Slaughter and May Interview 2019 - 2020

Discussion in 'Interview Experiences 2019 - 2020 Cycle' started by Jaysen, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    January 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    12pm arrival, taken to sit in the waiting area with other students. After 15 minutes, I was given the news story and then around 12:45 I was taken into the room but two partners. The interview from this point probably lasted just over an hour.

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

    News story - I was given a news article from the economist about oil prices. This was very stressful, I felt it was out of my depth. There were 5 pre-set questions that needed to be answered. These weren’t extremely specific.
    Interview - roughly an hour. First it was based on my CV and experiences, the last 15 minutes we delved into the article.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Article - give a one sentence summary, what is the writer arguing, do you agree, what is the conclusion, then there were some specific questions about the article. From the article stemmed other conversations and moral dilemmas - we discussed corporate responsibility, and somehow the conversation turned to the miners strikes in the 1980’s.

    Interview - this was very personal. We spoke about my own work experience, my first impressions of the firm etc. I was asked about a deal and then I cornered myself at this stage of the interview. The partner worked in the practice area that the deal was focused on. She asked me various questions regarding aspects of the deal, aspects about employment, IP, competition law.

    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.

    I think this is a cognitively challenging interview. The partner has the freedom to take the interview in whatever direction they wish so please be careful when discussing certain things as a “throw-away” comment to make yourself sound knowledgable. Slaughter and May partners are extremely scary (but nice)! Try to incorporate some news from the business or commercial world into the article side of the interview - but you WILL be asked more about this. When discussing a deal please know every aspect of the deal - majority of my interview came from my understanding of the deal.

    Lastly, the article discussion is the last part of the interview so please don’t forget about the article. I was caught off guard because I had partly forgotten what the article was about!

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  2. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    January 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Work Experience Scheme

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    9:45 -- read article
    10:15 (I think) -- interview

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

    1 1hr long interview with a senior associate in corporate and a disputes partner.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - Where I applied for university, how I ended up at my University (a bit of why I didn't get into Oxbridge)
    - How I found university, if there was anything unexpected, alluded to my lower mark in Tort so I explained that
    - My second-year modules, why I picked them, how I found them
    - The other firms I was applying to
    - Challenges facing law firms
    - Challenges facing clients
    - Any Slaughter and May deals I knew about/ the work they had done
    - Why I was interested in Big Tech/ antitrust issues (was in my cover letter)
    - How I juggled commitments
    - Some aspects of my CV (what I do in my spare time etc)

    Article
    - Was by the chief executive of Google promoting AI and using tech responsibly
    - Discussed how it was ironic that an article about using tech for good was written by the chief executive of Google
    - It was an area of interest for me and they knew that so they might have expected a bit more
    - They definitely challenged my viewpoints but I stuck by my arguments as I had a lot to back it up
    - Brought in commercial issues like the UK allowing Huwawei to develop 5G – How there shouldn’t be a limited number of players in any market, made connections between that and this issue

    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.

    Know broadly about big commercial issues. I brought in my own knowledge on various different commercial issues (wasn’t specifically asked about it but it definitely helped)
    - Huwawei/5G
    - Trade wars
    - Tech tax
    - Interest rates
    - Private equity vs corporate clients – how they react to different macroeconomic clients

    I also listened to podcasts all the time to prepare. Know why Slaughter and May in detail as well and research a couple deals.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  3. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Messages:
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    January 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme (2020) (September)

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    11.45am: Arrival
    12pm - 1pm: Interview with partner and associate

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

    There was only one assessment during the day. This was an hour-long interview with a partner and associate. Prior to this interview, however, candidates were given a short article on a subject of contemporary relevance, which then formed the second half of the interview.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    First half of interview:
    - Why did you choose your university?
    - Why did you choose your subject? As I do not study law, I was asked why I chose not to study law.
    - General degree questions: What modules are you taking? Which is your favourite?
    - What do you do outside of studying? What do you do to relax?

    Second half of interview:
    - Summarise the article's argument
    - Do you agree? On what basis does the writer come to his or her conclusions? Is this deduction logical?

    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.

