Mishcon de Reya issue question

Discussion in 'Applications Discussion' started by Matt_96, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    Hi guys,

    The Mishcon app this year asks this question: "If we were to invite you to interview what is the issue that you would most like to talk about? And why? This should be an issue that you would happily discuss with your friends and should be something you genuinely feel passionate about. No 'Brexit' related issues please! (150 words max)"

    Having recently spoken to their graduate recruiters about this, I know that this is not really supposed to be an opportunity to talk about something like a hobby or sport. Unless of course, there is an issue behind it.

    But because of the "passion" angle it is hard to know what they are really gunning for here. My current thoughts are to talk about a volunteering experience I am involved with. Something else I have been thinking about is writing about my dissertation topic because it raises some difficult issues.

    What do you think? What would you do?
     
  2. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    what would you discuss if your mate asked you this same question while you were down the pub or our for a meal?
     
  3. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion Jessica, I have been racking my brain about this for a few days since your reply.

    I think that the reason why I am struggling with this question so much is that I am not really sure if the answer I would like to give would be taken seriously by a recruiter.

    The law course I am doing can be very intense and leaves very little time for anything else. Because of this, I am currently living in a bit of a law-only bubble. It is a bit sad, but other than general banter, I often find that I only end up talking with my friends about law!

    What I would really like to talk about is the cuts to legal aid in 2012 and how they have pretty much shaped the legal volunteering experience that currently occupies a sizeable chunk of my time. To put it another way, if the cuts had not happened, I would neither need nor be able to do the volunteering I am currently doing, which is why I have some strong opinions on it.

    Maybe I am overthinking things, but I worry that giving a legal answer is going to make recruiters think my answer is very contrived, and designed to 'impress' rather than be genuine. On the other hand, I am at a loss as to what else I could talk about...

    What do you think?
     
  4. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    The only issue with this answer could be that it pulls in a question around your motivations. If you are interested in this type of law, why are you applying to commercial law firms.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s off limits nor that it isn’t a answer that a recruiter wouldn’t take seriously (not that are looking to take any answer “seriously” - they just want to find out more about the applicant.

    Is it a compulsory question? I think you are overthinking it though
     
  5. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    When I spoke to the recruiter about it she gave me the impression that it wasn't so much the topic that was important as to how you engage with the question through your answer. However, she told me I shouldn't talk about my hobby (an unusual sport) as the question is phrased to focus on 'issues' rather than just general topics.

    It is a compulsory one, but I am not sure that motivations are the focus of the question as they have another question that deals with why Mishcon and commercial law.
     
  6. iamjeeoh

    iamjeeoh Star Member

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    I think talking about cuts to legal aid would be great if you can talk passionately about it, you could tie it into how it’s transformed the market for legal services and how more firms are competing for work in areas such as property and private client/weath, especially as Mishcon’s has a strong private wealth focus (not sure about size though). And don’t forget to round of about your opinion on the matter.

    I interviewed at a commercial law firm for a tc recently and legal aid was brought up in my interview.
     
  7. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    The recruiter is right - it is much more about how you write the topic more than anything else. Motivations won’t be the purpose of this question, but do you want to get on to a topic that might then make someone question your motivations (if not worded carefully of course)?

    As pointed out above, there is nothing wrong with using this “issue” just be careful that it doesn’t bring into play and questions about whether you really want to do commercial law.
     
  8. Phoebe

    Phoebe Active Member

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    Hi,

    I have a question about another part of the application form. It is as follows:

    Please detail any activities and achievements below, making sure to include the dates in which these took place. If it was a one-off award or something similar please choose the same start and end date to denote when it was awarded.

    Nature of the activity you have undertaken or achievement you have been awarded. If you are referring to an activity please remember to specify dates and the typical number of hours per week spent on this activity. (200 words max)

    Do you think for the activities they just want a description of the duties you undertook? Or are they also looking for the skills gained?
     
