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Macfarlanes Interview 2021


Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Gold Member
Premium Member
M&A Bootcamp
Aug 26, 2020
Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.
January 2021

Please specify what the interview was for.
Summer Vacation Scheme 2021

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

  1. Arrival, introduction and ice-breakers (around 25-30 minutes)
  2. Networking with trainees (around 25-30 minutes)
  3. Interview with a partner and senior solicitor (45 minutes)
  4. Group exercise (around 45 minutes - 1 hour)
  5. Written exercise (around 30-45 minutes)
Please provide a summary of each assessment on the day with approximate timings.
- 50:50 case study and competency.
- I was given a loan agreement, along with another sheet containing relevant info, to look at before the interview. I was not given specific questions to prepare, but I had to note down issues the client was facing.

Group exercise:
- Candidates were split into groups of around 7-8. We were all given a sheet which contained a fictitious M&A scenario. Each candidate was assessed by one associate who observed everything from the beginning until the end of the group exercise.
- As a group, we had to discuss due diligence issues of a fictitious M&A deal (from the perspectives of both the buyer and the seller)
- After the group discussion, we were split into smaller teams to prepare for the negotiation. We were told who we were acting for - buyer or seller. I was put with another candidate and we had to discuss which issues to concede on, which issues to be more firm on, negotiation strategy, etc.
- We all then reconvened and had to negotiate. The negotiation lasted approximately 25-30 minutes.

Written exercise:
- I was given a scenario involving a share buyback scheme for a private equity client. Without giving away too much information, I had to summarise to the client how many shares they can obtain. There was simple maths involved.

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.

- This interview is much more focused on how accurately and concisely you interpret and convey your interpretation/views. I wouldn't focus too much on reading commercial news stories (I wasn't asked a single commercial question). Instead, familiarising yourself with basic contractual terms and the structure of a contract would be much more helpful.
- Have great answers to the typical questions above prepared. It would be very useful if you research their international strategy, their D&I framework and perhaps a deal they worked on.

Written exercise:
- Condense all the information very quickly. I felt that trying to understand the scenario was more difficult than actually writing it out. Read everything carefully from the start and double check your math! Attention to detail is probably one of the key things they assess for this exercise.
- Write appropriately
- it was a letter to a client, so make sure that you write in relatively layman's terms, rather than using highly technical language.

Group exercise:
- Work cooperatively with the others, but be original in your ideas.
- Practice negotiating with a friend
- if you can't do this, there are a couple videos on YouTube of mock negotiations.
- Know the different issues and concerns that a buyer and seller respectively have in an M&A transaction (for example, a buyer would want a lower purchase price, but a seller would want to push the purchase price as high as they can)
- Try to be as strategic as possible with every issue and clearly plan your strategy with your co-negotiator.

Were you successful?