    For better or worse, the interview is in many ways comparable to that of an Oxbridge interview. This is especially true in the second half of the interview, as the partner will undoubtedly challenge you on your views. My article, for example, concerned the ascendance of China in the international order. Whilst I maintained that this did not constitute a complete overturning of the contemporary world order (as China can be incorporated into the preponderant system of liberal-democratic capitalism), the interviewing partner strongly disagreed. China, he contended, was unique and should be seen as revolutionising global politics and economics.

    Accordingly, my main piece of advice is to recognise that disagreement and debate in the interview are inevitable. You should not, therefore, feel defensive if you face disagreement or a requirement to justify your views; the interviews are seeking to ferret out your reasoning and ability to withstand confrontation confidently.

    Additionally, this is perhaps the interview where reading widely - both in terms of news and general culture - is most fruitful. My interview, rather strangely, ended up discussing eighteenth-century French liberalism (I suggested that this was the module I found most interesting, and the associate shared this enthusiasm) and global politics.

    I don't think these comments should deter anyone, though. I found the interview genuinely interesting and - due to its comparative absence of a rigid structure - most similar to a conversation.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  4. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    December 2019

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Training Contract

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    12.20pm Arrival, 12.30pm Written Exercise, 1.45pm Interview with Two Partners, 2.50pm Tour, 3.00pm Interview with HR

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

    Written Exercise - You are taken to a room with a computer and a stack of documents in. You have one hour to read through the brief and the documents and complete the exercise on the computer. It was 1-2 pages typed. My scenario was based on different business growth strategies. I didn't think there was that much to read through and having some kind of SWOT analysis when you go through the documents will help to structure your brief. You are asked to advise a fictitious client and have to pick one option out of three and use the information to justify why. This element is testing commercial awareness so brushing up on business growth strategies and why businesses do R&D, follow certain strategies and the advantages of each will help, along with knowledge of the current economic climate and events that may affect business decisions. I did not struggle to complete the exercise within an hour, but I had done written exercises before so I think this may have helped with my ability to quickly read through everything and structure my brief.

    Interview with Two Partners - This was the hardest element of the day and it lasted around 45 minutes to an hour. After the written exercise, I was given a short opinion piece on the collapse of WeWork from the FT and a set of questions which I had to go through and jot answers down to. I had around 15-20 minutes to do this. After this, I was taken to the room with the two Partners. They had my CV and cover letter in front of them and took notes throughout the interview. Having interviewed at three firms by this point, this was by far my strangest and least structured interview, which I had been warned would be the case by others that had interviewed at the firm. The interview is split into two sections: questions about you and the article. It started off with standard motivational questions, asking about my motivations for applying. I was not asked the standard 'why law' or 'why Slaughter and May' but a vague opener along the the lines of 'why are you here today' which I found hard to answer succinctly. I was asked to justify two bad grades from university (I have mostly firsts and I had two low 2.1s in second year) as well as the university I went to and why I hadn't applied for Oxbridge. I was also asked why I chose the course I did and they questioned my suitability for commercial law, as I had a lot of charity work on my CV, saying I would make a better public lawyer. I wasn't asked any competency questions at all, or really much that required me to talk about work experience. Every time I gave an answer, it would be questioned, or they would try to follow up on it and ask you further questions. This meant we spent around 15-20 minutes discussing morals in politics. About 2/3 of the way into the interview, we turned to the opinion piece I had made notes on. I was asked to summarise the article and my opinion on what the author was arguing. They then asked relatively straightforward questions based on the article, such as parties involved and who would be affected by it. I found it hard to answer the questions, as I was fairly flustered by the interviewing style by this point.

    Tour - This was a short tour with a current trainee in which you could ask questions.

    Interview with HR - This only lasted around 10 minutes. I sat down with a member of HR and asked questions about the day and my motivations for applying.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - Tell us about yourself and how you have ended up here today
    - What attracted you to Slaughter and May in particular?
    - What would a trainee solicitor be doing day to day?
    - What skills do you think trainee solicitors need?
    - I see you have an excellent academic record. What happened in second year?
    - Why commercial law? Your CV would make you seem more suited to public law
    - Why did you choose your university? Why not Oxbridge?
    - Why did you choose your course and not law?
    - Which stakeholders would be affected? (Article)
    - Summarise the article and do you agree with the opinion of the author? (Article)

    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.

    Written Exercise - Brush up on your commercial awareness, especially in relation to business growth strategies. Type quickly, take time to proofread and have a good structure.

