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Eversheds Sutherland Interview 2019 - 2020


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  • Feb 17, 2018
    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.

    9:30am- Arrival and Introduction

    Waited in the reception area with 8 applicants in total including myself. Had a welcome from the Graduate Recruitment team of 3, where they explained how the day was going to be conducted. I each received a paper with the schedule and how we would be split up. The detailed paper mentioned who our interviewer would be, assessor for the internal meeting simulation and HR assessor for the reflection after the in-tray exercise. We also introduced ourselves to each other and stated a fun fact about ourselves.

    10am- In Tray Exercise

    11:45am- Network lunch with Trainees

    12:30pm- Reflection with HR assessor for 10 minutes

    12:45pm- 4 applicants conducted the internal meeting simulation and 4 others conducted an individual interview

    1pm- Internal Meeting simulation and reflection

    2:15pm- Interview with 1 Partner and 1 fee earner

    3:30pm - Assessment Centre finished

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

    All activities are strengths based.

    In-tray Exercise - 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete

    I was tasked to reply to 7 emails in a simulated inbox, pretending like we were a Trainee at the firm. The first email was about our main task which was to complete a 1 page client briefing document on renewable energy. We were provided with hard-copy articles regarding this topic which we could use to help with the client briefing document. Two emails regarded a charity event that a colleague wanted us to help with, two emails concerned receiving feedback on my work ethic/improving more efficient working, 1 email asked me if I was able to help photocopy a tribunal bundle, and the remaining email was to conduct a phone call with a client regarding renewable energy. Within the last 30 minutes of the exercise, the HR Representative gave us a document that we needed to proof-read and make corrections to.

    Reflection - 10 minutes

    I had 10 minutes with an HR assessor to reflect on the exercise. I was asked questions about what we enjoyed, what we disliked, how I stayed motivated, what did I learn through this exercise, etc.

    Network Lunch- 30 minutes

    Trainees at the firm came to talk to us about our experience so far and I had the chance to ask them for suggestions/advice about their journey.

    Internal Meeting Simulation- 1 hour

    30 minutes were given to review a bundle of documents. We were tasked to pick a position regarding a potential office move. One option was to move to a larger office space in the [redacted] or to move out of the [redacted]. I had to review simulated emails and informational documents regarding the advantages and disadvantages of each location option.

    20 minutes to negotiate and discuss with a Partner who was acting as a character for the meeting simulation. There was also a fee earner present taking notes during the entire meeting. The Partner took the opposite side as me arguing for the office move within the [redacted] and our goal was to come to an agreement on how to present our choice to the rest of the firm. I had to discuss different aspects such as technology, flexible working, property value, and the environment.

    10 minutes of reflection, where the Partner asked me similar questions to the previous reflection such as what I enjoyed, did not enjoy, learned, how I stayed motivated, what skills I drew upon when engaging in this exercise, etc.

    Interview- 1 hour

    Strengths-based questions were asked. There was a few situational judgment questions too. Had the opportunity at the end of the interview to ask the Partner and Associate questions as well.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Tell me about yourself

    Tell me about a time where you worked in a team

    Tell me about a time where you worked with a difficult person

    Tell me about a time where you had to work in a team but did not agree with some of your teammates. How did you handle this?

    Why law?

    Why do you want to stay and practice in the UK instead of returning to your home country?

    What is something economic or commercial that will or is affecting the legal market?

    Continued below...


    Founder, TCLA
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  • Feb 17, 2018
    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.

    In-Tray Exercise

    It is important to sit away from people during this task so you are not distracted. Mark down what time the activity started to keep track of time. As the main task was completing the client briefing document, I skimmed and replied to all other emails within 30 minutes as they were not as urgent. When replying to those asking for help, instead of taking it on and piling things up, or saying "no", offer some temporary solutions in the email. Always tell the other person that you are willing to help and can offer a solution on a specific day. For example, "I can give a more concise solution by end of day tomorrow." Carefully read the email and see who the email is being sent by. Make sure to only click "reply" and not "reply all". Leave ten minutes before the end of the activity to review the document given and make edits to it. There is no way to fully prepare for this activity before the assessment centre but my number one tip is to remain calm. This activity is meant to put a tremendous amount of pressure and testing whether you can work efficiently when there is a short time frame. Be calm!


    The firm values strengths-based responses and self-reflection. Whilst you will reflect upon what you enjoyed and what you believed you did well now, it is important to be honest with the mistakes you made. For example, I accidentally replied to emails addressing the wrong person because I was rushing. I told the HR assessor that in a more controlled environment or if I was able to re-do the task, I would slow down and make sure I read everything carefully so I can avoid making this mistake again. They want to see that you are able to be self-aware and strengthen yourself through the mistakes you made. Be honest!

