• Applications for Shearman & Sterling's vacation schemes are now open! Apply now.
  • Future trainees, we're hiring! You have until midnight tonight to apply to TCLA's Application Review Team. Apply Now!

Cleary Gottlieb Interview 2019 - 2020


Founder, TCLA
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Premium Member
M&A Bootcamp
  • Feb 17, 2018
    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    January 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Spring/Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    12:30pm Arrival, 12:45-1:30pm Firm presentation with a partner & trainee, 1:30-2pm Office tour, 2-3pm Workshop 1 (Commercial Negotiation), 3-3:15pm Coffee break, 3:15-3:45pm Interview with two associates, 3:45-4:15 Coffee break with trainees, 4:15-5:15pm Workshop 2 (Competition case study) 5:15-6:30pm Drinks reception

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

    Workshop 1 - Commercial Negotiation, given a short document with information of the deal and the positions/terms that our client wanted. Given 20 minutes to prepare with the 2 other members of your side - figuring out our strategy etc. About 30 minutes of this contract negotiation which was basically to come up with the best deal for everyone whilst ensuring that you made sure the non-negotiables/important things for your client were kept intact. Following this, there was about 10 minutes of reflection where the associates running the exercise asked us questions on what we thought we did well, what we could improve on etc.

    Workshop 2 - Competition case study, given a short document about a merger including information about the two merging companies. People were allocated either the side to argue for the merger to the CMA or to block the merger. Given about 20-25 minutes to each prepare our point (there were 3 points that had to be addressed along the lines of: 1) introduction of the proposed merger, 2) what factors do consumers use to determine what products to buy, general information of the company 3) the effects of the proposed merger). Similar structure as to workshop 1, also had about 10 minutes of a reflection after the exercise.

    Interview - The interview was split up into a technical and personal/competency side. The technical questions, which lasted about 15 minutes, were quite specific about debt & equity financing, the pros and cons of both as well as any considerations a company should take when merging/acquiring another. The more personal/competency side also lasted about 15 minutes and focused on your CV, your application, the usual questions.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    What is debt? What is equity? What are the advantages/disadvantages of them? What are other forms of financing? If a company was acquiring another foreign company what are some considerations to be thought of/what would they have to instruct local counsel to do? Why commercial law? Asked about my undergraduate dissertation. Tell me about yourself? What are some trainee tasks and how would you be good at these? How do you motivate yourself when doing less exciting tasks?

    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.

    I would say that overall my advice for the day is to keep the momentum up - it is a long day and depending on which group you are in the order of things will be different. So I had Workshop 2 last and by the end of it, felt really tired. For the competition workshop, I would say there isn't really any specific way to prepare but know that reducing competition is generally bad for consumers as this means less choice! For the commercial negotiation workshop, make sure that you put your point across, but do not be too dominating either (someone in my group was like this and during feedback, they said that they had noticed this as well and they did not get an offer) but also don't forget to include a fellow team member if they haven't spoken much as this comes across well. For the interview, I would say to know the basics of financing and also to watch the A&O Deal video as that helps to know what sorts of things to consider when acquiring a company.

    Were you successful?