• Applications for Willkie Farr & Gallagher's vacation schemes close on the 20th December. Apply now!
  • Applications for Shearman & Sterling's vacation schemes are now open! Apply now.
  • Common application pitfalls to avoid over the coming months. Read Now!

Dechert Interview 2019 - 2020

Jaysen

Founder, TCLA
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Premium Member
M&A Bootcamp
  • Feb 17, 2018
    4,239
    7,268
    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    February2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Spring/Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    I arrived for a 12:30 start, completed the written exercise, and then had two successive interviews. One interview was with a partner and an associate, the other with an associate and a member of the GR team. There is a trainee tour, too. Food was not provided.

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

    Written exercise: There was not an excessive amount of information to read. The exercise is more of a test of your analytical and client-based skills. They are testing how your process information, and how you would then present your thoughts and advice to a client. Based on previous experience, I did not use headings, bolding or italicising (other firms had not allowed it). Dechert actually wanted this, so ask in advance of completing the exercise. You may receive brownie points for making it more accessible to the mock client.

    Interview 1: One interview will first test your commercial awareness. Its a quick-fire quiz for which you cannot prepare beyond doing your best to develop a broad base of commercial knowledge. Unfortunately this is not a test of how you think or process information; you either know the answer or you don't. You will then be asked to read a situational judgement scenario and be asked a series of questions about what you would do. Think carefully before you answer and don't be afraid to go back to previous responses to clarify them further if necessary to create more of a narrative of actions you would take. You will be challenged on why you chose to do X action rather than Y. Think honestly about whether X or Y is the option you would pick. There is not a defined right set of choices, but avoid responses that suggest you are not a team player, or that you struggle to deal with pressure and responsibly. Instead, show that you can remain calm under pressure. There will also be competency questions: these were standard and focused on my teamwork and negotiation skills, and my capacity to work to tight deadlines. Have a plethora of examples for different competencies at your finger tips, and be prepared to answer additional questions in more detail about each example.

    Interview 2: This centres around a case study which you do not get to read in advance. The partner read it out-loud to me, and I took notes to ensure I understood the scenario. You will then be asked a series of questions about what you would advice the pretend clients in this scenario based on your understanding of business, commercial law and Dechert. You will be expected to understand Dechert as a business and how its practice areas can chip in to help the mock client. My case study centred around a long term business partnership. There was time at the end to ask questions: make sure you are prepared with questions that demonstrate your interest in the firm.

    Trainee Tour and Chat: This is assessed. Use this to your advantage by asking perceptive questions about training at Dechert. Use your own knowledge and interest in the firm as a launchpad for questions to signpost further your motivation.


    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    See above.

    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.

    The whole day is assessed, so remain polite, personable and professional throughout the half-day. Your motivation for applying is not directly assessed, so use questions to demonstrate this.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
    • Like
    Reactions: M777

    Jaysen

    Founder, TCLA
    Staff member
    TCLA Moderator
    Premium Member
    M&A Bootcamp
  • Feb 17, 2018
    4,239
    7,268
    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    February 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    8:45am – Arrive at firm
    9-9:45am – Written exercise
    10am – Break
    10-11am – trainee tour and chat
    12pm – First Interview
    1pm – Second Interview

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

    Arrived at firm at 8:45am. There were only three of us at the assessment centre.

    Taken into room and given a brief overview of the day.

    9am – Started the written exercise for which we had 45 minutes. You are an associate and the last one to leave the office. A client calls urgently needing advice. You need to draft the email to the client. Not too complicated. Be sure to read the contract properly and focus on the dates. Structure your email as an executive summary.

    10am – trainee tour with coffee break. The tour is essentially assessed because it is a one on one tour/coffee break with the trainee so they are for sure asked on their opinion. Make sure you ask loads of questions and show you are really enthusiastic.

    11am – First Interview with Senior Associate and Grad Rec. This interview had different elements to it. First, we started with a quick-fire round of commercial terms. Questions included:

    • What does the EEA stand for and name some countries a part of it?
    • What is a derivative?
    • What is the difference between a bond and a share?
    • What is the difference between an executive director and non-executive?
    • What is a future and a forward?
    • What does LBO stand for?
    • What does M&A stand for?
    • What is the current pound/euro exchange rate?
    • Name some US and UK regulatory/government authorities

    Second part of interview: You are given a piece of paper which contains a scenario (this is read out to you) – there is a client meeting for a signing of a contract but the partner and senior associate on the case are running late. The printer has messed up the documents which you have gone to collect and the clients have now arrived. What do you do?

    You get the chance to outline what you would do and then you are questioned on what you have said. Follow-up questions included what do you think the fundamental problem in this scenario is? Who would you ask for help? What is the very first thing you would do? What would you talk to the client about? Make sure you stand your ground but be flexible if alternative options are introduced.

    Third part of the interview:
    Competency questions:
    When have you worked in a team to overcome a challenge or difficulty?
    When have you had to change someone’s mind?
    When have you disagreed with someone?

    Opportunity to ask questions at the end.

    12pm – Second interview
    Commercial scenario:
    Two parties want to enter a joint venture and come to you for advice at Dechert. Which departments would be involved?