    Interview with Two Partners - I didn't find that much of my firm research could be used to answer the questions. I have heard from trainees at the firm that the Partners sometimes adopt a good cop/bad cop role, even though I'm not sure if this was the case for my interview. Expect them to question every single answer you give. They are doing this to see how you cope under pressure, but it didn't give me a very positive impression of the firm. However, this may suit different people. The main thing to do before the interview is to brush up on your CV and cover letter, as they will ask you questions mainly from this. Also prepare questions to ask at the end.

    Tour - Nothing to prepare. A short informal tour and chat with a current trainee.

    Interview with HR - I was unsure what this interview was for, as they asked me questions I had already been asked in my Partner interview. Fairly short and surrounds your motivation for the Firm, what your start dates would be etc. This bit is nothing to worry about.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  5. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    January 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    9.30 am: Arrival (for an interview scheduled to begin at 9.45 am)
    9.40 am: Received news article to read though
    10 am: Taken to interview room
    10-11 am: Interview by one partner and one senior associate

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

    News Article: Given roughly 20 minutes to process information from article. Mine was from the Times but I understand they can also be from the Financial Times or Economist. You can take notes, and I would advise it, but not for memory purposes since you'll have the article in the interview anyway; just to make it clearer in your own mind. You'll discuss the article for maybe 20 minutes during the actual interview, though it felt like a lot longer to me...
    Question-based Interview (excluding section devoted to article discussion): Lasted roughly 40 minutes.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    I wasn't asked the two main questions I expected and was dreading - namely, why law (since I'm a non-law student) and why Slaughters. The partner was non-law (maths) himself, and quizzed me a lot on the topic I'd chosen for my English dissertation and why I'd chosen to write about a historical romance novelist. Actually a lot of time was dedicated to pressing me on how my dissertation had any relevance to modern life. Not something I'd expected but I enjoyed it a lot!

    I have a lower grade than the others in my A-levels, so I was asked to explain that. Other, more typical questions in this part of the interview were:

    - What qualities do I have that would make me a good lawyer?
    - What makes firms different from each other?
    - Example of a time I had to build a relationship with someone I disagreed with
    - What criticism do I think people would level at me?

    The article discussion was a LOT tougher and had the more 'off the wall' questions, a bit like how Oxbridge admissions interviews can be. I was asked chemistry questions (haven't done that since GCSE) and they were clearly enjoying just asking me whatever came into their heads at the time - I could see that a lot of the questions I was being asked were spontaneous, and I wasn't necessarily supposed to be able to answer them.

    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.

    Advice for the interview, and everything on the whole day: CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE. I said some pretty stupid things which in the days afterwards made me want to throw myself off a cliff when I remembered them, and I disagreed with them on a fair number of occasions (gently obviously, but I made it clear I had opinions of my own). I'm not naturally confident but I faked it like mad, which meant that even the stupid things I said didn't, in hindsight, sound as horrible as I feared they did. Confidence also helped me speak more eloquently, so it was more like a conversation than an interview. Of course if you don't know what you're talking about, just say so instead of pretending, but if you DO know, then make sure you sound like it.

    If you can show enthusiasm about something, it would be great too! I recognise that this is more up to the interviewers' inclinations, because I was lucky enough to get questions which enabled me to work in my love of rowing and historical romance books, and this probably helped to 'humanise' me to them. Don't go on about your hobbies, but I don't think it hurts to show your extracurricular interests.

    I would advise just making sure you have answers to all the common questions. If there's something you'll obviously be asked about, like in my case a lower grade that doesn't match my other A-levels, be comfortable talking about it. Also, at the start of the interview I was told they'd play devil's advocate and propose things they didn't necessarily believe in, just to let a discussion flourish. This helped a lot.

    Realistically, I think a massive portion (at least half) of my success is attributable to luck, not intelligence or anything on my part. So don't stress about factors out of your control, e.g. which partner might interview you, or the possibility of getting a horrible question. Stay relaxed and it'll go a lot better!

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  6. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    November 2019

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Training Contract 2022

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    I arrived at the firm at 1:30pm. I was the only person being interviewed this day and was directed to the reception area to wait for a member of graduate recruitment to take me into a room for the written case study.

    My written case study began at 1:45 and lasted for an hour.

    I was then taken back to the reception area to read through an Economist article for 15 minutes ahead of my partner interview.

