Dentons Vacation Scheme Assessment Centre 2020


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  • Feb 17, 2018
    Dentons Training Contract Interview 2019 - Anonymous

    HR Interview: 45min-1hour

    This was done on a separate day and was the round before the assessment centre. Essentially it took the place of a video/telephone interview but in much more depth.

    Questions mainly revolved around standard competencies. Dentons’s main competencies are listed in a Chambers Student interview with HR here. These were 1) organisation and planning 2) attention to detail 3) resilience 4) analytical ability. All of these came up pretty directly.

    There were some non-competency questions on things like ‘Why Dentons?’, ‘Why law?’ and ‘Who are Dentons’s main competitors?’.

    All-in-all nothing too scary and the interviewer was very friendly.

    I heard back within 30 mins or so with confirmation of an assessment centre place. I don’t know if this is standard practice or not.

    Assessment Centre: Activity 1 – Written Exercise

    1 hour to read a bundle of information and draft an email to the Chairman of a fictional company about your findings. My example was advising a taxi company on which [redacted] city to invest into and what type of taxi ‘service’ to provide. This meant there were two decisions to make which made it slightly trickier.

    I tried to focus on interpreting the information rather than just regurgitating it when drafting my email and made sure I settled on a final answer (they emphasised there wasn’t a correct outcome).

    One thing to note was that spell-check was turned off on the laptops, so take care and leave time for a quick proof/sense check.

    Assessment Centre: Activity 2 – Role Play

    This followed directly from the written exercise. It involved presenting your findings to two associates who then asked questions on your findings.

    They did push quite hard on any details you failed to mention and would argue the opposite of what you suggested. Make sure you have read the bundle properly and can talk about all the info. even if you deem it to be a weaker argument. My advice would be to stick to your decision but take their opinion on board.

    It lasted about 15-20 minutes.

    Assessment Centre: Activity 3 – Case Study and Partner Interview.

    5 minutes to read a very short extract about a small company which is looking to grow then straight into a room with two partners who asked how you would approach various legal/commercial scenarios the company is facing. (eg. finance, corporate governance, employee issues, dealing with competition).

    In terms of preparation, think about what areas Dentons is known for (eg. finance) and maybe read a little about how companies can raise finance (debt/equity/non-traditional methods) and what the pros and cons of these methods are. Only a basic knowledge of the topics above is needed – the partners were happy to give prompts if you needed them.

    My advice would be to take your time when asked a question, don’t be afraid to make a note, have a think but then give your answer with confidence. They won’t be expecting great legal knowledge, it is about how you think.

    The case study lasted about 35-40 minutes.

    It was then followed by a 25-30 minute interview which was very similar to the HR interview (see above). The only bit which differed was they asked more about Dentons eg its structure (Swiss Verein – worth knowing the pros and cons).

    Much like HR, both were nice and easy to talk to.

    I heard the result of the assessment centre 1 week later (although they said it is usually done more quickly).
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  • Feb 17, 2018
    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    February 2019 (vac scheme)/July 2019 (assessment centre on final day of vac scheme)

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2019/Training Contract

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    Vac Scheme:
    1 hour interview with graduate recruitment. You pick a slot online when they invite you to interview.

    Assessment Centre:
    9-9:30am: Brief from grad rec.
    9:30 - 10:40am: Written exercise and role play.
    10:40 - 11am: Break
    11am - Interview with partner and senior associate.

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

    Written Exercise and Role play:
    You have 45 minutes to read through the materials. It involves making a decision for a cab company as to which country they should open their hub. Focus on financials, competitors in the market, costs and how long it would take to make a profit. Grad rec will also come into the room and provide some last minute information because an email has come in unexpectedly.

    Role play:
    This is with two senior associates who are playing the client. You explain your advice and you'll get questioned on why you made certain decisions and may be pushed to explain more. Stand your ground on answers you believe in but adapt where needed. Make sure you read the info properly because I was asked questions I didn't understand and it would have been helpful to know the material better.

    This is with a partner and senior associate. They read out a commercial scenario about a client seeking advice on their business. You'll be asked questions and they'll introduce new information along the way - how can they raise finance?; how can the client protect themselves in contracts?

    The interviewers will try their best to guide you in the right direction. My interviewers constantly checked their phones to keep an eye on the time which was actually really off-putting but try your best to focus on what you're saying and remain upbeat.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Vac scheme Interview:
    Why Dentons?
    Why commercial law?/What does the role of a commercial solicitor mean to you?
    What is the culture at Dentons and how would you fit into this culture?
    Are there any specific practice areas you are interested in?
    Tell me about a time when you had to do something that you didn’t agree with.
    What have you taught yourself and why did you choose to do it?
    When have you displayed business acumen and how did you add value?
    When has being organised led to a success for you?
    Tell me about a time when your organisational skills let you down and what did you implement to change.
    When have you taken initiative to help someone?
    Tell me about a commercial news story and how it affects the firm.

    Final training contract interview:
    Why Dentons?
    What have you learnt on the vac scheme?
    Who are Dentons competitors?
    How does Dentons differentiate itself?
    When have you had to deal with something difficult?
    When have you worked in a team?

    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.

    Vac scheme interview: Use the STAR technique and have various examples. Sometimes the grad recruiter will probe you on certain questions but not always and it’s okay to ask the interviewer to repeat questions. Remember to ask questions at the end that are relevant to the grad recruiter (so not questions you would ask a partner). TC Assessment Centre: Written exercise and role play: Take your time to go through the information so you can be prepared for unexpected questions about your strategy/decisions. Interview: Ask for questions or information to be repeated if you don't understand something. In hindsight, I'd also ask to add to my answers because the interviewers probed me on earlier points I had made. For example I only got through one point for Why Dentons? And this was later brought up in my feedback as to my motivation for the firm.

    Were you successful?

    Successful for the vac scheme but not the TC

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