Linklaters Interview 2019 - 2020

Discussion in 'Interview Experiences 2019 - 2020 Cycle' started by Jaysen, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    November 2019

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Winter Vacation Scheme 2019

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    9am Arrival, 9.30am Sit-down for case-study and online test section, 10.30am Interview with Graduate Recruitment, 11.30am break, 12.00 Interview with a Partner and Senior Associate, 1.30 Lunch/Guided tour of the office

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

    The case study involved three sections, one based on critical thinking, which a multiple choice section based on the specific terms of a briefly laid out contract, and a trainee inbox prioritisation task, where you choose to Do, Defer, Delete, or Delegate. The total time for all three parts was merged into one 45 minute slot, but once on section was completed you could not go back. You also received a case study, which you wrote an email on to the partners.
    The interview with graduate recruitment was entirely competency based.
    The interview with a partner and senior associate involved going through the written exercise that you had completed earlier in the day, based on a standard merger and acquisition scenario.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    How would a company deal with a press scandal?
    What do you think the role of a trainee actually entails?
    Please give us an example of a time that you have shown resilience/flexibility/leadership/teamwork (all asked).

    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.

    Case study: take your time and read the contract carefully; no prior knowledge required and the same applies to the email prioritisation task - just take care when selecting answers. A general commercial knowledge background could be useful in the M&A case study, but no specifics are required.
    Interview with graduate recruitment: have examples for every possible skill they may ask you about, as I had 6 questions on the need to give an example for a different competency, preparing these in advance would make this interview much more relaxed.
    Interview with partner and senior associate: try to angle yourself when in the interview so that you are speaking to both interviewers at the same time even if the partner takes the lead with questions, and here it may be useful to bring in commercial knowledge to boost what has been written in your case study exercise.
    Lunch with trainees: ask loads of questions! They say it isn't assessed, but being engaged never hurts.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  2. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    February 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Spring Vacation Scheme

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    - 9am arrival
    - 9.30am - 11am online tests and case study
    - Midday - HR interview
    - 1pm - partner case-study interview
    - 2pm - 3pm lunch with trainee and office tour.

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

    Computer-based tests:

    The first exercise was the tests. You have 30 minutes to answer 16 questions.
    - The first set of four questions were answering questions on a contract
    - The second set of four questions related to SJT-style questions
    - The final set of questions (eight) were email prioritisation questions and very straightforward and obvious as to what the right answer was.

    This was the easiest part of the day. I would advise spending more time on the first four questions which are based on the contract, because the rest of the questions were easy to answer.

    Case study:

    We were then given the case study to read for 25 minutes (I think) and we then had 35 minutes to write an email response to a partner, where we needed to highlight three issues (two legal and one commercial) and propose solutions for the issues. The email would then be sent to the partner and we were not able to take any of our notes or the case study away.

    I suggest completing TCLA's guide to mergers and acquisitions and Jake Schogger's commercial law handbook to learn how to approach case studies like this.

    There was around 45 minutes between this assessment and the interview with HR.

    Competency based interview with HR:

    - Why commercial law
    - Why Linklaters
    - What are my values?
    - When have my values been tested?
    - When have I dealt with conflict in a team?
    - When have I been in a difficult situation?
    - When I have worked in a successful team and why I thought it was successful?
    - Which leader in the media I admire and why.?
    - What is the role of a trainee ( I was asked this twice - one by HR and once by the partners).

    At the end of the interview, they give you an email with a crisis situation on it, stating that you have 15 minutes to have a look at it and decide what action to take.

    Case study interview:

    I then had the case study interview with a partner and managing associate. They were really nice and friendly and they asked if I wanted to do the case study or the crisis email first.

    I chose the crisis email and they asked me to walk them through what I would do. I made a few suggestions that they did not agree with (I actually suggested a solution that was illegal - although I did not realise that at the time - so I did not stand my ground on that one!), they challenged me on this and guided me to the right answer.

    We also discussed the points I had raised in my email relating to competition law/exclusion clauses and warranties. I struggled with this part of the day because I was not able to discuss my thought process as I had quite a shallow surface knowledge/understanding of the key issues. I think it is advisable to discuss the potential options and weigh each one up as you are discussing them. I think I ran into trouble on more than one occasion because I went straight to what I thought was the answer without thinking/talking it through properly.

    They also asked a couple of questions at the end that I was not expecting, like:

    - What kind of lawyer do I see myself as and why have I chosen Linklaters?
    - What would a trainee's role be in a deal like this and why would you enjoy it (or something very similar).