  9. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    to me this is much more factual rather than asking for you to explain the skills you gained.

    focus on the achievement and dates. Maybe add a sentence or two at most as to how you achieved it.
     
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  10. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    The main question that the Mishcon app asks is this: Beyond looking for a challenging career, why do you want to be a lawyer? Why do you want to be a lawyer at Mishcon de Reya? (300 words max)

    I thought I had come up with a reasonable answer but looking again I think I might have missed the mark a little.

    I have structured my answer by dividing it into three sections of roughly 100 words each. The first half talks about a specific motivation for going into law, and the other half tries to tie that back to Mishcon in particular. I'm starting to worry my answer isn't very targeted to Mishcon though.

    My three motivations are that I enjoy problem-solving and enjoy the idea of working with a wide variety of people and on a wide range of projects. I have used some non-law work experience to illustrate how I know those things appeal to me. Because of word count limits, I have also decided not to include how attending open days and work shadowing helped me come to this conclusion, as I thought I could put that in the work section.

    I've tried to tie my motivations to three corresponding factors: Mishcon's high-profile cases, broad practice mix and small intake/diverse + interesting people. But other than the intake, I've started to realise that nothing I've chosen really does show how the firm stands out. Every firm of Mishcon's size does headline-winning work, has a wide practice range and many different types of people/clients.

    Am I just worrying too much? Or would it be worth just redrafting the whole thing.
     
  11. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    That's an interesting way of thinking about that. The problem with it is that I think it would be hard to come across as passionate about the market for private wealth law services, and isn't exactly what (as Jessica suggested) someone might talk about with their mates at the pub.

    For now, I have decided to talk about a 'safer' option for me: the global view of America since Trump's election. This interests me because I spent a lot of time studying and working there, and follow its politics closely. What I find interesting is that due to the media focus on Trump, a lot of people now think that all of America is like that by extension. From my personal experience, I think this is a readily challengeable assumption and that's pretty much what I say in the form, and give an example that shows this. There's only 150 words tho so I didn't really have time for any more detail than that.
     
  12. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    The first half sounds fine. It's hard to know whether the second half is too generic without seeing it. I'm not a huge fan of the 'high profile cases' answer, unless you're being more specific e.g. the cases are in a particular sector and you have an interest in that sector.

    Note, you don't have to choose reasons that only apply to Mischon, it's fine if they apply to a few other law firms as firms do overlap in many ways. It's just the more firms your points apply to, the more generic your answers are likely to be.

    Mischon is a pretty distinctive firm though. Can you think of anything more specific than just having a 'wide practice range'?
     
    #12 Jaysen, Oct 26, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
  13. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    That's good advice. For instance the small intake isn't unique, but it certainly appeals and is the reason why I've also applied to some American firms.

    I think everyone knows it is a 'distinctive' firm, but I think beyond that it's really hard to say exactly what makes it stand out, which is why I'm struggling a little bit. I think a lot of it is down to the way they market themselves.

    I guess a better way of saying 'wide practice range' would be that I like that they do a mix of personal and commercial work, whereas most city firms only focus on the commercial stuff.

    Something else that is distinctive is that they have other non-law businesses like brand management + cyber security etc. but I don't know if that has much to do with the lawyerly side of things at all.
     
  14. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    The first point is also what makes it stand out to me. Its history in private client work feeds into some pretty unique cases (like the Article 50 litigation) and you can see that reflected in how the firm brands itself. I believe Mishcon is also more litigation-focused compared to the traditional corporate/finance.

    The second point could work, it just depends on how it's related to why you are applying.
     
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  15. Penelope

    Penelope Active Member

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    Does anyone have any tips for the VI? I’d be very grateful!
     
  16. Matt_96

    Matt_96 Star Member

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    No idea about the VI but when did you apply? I did at the start of November and haven't heard anything yet. Starting to think I've blown it.
     
  17. Penelope

    Penelope Active Member

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    I applied last week after the Open Day
     

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