a brief regarding a business/client issue about the clients’ options for expanding their business. We were then asked to provide advice to the client in written form. We were given 40 minutes for the entire exercise so time management is key.

4) The role play
This lasted 40 minutes as well. It involved reading a brief about an incident and conducting a fact finding exercise to find out more about the incident with an associate role playing as an employee in the organisation in question. Following this, I was to then present my recommendations on what the organisation should do about the matter to the associate. I was given about 20 minutes to read the brief, ask the associate questions to gather evidence, and prepare my recommendations. The remaining 20 minutes was for presenting my recommendations and answering any follow up questions from the associate.

Please list any interview questions you were asked.

Competency questions: time when you had to balance multiple priorities, time when you had to make an unpopular decision etc.
Motivation questions: why law, why CRS, why law at university
Commercial awareness question about a commercial news story
A question about values & ethics: it was about a time when I had to stand up for my values

What is your best advice for each aspect of the assessment on the day? Please break this down for each assessment. This can include advice for preparation, as well as tips for the day.

1) The group debate
Be clear and concise with your points and contribute to each debate topic. Do not interrupt or speak over other candidates. Smile. Breathe. Treat the debate as a conversation and do not take other people’s opinions personally or as an attack on you. Engage with the points other candidates make and be open to the other side’s points/work well with other candidates. Strike a fine balance between contributing to the debate and listening attentively to the points made by other candidates. Give others the space to speak up first. Do not dominate the debate. Do not be afraid to stand by your points, especially at the end when you are asked which side of the debate you agree with. You do not have to worry about tracking the time as the moderator will do this. Focus on contributing towards the debate.

2) The interview
Research the firm well and communicate that you understand the work they do and where they are headed. If you can, use interesting examples for the competency based questions as it would most likely lead to follow up questions, which can help with building a rapport with the interviewers. Smile. Breathe. The people interviewing you are human, remember this. Maintain a professional but friendly rapport. Although you may not be asked directly, you can tie in the answer to why YOU into your other answers or the examples you give. Understand your motivations and use examples to back them up e.g. for the why law at university question I talked about enjoying politics, business, and law in college and felt studying law at university linked all three.

3) The individual written exercise
Be clear, concise, avoid legal or business jargon, sign post, be logical, use headings or sub headings, and think commercial when drafting your answer. Read up on general commercial and business concepts.

4) The role play
Time management is key. Introduce yourself briefly (who you will be playing during the exercise) and explain briefly why you will be asking the questions. When giving your recommendations or advice, be logical and clear about how you reached your conclusion, and why you reached your conclusion. You will most likely be probed or challenged about your answers so remain calm, be open to being challenged, and back up your answers.

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