    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.


    Tests: You cannot prepare. Perhaps have a look through the SRA code and practise SJT's if you have not completed any before.

    Interview: Practise competency-based interview questions, why law, and research the firm thoroughly - know why you want to work there.

    Case study: TCLA's M&A course, Practise M&A case studies, practise talking though potential solutions.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  3. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Thank you to this recent successful candidate who shared their experience of the Linklaters vacation scheme interview/assessment day and vacation scheme:

    Vacation Scheme Interview/Assessment day

    The assessment day consisted of 3 main parts: an HR interview, a case study & eTray exercise, and a partner interview. It’s important to note that different people have the parts in different orders, except for the partner interview, which is always last.

    The HR interview was fairly simple. The interviewer was nice, but pokerfaced, reading questions from a sheet and writing down your responses. Very important – tailor your answers to the Linklaters agile mindset, they’re very clearly looking for that.

    Questions asked:

    · Why Linklaters?

    · Why commercial law?

    · What would you be doing on a vac scheme at Linklaters?

    · Which leader do you admire?

    · Greatest life achievement

    · A time your integrity was questioned

    · A time you failed

    · A time you could have handled a situation better

    · A time you showed good leadership

    · A time you dealt with a difference of opinions within a team

    · A time you worked under pressure

    · A time you worked well within a team

    The eTray and case study exercise were done in a single sitting. They are timed, and you have to do the exercises in order – you only get given the info for the second task once the time to do the first task has elapsed.
    Two very important issues to note here. First up, spell checker is disabled, so leave time to proofread. Secondly, you’ll be working on Lenovo Thinkpads, which have a strange keyboard layout (press shift for capital letters etc), so allow time to get to grips with this.

    The eTray exercise was fairly simple, and had two parts. The first was an imaginary email inbox at work with lots of emails. You had to decided whether to do a task, delegate it to someone else, or delete it. Next up was some standard contract scrutiny – they provided you with the edited contract, and the relevant bits of legislation, and you had to answer some questions on this. These aren’t difficult tasks, but can take time, so good timekeeping is vital.

    The case study centered around an imaginary M&A deal. You had to do due diligence, flagging the most important issues in email format. Read the instructions CAREFULLY.

    Shortly before your partner interview, you get a ‘crisis’ email. I can’t say exactly what it was, but essentially you have a few minutes to decide what you would do in this situation. Then you go to your interview. The partner interview has 2 main parts. One part is going over your response to the crisis. They will probe you on everything, so be prepared to think on your feet. The other part is going over the case study exercise, what you did, what you might do as a trainee in this scenario. Having an in-depth knowledge of M&A/due diligence is important here – more than just what was in the TCLA guide.

    Questions asked:

    · Differences between warranties, representations, indemnities?

    · Share vs asset purchases pros and cons

    · Types of lawyers working on this deal?

    · What would you advise this client to do?

    · Do you have any questions for me?

    Vac scheme structure

    The scheme had four main parts to it: practice overviews (ie talks from the relevant partner/Managing Associate), tasks to complete for our principals, tasks to be marked by an external examiner, and a client pitch. We were also encouraged to network with people throughout the firm (webex chats, phone calls etc), and there were also 2 socials.

    The first thing to note here is that Links crammed the entirety of their 4 week scheme into a shortened 2 week scheme. Speaking to previous vac schemers revealed that the same amount of work was expected of us, in half the time. This meant pretty much every day working until 11PM/midnight: most of the “work” day was filled with sector talks. Even some departments were unaware of this, and the grad rec team didn’t seem to have a clear understanding either – they were really shocked to discover people were working on weekends/into the evening. Obviously, this is a more accurate representation of trainee life, but be warned – it is far more demanding than most other vac schemes, so take this into account.

    Practice overviews were quite simple, and were explained well. You’re encouraged to ask questions, so make sure to have 1 or 2 per talk – and make sure they are GOOD ones. Don’t roll out the standard “effect of Brexit/Covid on your area” question – make sure they are interesting questions that a quick Google cannot answer. I’d advise making some notes on interesting points, either so that you can reach out to people in the firm to answer these, or else so that you can mention them briefly in your final interview.

    We had a booklet of tasks to complete for our principals: there were three practice areas, and 2 options per area. You had to pick one from each area to complete. There was a deadline to submit each task to your principal, and they would give you feedback on it. They were for the most part standard M&A tasks, but could be quite lengthy, and required a lot of research.