    Then questions after included that there are disagreements between the parties’ and they want to leave the business. What are their different options?

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Why law?
    Why not any other career such as banking where you can do similar things? (this was the back of my justifications of why law?)
    Which other firms have you applied to?
    If you were offered training contract at all the other firms you have applied to asides from Dechert, which one would you accept and why?
    How is Dechert different?
    If you could not be a commercial solicitor, what would you be instead?
    What do you want out of a training contract?

    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.

    The assessment centre was very commercially focused, and this was tested throughout the day. Make sure you know the meaning of various commercial terms and have a good idea of how M&A and private equity transactions work (especially as PE is their strength!).

    Make sure you are on top form throughout the day because there are only three candidates on the AC so you are more closely observed.

    Trainee tour:
    Prepare lots of questions and be extremely enthusiastic during the trainee tour as the trainee will be asked for their opinion.

    Interview:
    Be prepared to be questioned and probed on your strategy for which firms you have applied to and why. For example, I'd applied to another firm which has a much bigger trainee intake than Dechert but I had said I was interested in Dechert due to the small trainee intake. I justified this by saying I wanted to compare the experience of two different intakes on the schemes.

    Stay calm - I wasn't expecting a quick fire commercial round and I didn't know all the answers to every question. However, I gave every question a go where I could but admitted when my knowledge was limited in others. Don't beat yourself up if you don't know all the answers to the questions - it's more about how you react.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
    • Like
    Reactions: M777

    Aun Abbas

    Well-Known Member
    Gold Member
    Premium Member
    Aug 10, 2019
    20
    10
    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    February 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    8:45am – Arrive at firm
    9-9:45am – Written exercise
    10am – Break
    10-11am – trainee tour and chat
    12pm – First Interview
    1pm – Second Interview

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

    Arrived at firm at 8:45am. There were only three of us at the assessment centre.

    Taken into room and given a brief overview of the day.

    9am – Started the written exercise for which we had 45 minutes. You are an associate and the last one to leave the office. A client calls urgently needing advice. You need to draft the email to the client. Not too complicated. Be sure to read the contract properly and focus on the dates. Structure your email as an executive summary.

    10am – trainee tour with coffee break. The tour is essentially assessed because it is a one on one tour/coffee break with the trainee so they are for sure asked on their opinion. Make sure you ask loads of questions and show you are really enthusiastic.

    11am – First Interview with Senior Associate and Grad Rec. This interview had different elements to it. First, we started with a quick-fire round of commercial terms. Questions included:

    • What does the EEA stand for and name some countries a part of it?
    • What is a derivative?
    • What is the difference between a bond and a share?
    • What is the difference between an executive director and non-executive?
    • What is a future and a forward?
    • What does LBO stand for?
    • What does M&A stand for?
    • What is the current pound/euro exchange rate?
    • Name some US and UK regulatory/government authorities

    Second part of interview: You are given a piece of paper which contains a scenario (this is read out to you) – there is a client meeting for a signing of a contract but the partner and senior associate on the case are running late. The printer has messed up the documents which you have gone to collect and the clients have now arrived. What do you do?

    You get the chance to outline what you would do and then you are questioned on what you have said. Follow-up questions included what do you think the fundamental problem in this scenario is? Who would you ask for help? What is the very first thing you would do? What would you talk to the client about? Make sure you stand your ground but be flexible if alternative options are introduced.

    Third part of the interview:
    Competency questions:
    When have you worked in a team to overcome a challenge or difficulty?
    When have you had to change someone’s mind?
    When have you disagreed with someone?

    Opportunity to ask questions at the end.

    12pm – Second interview
    Commercial scenario:
    Two parties want to enter a joint venture and come to you for advice at Dechert. Which departments would be involved?

    Then questions after included that there are disagreements between the parties’ and they want to leave the business. What are their different options?

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Why law?
    Why not any other career such as banking where you can do similar things? (this was the back of my justifications of why law?)
    Which other firms have you applied to?
    If you were offered training contract at all the other firms you have applied to asides from Dechert, which one would you accept and why?
    How is Dechert different?
    If you could not be a commercial solicitor, what would you be instead?
    What do you want out of a training contract?

    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.

    The assessment centre was very commercially focused, and this was tested throughout the day. Make sure you know the meaning of various commercial terms and have a good idea of how M&A and private equity transactions work (especially as PE is their strength!).

    Make sure you are on top form throughout the day because there are only three candidates on the AC so you are more closely observed.

    Trainee tour:
    Prepare lots of questions and be extremely enthusiastic during the trainee tour as the trainee will be asked for their opinion.

    Interview:
    Be prepared to be questioned and probed on your strategy for which firms you have applied to and why. For example, I'd applied to another firm which has a much bigger trainee intake than Dechert but I had said I was interested in Dechert due to the small trainee intake. I justified this by saying I wanted to compare the experience of two different intakes on the schemes.

    Stay calm - I wasn't expecting a quick fire commercial round and I didn't know all the answers to every question. However, I gave every question a go where I could but admitted when my knowledge was limited in others. Don't beat yourself up if you don't know all the answers to the questions - it's more about how you react.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
    Hiya - was just wondering how long they take to get back to you following the AC?