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Morrison & Foerster Interview 2020

Jaysen

Founder, TCLA
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  • Feb 17, 2018
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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.

    First interview - 10:45am arrival, 15 minute settling down and brief chat with HR, 11am interview for 45 minutes Second interview (which was a few weeks later): 1:30 arrival + settling down, 2pm partner interview, 2:45 short break, 3pm associate case study interview

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

    First interview - This was a standard HR interview, consistent of 1 member of HR and two associates. I was first asked about my motivations:
    - Why commercial law?
    - Why MoFo?
    - Why law?
    - Is there a particular practice area that you are seeking to qualify into?
    - What was your approach to applying to firms (e.g. US-specific? Broad approach?) They didn't seem to have a particular answer in mind, and I was honest in replying that I had a broad approach and didn't apply to US firms specifically.
    - asked me on an event I had attended at another US firm, that I listed on my CV - what was my takeaway from that

    Competency questions:
    - Have you ever had trouble working in a team? How did you resolve that
    - When was a time you showed leadership skills

    Technical question (as I was a law student)
    - I had written in my CV about a misrepresentation case I had worked on during an internship. I was asked what the definition of misrepresentation was, whether the fact that a client knew about it mattered (fraudulent vs innocent misrep) and whether clients could exclude liability for it. All standard Year 1 contract law things.

    Overall experience:
    - I personally thought this was one of the 'nicest' interviews (if there are such things!) I had. Although it was one of the more technical ones I had experienced, the interviewers were friendly and they had banter between them, which lightened the atmosphere up a lot. HR also briefs you before hand about each interviewer - where they are at in their career, any particular secondments they have done; so I based my final questions to them on this information.

    Second interview, part 1:
    I was given 5 presentation topics to choose from about a week before my interview. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say specifically what topics they were, but they were all current affairs topics - I chose mine on a topic about [redacted]. It is only a 5 minute presentation so it was very compact. I was allowed to use what ever format I liked - I opted for 2 brief slides.
    I then had a 5-10 minutes Q&A with 2 partners and a trainee. They asked me to elaborate bits of my presentation, asked me about some statistics on London traffic (I gave a rough estimate but acknowledged that I did not know the exact numbers). Surprisingly there wasn't a lot about specific client impact - it was more testing general big picture awareness, how certain government regulations would impact on the construction.
    Then, after the 10 mins Q&A session, I was asked quite similar questions to my first interview; on the motivation for applying to MoFo. I was also asked a few strengths questions (what is your biggest strength? What is your biggest failure?). This was quite an informal conversation still, and it ended up with a chat about some of my interests outside of university.

    Second interview, part ii.
    I was given 10 minutes to read a case study. The case study was one page long in prose form, so it wasn't too difficult to handle. This was a M&A deal (again, unsure whether I can go into the specifics). I was asked to discuss all issues arising from the deal. I structured my answer according to MoFo's practice groups, and which issues they could tackle. After each issue, an associate would pause me, and ask a few questions. When I said someone technical (e.g. share-based purchase), they asked me for a definition and why it was a good idea, as opposed to an asset-based purchase. Afterwards, they gave me an opportunity to ask them any questions.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    (Please 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.

    1. Preparation for case studies - looking at TCLA's M&A guide was a lifesaver for me. Although I would say that you don't need very in-depth commercial knowledge, having a basic idea of the key terms is useful, and looks very impressive if you're able to define and apply them to case studies.

    2. Listening to a weekly commercial awareness podcast episode is quite helpful. I've always struggled to read the news daily and retain the information, but I've found that I'm much more of an aural learner. By making notes and listening to a weekly podcast, I saved so much time but also managed to get a brief sense of 'commercial awareness'.

    3. Be calm and confident! I know that this sounds very daunting, and honestly I have always been horrible at interviews. But confidence goes a long way - if you don't know an answer, just remember that firms are not out to catch you, but to see if you can stand your ground against a client who asks you something you don't know.
     
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