    The partner interview began at 2:00pm and ended around 3:00pm.

    I was then collected by a trainee who I chatted with until 3:45pm.

    My final interview with graduate recruitment began at 4:00pm and ended around 4:45pm.

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

    Case Study - 1 hour to read through a bundle on different strategy options for a fictional pharmaceutical company and write a document including your analysis of the different strategies and your recommendation.

    I was then taken into the reception area to read through an Economist article on the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement and given 15 minutes to read through and take notes.

    A partner then came to pick me up from the reception area to take me into the interview room. The interview with the partners was very relaxed and I actually enjoyed this aspect of the assessment day the most. The majority of the interview questions were based on my application and CV and then mid-way through the interview we moved to a debate on the article I was given beforehand. We then abruptly moved back to questions on me and my experiences. This interview lasted just over one hour.

    I was then collected from the interview room by a trainee who took me to the cafe and we had a chat about her experiences at the firm, her journey, my journey into law and the assessment day thus far. This part lasted for approximately 45 minutes.

    I was then taken for my final interview with graduate recruitment. This felt more informal and a lot of the questions were the same as the ones I was asked by the partners with the exception of one. This interview was approximately 45 minutes long.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    1. Why law?
    2. Why Slaughter and May?
    3. Why not go into human rights law?
    4. What was your dissertation about?
    5. Why not investment banking?
    6. What do you think about our international strategy?
    7. Asked about discrepancy between first year grades and final year grades.
    8. Which other firms have you applied to?
    9. What do you do for fun?
    10. Why do you want to settle down in London?

    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.

    Case study: Be very conscious of the time throughout this part of the assessment day, if you do this you will have enough time to read through all the documents, write your brief and review it before handing it back to Graduate Recruitment. Take a highlighter with you so that you can color code the relevant information that you will incorporate into your brief. When typing your brief make sure you have a clear structure and have a section dedicated to your recommendation. This aspect was not too technical and had more of a business focus so don't be worried if you are a non-law candidate.

    Partner interview: Be confident. The partners were very friendly and genuinely want to get to know you. There were no trick questions and all of the questions were based on the candidate. No one knows you better than yourself so analyze your application and CV thoroughly and prep for potential questions and you should be fine. The partners will bring up the article you were given at any point in the interview, mine was brought up around mid-interview. Make sure you take notes so that when asked the questions you have some points to trigger your memory about the key points in the article. They may push you in this part of your interview, so hold your ground and don't contradict your own arguments. Make sure you have questions for the interviewers, as you will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview.

    Trainee tour: This part of the assessment day is non-assessed so use it as an opportunity to ask the trainee any questions you may have about the firm, their application journey etc.

    Graduate recruitment interview: This interview is very relaxed in comparison to the rest of the day. The questions I were asked were very similar to the ones I was asked in the partner interview. Make sure that you sound just as passionate in this one despite being asked the same questions. The member of the team that interviewed me was very friendly and immediately put me at ease so be yourself and be confident.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  7. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Messages:
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    Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.

    January 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    09:30: Register at the front desk. You are given an article to read and it forms the basis of the interview
    10:00: Interview with a partner and an associate
    11:00: Depart

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

    Given half an hour to read a news article based on a topic and then you will be asked for a summary and questioned on it by the interviewers.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Why Slaughter and May?
    Why commercial law?
    Why did you choose the solicitor route over a barrister?
    Why was x grade the lowest of your University grades so far and what have you done to fix it?
    Why did I choose my University?
    Why did I choose a course that has an international element to it?
    Why is going abroad important to me?
    Would I say I fit in well in new cultures?
    What do I do away from academics?
    How do I manage my time?
    Do I create my own revision schedule and if so, how?
    How did I gain my other work experiences?
    Why Slaughters over the other experiences?
    How has each work experience developed my desire to pursue a career in commercial law?

    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.

    Know your CV and cover letter inside out. This is the only information they have on you so far so they will be sure to use it and ask questions. Try and make the interview as much as a conversation as possible. Both of the interviewers sat really straight-faced across from me and it was hard to get a read of the room. It's important to have a really good grasp of any potential commercial issues in the news as the news article forms the main of the interview. Be prepared for anything. I had questions thrown at me from populism to AI - be prepared to discuss and justify your viewpoint and defend it when challenged.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     

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