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Sullivan & Cromwell Interview 2021


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

Please specify what the interview was for.

Summer Vacation Scheme 2021

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

2:45-3 pm Meeting with Graduate Recruitment
3-3:30 pm Partner Interview
3:30-4 pm Partner Interview
4-4:30 pm Trainee Q&A

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

Meeting with Graduate Recruitment: This was a very informal chat and mostly consisted of questions that were not assessed (e.g. whether you require a visa to work, whether you intend to do a Masters before the LPC etc). However, there were a few standard motivational questions towards the end, and I was asked to compare and contrast the firms I had applied to and outline how Sullivan & Cromwell stands out from them.

Partner Interview x2: There were two successive interviews with one partner which followed a similar structure. Both were pretty conversational and a lot less formal than what you would expect during an interview. The first partner started off with a few questions about how I was adjusting to studying remotely, how I kept in touch with my peers, what kind of activities I undertook during lockdown and then they asked me some more specific questions about my CV. The second partner had a more traditional approach and asked me the standard motivational questions plus a few questions about my degree and modules I enjoy. Both partners spent the last 10 minutes of the interview on questions I had for them.

Trainee Q&A: This was very informal too and the trainee said that nothing gets reported back to graduate recruitment (although I took this with a pinch of salt). The trainee did not ask me anything, they only answered mine.

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.

Meeting with Graduate Recruitment: Spend a long time thinking about why S&C and how the firm is different from other US firms that focus on transactional work. Make sure you have an application strategy that you can explain (i.e. don't come across as someone who has applied to firms that have nothing in common). They really pride themselves on the fact that despite being a small firm with less offices than their competitors, their clients are equally high-profile, so a tip would be to focus on this.

Partner Interviews: Unlike most firms, S&C does not grill candidates on commercial awareness. They take that as a given for everyone who makes it to interview stage (this year they only invited 16 people out of 500+ applicants), so what they really care about is whether you would fit into the firm's culture. Don't be afraid to show your personality or talk passionately about experiences that are not law-related. Make sure you know your CV and Cover Letter by heart and can expand on any experience you mentioned there. Try to be as relaxed as possible and go along with the informal style of the interview. Have the confidence to make jokes and ask interesting questions. They let you take charge of your interview so make sure you guide it towards the areas that you are most comfortable discussing.

Were you successful?