    We also had tasks to be marked externally. They were emailed to us one by one, and had deadlines. They focused on due diligence for a deal – each task was on the same deal, but with a different focus. Tasks 1 & 2 were marked by an external examiner. Task 3 was marked by the partner who would be interviewing you for a training contract.

    For the pitch, we were split into groups, and given a real-life client of the firm who we were pitching to. You don’t have a lot of time to plan and construct your presentation, and the time limit for the presentation itself is tight (group of 6 people have 7 minutes). You have to pitch to 3 partners who are posing as the client’s representatives. The questions from the partners were tough, so preparation and thinking on your feet is vital.

    Networking was also very much encouraged. You have a principal and a trainee solicitor “buddy” to give you basic advice (although obviously they can’t help you in-depth), but need to reach out to other people to catch up. This isn’t technically obligatory, but it’s highly recommended, and – especially since it’s virtual – is one of your only chances to show active enthusiasm and interest in the company and your seats.

    Due to the virtual nature of the scheme, for the most part, lawyers didn’t have any work to give us themselves, although there’s no harm asking. It’s worth noting that this varied sharply between principals though – my principals were extremely busy, and didn’t have any work to give me when I asked, whereas other people were given tasks by their principals/invited to sit in on client calls.

    We had 2 socials, which were both pleasant, but as we all had so much work to get on with after they had ended, they were a little strained. That said, it’s obviously hard to organise a social virtually – and social events are understandably bottom of the list of priorities for creating a virtual vac scheme – so no criticism of grad rec here.

    You also have to fill out a training contract application form, which is essentially the same structure as any TC direct application - a box to write your application letter/essay in. Make sure to leave time to do this well - don't rush it!

    Training Contract Interview

    The interview revolved primarily around task 3, which I had submitted in advance. Be prepared to know your argument back to front, and to be able to explain it clearly and concisely to the interviewers. Also make sure you have an overview of what has happened so far – the first two tasks are related to the same deal, and basic knowledge of them will help you setting the scene if asked to.

    The interviewers were very different for different people. Some people had interviewers who barely asked them anything, I was sharply questioned on whatever I said. Even though they agreed with what I had written, there would be follow-up questions about how one might do something differently. A good, in-depth understanding of the pros and cons of the different methods of financing a deal is vital, and so too is a detailed understanding of the advantages/disadvantages of share & asset purchases. Some commercial awareness goes a long way in supporting your answer.

    There were also some more general questions, relating to niche/passing elements of my CV/job history, so know both inside out!
     
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  4. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    August 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.


    Training Contract (following the Vacation Scheme)

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    1-hour Interview with a Managing Associate and an Associate

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

    On the vacation scheme, we were asked to complete a written task (similar to assessment centre tasks – reading through an M&A deal and drafting an e-mail setting out the most pertinent issues). During the 1-hour interview, we spent roughly 75% of the time discussing the points raised in the written response. During the remaining time, I answered motivation questions and had time to ask questions myself.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - What are the pros and cons of equity vs debt financing? Which is more appropriate in the case at hand?
    - How can the Buyer (client) shield themselves from litigation action against the Target?
    - What is the difference between warranties and indemnities? How do they work? What other options for allocating responsibility are there?
    - Should the client opt for an asset or a share acquisition? What is the difference? What specific considerations in this case would be relevant?

    Part 2: Motivation
    - What was the worst part of the vacation scheme?
    - Seeing you have done schemes at other firms, how would you compare your experience on this vacation scheme?

    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.

    Part 1 (Written assessment + technical interview):

    This part required a really good understanding of both broad legal/commercial concepts as well as of specific points. Even if you feel like the difference between debt and equity is obvious, make sure you know their exact definitions as well as any pros and cons. Write it down, explain it to someone else, whatever helps. Do not rush to recite obscure knowledge to impress the interviewers before you can answer the basics with precision.

    I also recommend getting comfortable with saying "I don't know the answer but I reckon it would be something along the lines of X because of Y". As long as you can make a substantiated guess, you are going to do just fine – the interviewers do not expect you to know everything.

    This was a virtual interview. If that is the case for you, you should run a test call beforehand and place your webcam at eye level (I put an ice-cream box under my laptop). Make sure you will not be distracted, not just by other people but also objects around you. Halfway through, I caught myself visibly fidgeting with a hair tie that was on the table... Just remove all the temptations.

    Part 2 (Motivational + your questions):

    This part always boils down to two things – the content of what you are saying and the way you package it. It is not enough if you have all the reasons for wanting to work there in your head, you need to be able to spell it out.