    Network Lunch

    Graduate Recruitment will tell applicants that the network lunch is not assessed. Whilst this is true, all trainees report back to HR to tell them about their experience talking to you. Since the lunch is very short and the reflection period may happen at any point during the lunch, it is important to only talk to 1-2 people. It is better to create a connection and talk with few people rather than make your way around the room to everyone. A trainee who talked to you for 15 minutes is able to give a more accurate feedback than if you talked to everyone for 5 minutes or less. Be yourself and ask any questions you have to the Trainees! They are very friendly, open, and supportive.

    Internal Meeting Simulation

    Make sure to skim all documents and instructions carefully. Some documents are meant to be vague and not as relevant as other documents, however you should take everything into consideration. Make a pros and cons list on the option you choose. With the cons, make sure you have substantial arguments supporting how you would find solutions to minimize the disadvantages. The Partner will try to poke holes in your reasoning, done purposefully, to see if you are able to support your opinions/decisions under pressure. Do not give in too easily. The Partner will make excellent counter-points which may make you second guess your decisions/reasons, but you should rather be open to listening. Simply starting off by saying "I understand your position, however ....". Be open and listen closely. This is not a debate or negotiation where one person has to "win" but rather an exercise to see if you are able to work with people with different opinions than you. Be confident!

    Like the previous reflection, the questions will be similar. Make sure to mention not only things about preparing for the meeting but also the meeting itself. This exercise is to see how you work under pressure, working in a team, and communication skills. You will have the opportunity to ask the Partner and fee earner any questions. Ask them about what department they work in, how they like the firm, etc. It's a good way to build rapport with those in the firm within a small amount of time.


    Maintain eye contact and smile. Maintain proper posture and always approach the question confidently. The interview is very relaxed and they do an excellent job in making sure you are comfortable. Don't be afraid to make jokes but also keep it in a professional manner. They want to see your personality but also see that you are someone they would want to work with. It's a blind CV interview, so the interviewers only know your name. It is up to you to draw upon your examples to support your answers. The structure of answers should focus on the example, what you enjoyed, did not enjoy and what kept you motivated. The firm is really big on strengths-based approaches so use this. The interview went by pretty quickly as it seemed more like a conversation. Best way to prepare for this is to know your CV inside and out. It is also beneficial to practice sample interview questions with a friend. If you are given a difficult question, don't be afraid to ask if you can have a minute to think about the answer. This shows confidence and patience. Instead of rambling and struggling to think of an answer, taking some time to think about how you want to approach the question is excellent. At the end of the interview, they will ask if you have any questions. Take this opportunity to show you are not only interested in the firm, but you are also interested in the profession. I asked questions such as "what is the best, and if there is, a worst thing about working at this firm?", "what do you think makes a good/successful commercial solicitor", etc. I would also suggest asking a question based on the firm location you applied for. For example, I asked "Within the next 5 to 10 years what will impact the Birmingham location specifically?".

    General Tips-

    When inviting applicants to the assessment centre, the firm provides a preparation document. Review the document and consider the suggestions/tips mentioned in the document.

    On the day of, it is important to note that the minute you step into the firm you are being assessed. You will be greeted by the security guard and those at reception. Be friendly and smile! Show you are very enthusiastic to be there. Everyone you talk to during the assessment centre reports back to HR on their impression of you. I would suggest shaking hands and introducing yourself to everyone you meet throughout the day. They want to see that you are able to make a connection with people in a short amount of time. There will be waiting periods throughout the day before beginning another a task. Take this time to talk with other applicants. The last thing they want to see is you sitting in the corner by yourself and it is important to show that you are able to talk with anyone. If you are nervous or anxious, then the best approach is to ask the other person questions about themselves. Many of the applicants travelled from other parts of the UK and are in different parts of the journey. It will also calm your nerves if you talk to those in the same position as you!

    Make sure you have the opportunity to talk to HR and ask them any questions. It is also a good idea to let them know how you felt about the assessment centre in general. At the end of my interview, I talked with the Head Graduate Recruitment and let her know how much I enjoyed the assessment centre. It is easy to compare yourself to the other applicants, as they will also be bright and impressive people However, it is important to just be yourself and be confident. You were invited to the assessment centre for a reason and deserve a spot just as much as anyone else! The minute you start believing that you deserve to be there is the minute that other people will notice it too. Overall this assessment centre was a very enjoyable experience and further solidified my desire to be a Trainee at this firm. Good luck!

    Were you successful?