Macfarlanes Training Contract Assessment Centre 2019 - Anonymous Application: Training Contract Macfarlanes AC Overview Macfarlanes typically hold 1 AC per month for the TC after the milk-round season. My AC had around 8-10 people but I've heard that other people had around 12-15+. Don't be worried about this. I'd say the AC was probably the most challenging and rigorous AC I've ever had. General Tips Whilst it is challenging and rigorous, it's indeed doable. Don't be afraid of it and enjoy the experience. Make sure your energy levels are high e.g. make sure you have a good breakfast, plenty of sleep, etc. Sounds cliché but you'll honestly need it. Macfarlanes Assessment Centre Arrival Arrive in plenty of time and you'll be asked to sit in the waiting area. Other candidates will join you as they come so don't be afraid to strike a conversation. You'll then be taken into the AC room where typically most of your AC will happen. GR will explain the process and each exercise before you do them. Case Study Writing Exercise You'll be asked to go through a range of documents. You have a Questions sheet and are asked to answer the questions. You later present this to Partner/s or Associate/s. Some people were asked questions such as 'Why Macfarlanes' whereas I wasn't asked that. Make sure you've brushed up with the 'Why Macfarlanes', 'Why commercial law', etc questions. Group Exercise and Presentation You'll be placed into teams and asked to prepare a presentation on a task. I think you get around 30 mins. The regular tips and hints of a group exercise will be applicable here e.g. don't talk over people, allow everyone to contribute. That being said, you have to be organic too so talk as if you're chatting to a friend in the workplace. The observers observe a lot. In the feedback I got, I had said that I felt as if I couldn't contribute and they had a note of that so don't worry if you feel like the observers won't notice - they notice everyone and make notes on it. Make sure you contribute in some way - it doesn't have to be content e.g. you could project manage, etc. Remember that you are a TEAM and are being assessed on YOUR CONDUCT in a TEAM. There was a situation in my exercise where we had divided the sections up and everyone contributed to everyone's section. If you feel like there was a section that your team didn't cover that well, be that yours or someone else's, don't be afraid to raise that and ask the team to focus on that, because, it is a team effort. You also want to make sure everyone is comfortable with the content and presentation. You'll then be asked to present your presentation later in the AC. Have a quick run-through before the prep time finishes so you all know what to say. The observers will be the people you present to - you'll be asked questions individually and as a team. Remember that they observed your planning and again, you're being assessed on your conduct within a team so if you see that a teammate is struggling, help them out, etc. In-tray exercise You're given a range of materials and asked to write a memo and a letter. Remember to know what the difference is as a memo is something short and sweet whereas a letter is a formal document. Read the instructions carefully. Remember to know the correct audience e.g. an internal memo to a senior lawyer would be short, to the point whereas a letter to someone external will be full-prose, formal, etc. This exercise is time-pressured and there's a lot to cover. I was asked to answer a customers' complaint and the complaint was really long with many factors. Time is of the essence so have a think of how you should go about it. Some people addressed each complaint, other people addressed the key issues. You'll be asked to resolve the complaint too so it'd be good to look at this from each POV and the POV of the party you're representing. Competency interview There will be a competency interview where an associate or partner will ask you a variety of questions. As well as the 'why Macs', 'why commercial law' questions, they'll ask you stuff about team-work, resilience, achievement, etc. Make sure you brush up on this. Remember that Macfarlanes is a commercial AND private client law firm. Be sure to brush up on your commercial awareness in the private client sphere too. My interviewer was a private client lawyer so I had to think of the question I wanted to ask on the spot. Be sure to keep your answers short, impactful and succinct. You don't want the interviewer think you're going on and on. Notes: It's a very intense day and if you're applying for the TC, the standard they expect is a little bit higher. Don't let the length or complexity of the day get you down though. Have fun and enjoy it. It'll probably be the best prep for any other ACs. Macfarlanes have a lot of quirks about them e.g. the work they do, what they offer trainees, their culture. Be sure to really research them and make use of different research sources. Reach out to any contacts. A lot of people will say the same stuff over and over and it'll be good to differentiate your answer e.g. some may say Macs has a great innovation but trainees have a huge say in this, etc.