    Write down exactly why you like the firm – if you have done the scheme with them, note specific points you appreciated and be able to explain why they are relevant to you. Even if not, show that you have specific knowledge of the culture and people (reach out to some people with questions, even when you are not on the scheme), the training and working conditions (influence of the in-house startup Nakhoda, the MSc built into the LPC, department swap options for NQs, ...) and generally the things that attract you to Linklaters and why.

    As a general point for any interview that you do, make sure you want to work for that firm in the first place. If you don't, you are wasting your own time and theirs. If you are not borderline gushing about the firm, it's probably because you haven't done enough research. The best thing you can do is reach out to people (use LinkedIn, TCLA, the firm's website, ...) and ask them about their experience. They love working there and want to share this with you! And if that's not the case, do you think you would love working there...? Either way, there is no harm in asking for help.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
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  5. futuretraineesolicitor

    futuretraineesolicitor Legendary Member

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    This is super helpful @Jaysen . Do you have more threads like these about Linklaters? I tried looking for them but all I could get in the search results were "Hearing back from Law Firms" threads.
     
  6. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Here you go (although these are all older):

    https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/linklaters-training-contract-interview-2019.1249/https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/linklaters-vacation-scheme-interview-2018.819/https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/linklaters-vacation-scheme-interview-2019.1849/
    https://www.thecorporatelawacademy.com/forum/threads/linklaters-interview.127/
     
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  7. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    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.

    9:00 arrival at the office, followed by an online exercise and written exercise, then an hour-long HR interview and an hour-long Partner/Associate interview. There were breaks throughout. The day was wrapped up at about 14:30 after an office tour and lunch.

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

    After arriving, we got laptops and started working on a case study – with fresh pastries, tea, coffee, and biscuits provided throughout.

    Case study (online exercise):
    1) Contractual interpretation (answering multiple-choice questions about a non-disclosure agreement)
    2) Situational judgement (deciding which of the listed solutions is the best and worst response to a scenario – "what would you most/least likely do if...")
    3) E-mail sorting exercise (deciding what category a particular e-mail falls within, namely: do, delegate, defer, delete)

    Case study (written exercise):
    We received an M&A scenario to read through. Linklaters was advising the buyer, who received a [redacted] from the seller ([redacted]).
    The task was to identify three key issues to present at a client meeting, together with a list of bullet points setting out other considerations that might be relevant.

    Interview with HR (one interviewer)

    During the break, we received news about the case study, which required us to draft a [redacted] response at a short notice.

    Interview with an Associate and Managing Associate

    Office tour with a trainee and lunch with a few more trainees

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    HR Interview:
    - Why Linklaters?
    - Why commercial law?
    - When were you a part of a high-performing team?
    - When did you deal with a difficult team-mate?
    - When did you lead a low-performing team?
    - Who is an inspirational leader in the public eye?
    - What are the qualities of a good leader?
    - What are your core values?
    - When have your core values been challenged?
    - When did you have to deal with a difficult situation?
    - When did you manage a complex situation with many responsibilities?
    - How do you manage stress?
    - Describe a stressful situation you faced.
    - What is your biggest achievement?
    - What is your biggest mistake?

    Partner/associate interview:
    The interview started with a discussion of the three key issues I identified and the other bullet-pointed issues.
    Then, we discussed the [redacted] scenario received shortly before (who to talk to, how to proceed, how can Linklaters help, ...).
    We talked about my motivation for applying.
    I had time to ask questions.

    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) Know yourself. Know exactly what you are bringing to the table and what makes you special. Write down 2-3 of your best qualities and make sure that you walk away that day having shared all of them with your interviewers.

    2) Know the firm. Linklaters has an agile mindset framework against which the applicants are assessed. In tackling scenario-based questions and deciding which of your qualities to highlight, keep the framework in mind. Further, write down 2-3 qualities which attract you to Linklaters– for me, these were the quality and type of work (I talked about specific deals, the environment team, the focus on renewable energy...), innovation (I talked about Nakhoda, Re:Link, PIE teams, ...) and culture (I talked about the interactions I had with specific people, the lockstep renumeration model, career coaching for women,...).

    3) Stay calm when an unknown question pops up. During the interview, I requested to come back to a question that was particularly tough – and that's ok. You will never be able to prepare for everything. That being said, you should anticipate common questions (the fact that you are reading this shows that you have been looking for helpful resources – well done!) and answer them for yourself (or better yet, someone else) out loud.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
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