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Penningtons Manches Cooper Interview 2021

BK

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Aug 26, 2020
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Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.
February 2021

Please specify what the interview was for.

Summer Vacation Scheme 2021

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

The assessment centre for the 2021 vacation scheme was run virtually. It lasted for three hours between 14.00-17.00, and was composed of three parts.

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

The written assessment was divided into three separate tasks. The first was a drafting exercise, where we were asked to proofread a fictitious email to a client for spelling and grammar mistakes. The other two tasks involved drafting a letter of claim and a claim form. We were able to work on the written tasks for the whole duration of the assessment centre, apart from during the times that had been allocated to the other tasks.

The second part of the assessment involved a 20 minute interview with a senior associate. This was predominantly a competency-based interview, although they did also ask about my motivations for pursuing a career in law as well as a few commercial questions.

The third part of the assessment involved a mock client interview. This was with a member of HR and a trainee solicitor who played the role of the client. I was given 10 minutes before the interview to read the task brief, which was about a page long. I then had 10 minutes to interview the client in order to ascertain the material facts. No prior legal knowledge was needed for this exercise.

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. Written exercise: there is not much that can be done to prepare for this as the tasks change every year. The only thing I would advise is knowing the basic structure for various legal documents such as letters of claim and claim forms.
  2. Interview: in order to prepare for the interview, I would research the firm as much as possible, paying particular attention to the recent merger. What has the firm gained from this? What direction will the firm take in light of it? I would also advise composing a table of common competency-based questions and memorising it. This is what I did and it definitely paid off.
  3. Mock client interview: again, there is not much that can be done to prepare for this as you only get given the brief 10 minutes before the start of the interview. However, they do give you a topic in advance of the assessment on which the legal scenario will focus (mine was an employment issue). It is useful having an understanding of the basic legal issues at hand, although this is not essential. I would advise having a rough structure in mind for the interview, in order to ensure you cover the key points. Finally (and perhaps most obviously), make sure you smile and allow your personality to shine through.
Were you successful?
Yes