Linklaters Interview 2019 - 2020

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

  1. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
    Staff Member

    Trophy Points:
    TCLA Credits:
    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?

  2. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
    Staff Member

    Trophy Points:
    TCLA Credits:
    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?

  3. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
    Staff Member

    Trophy Points:
    TCLA Credits:
    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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