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Debevoise & Plimpton Interview 2021


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M&A Bootcamp
Aug 26, 2020
Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.
March 2021

Please specify what the interview was for.

Spring/Summer Vacation Scheme 2021

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

8.30 - 9.30am: welcome session with grad rec
9.30 - 10.15am: meeting with mentor (1 to 2 candidates with 1 member of the firm. They allocate you a mentor based on your preferred practice area, as stated on your application form)
10.15 - 10.30am: break
10.30am - 1.00pm: introduction to the firm's practice areas
1.30 - 2.00pm: break
2.00 - 7.00pm: interview on a news article (you will be assigned a 30 minutes slot within this time period)

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

  • Welcome session: grad rec first ran us through the schedule and answered any question that we had. We were then joined by a partner who gave us a brief introduction to the firm and also answered questions from candidates.
  • Meeting with mentor: an informal chat with a member of the firm. Nothing to prepare for really, just be engaged and be enthusiastic.
  • Introduction to the firm's practice areas: representatives from each practice area were given 15 minutes to give us an introduction and answer questions from the audience. Given the time constraint, I believe they only allowed 2 questions per practice area.
  • Article interview: you will be assigned a 30-minute slot beforehand. 1 hour before your actual interview, you will be emailed the article and have that 1 hour to prepare for it (grad rec recommends spending 45 minutes on it. The extra 15 minutes is for you to print the article out, where necessary, and to just refresh your mind). This is followed by a 30-minute interview with 2 senior lawyers, during which they ask you questions about the article and you can also ask them questions at the end.

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. Meeting with mentor: depending on staff availability, you might get a 1:1 or 2:1 session with the mentor assigned. My mentor was really nice and friendly so I felt comfortable to ask any question that I had.
  2. Introduction to the firm's practice areas: this was obviously a very long session so grad rec explicitly stated that candidates could just turn their cameras on and participate in sessions that they were interested in, and could switch their cameras off for the rest. From what I have gathered, those who didn't ask any question or engaged much were still offered a place whereas those who did ask questions weren't necessarily offered a place on the vac scheme. So I'd trust what grad rec has said and just take your camera off where appropriate.
  3. Interview: I have never done an article interview before so this did throw me off. I did not know what to expect nor was I aware of how I should have structured my answer appropriately. My biggest tips is hence to practise doing article interviews and find out what such type of interview is like. This will help you a lot with your thinking process and the way you analyse the article on the day (I didn't and really regret it!).
  4. Overall: it was definitely a pretty long and draining day so I'd get a good rest the night before. I'd also say that the day provided me with really great insight into what the firm is like, how the culture is like and what the people are like. Not everyone necessarily can picture themselves working at the firm and that is absolutely fine. It is an amazing opportunity to really get to know the firm, and probably for you to think more deeply about where you'd like to work at.
Were you successful?