TCLA Vacation Scheme Applications Discussion Thread 2021-22 (#1)

NaimK

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May 6, 2019
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Great question @NaimK! The first thing I would say is that it is never worth being too prescriptive with these things - if one section is longer than another then that is not a problem :)

It is probably good to think about how you are roughly going to apportion each section though, as you have been doing. I think that the breakdown they provide you with actually closely mirrors the standard cover letter structure (1. Why law? 2. Why this firm? 3. Why you?) although the order is different and they have been slightly more prescriptive about what you should include in the 'Why you?' section.

As a result, I think that you could perhaps split your answer into thirds, with points 3 and 4 together combining to form around a third of your answer, or a little more, given that the single achievement of importance will probably not take up too much space. How about ~400 words for points 1 and 2 combined and ~250 words for 3 and 4 combined? Again, it does not matter if you veer away from this at all, but I generally agree with you that it is good to write in depth about your motivations!

Much appreciated, James. I was thinking that the extra curricular could be written in a way where I talk about the attributes gained from those hobbies etc. and that way I can leverage those attributes to indirectly answer the 'why me' section that isn't explicitly included in the firm's criteria.

No idea if that made any sense lol...but it makes sense to me. So thank you!
 

Putt5353

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Nov 20, 2021
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James Carrabino

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Much appreciated, James. I was thinking that the extra curricular could be written in a way where I talk about the attributes gained from those hobbies etc. and that way I can leverage those attributes to indirectly answer the 'why me' section that isn't explicitly included in the firm's criteria.

No idea if that made any sense lol...but it makes sense to me. So thank you!
@NaimK your question does make sense! I would caution you to avoid answering the question you want to answer and turning it into more of a paragraph abut your competencies than a paragraph about your achievements they are asking you for. That said, it would definitely enhance your application if you draw some of your attributes out of your achievements - you have to do it deftly, though, so as not to be perceived as failing to answer the question. I hope that helps :)
 
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jo

Star Member
Sep 11, 2021
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Hi everyone,

This is for those that have completed Freshfields' WG test for their direct TC app. Did you guys receive a confirmation email after submitting it? I have received one and I'm worried something went wrong. Have emailed grad recruitment but they don't open until Monday.

Would help put my nerves at ease if I knew if this was normal or if something went wrong.

Thanks
Hi, not sure if this is helpful since I applied for the summer vac scheme (not the TC) but I'm assuming the system they use for WG will be the same for both opportunities.

I didn't receive any email confirmation after I completed it. I asked my friend who also applied and she said she didn't get any confirmation either. So I think it's normal to not have an email confirmation.
 

iolitelegal

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Jan 16, 2022
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While I agree with your sentiment, it's probably healthier for people to let some their insecurities and fears out in a supportive and safe environment. The reality of the situation is that it's a stressful, long and pretty brutal application process - being in a forum where others can sympathise & relate lightens the load. I think everyone has their own ways of coping with stress - in the end, of course, doing your best is the only thing you can do as you say.
Yeah, I hear that. But I think a lot of it comes across - for lack of an appropriate euphemism - a bit 'needy' or adolescent. If you can't deal with the stress synonymous with the law application process (on your own accord) then you probably won't make a very good lawyer to start with. In short, yes it's a bit stressful, but it's nothing like the stressors you'll encounter during practice.
 

Rob93

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Dec 29, 2020
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Yeah, I hear that. But I think a lot of it comes across - for lack of an appropriate euphemism - a bit 'needy' or adolescent. If you can't deal with the stress synonymous with the law application process (on your own accord) then you probably won't make a very good lawyer to start with. In short, yes it's a bit stressful, but it's nothing like the stressors you'll encounter during practice.
The practice of law is famously made up of people who don't handle the stressors of practice - hence the high attrition and endemic mental health crises.

Also, people don't 'deal with stress' in a vacuum, and most have outlets of some kind. Having a bit of a moan in what should be a supportive and understanding environment is as good a coping mechanism as the next, especially if you can't afford therapy.
 

James Carrabino

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Yeah, I hear that. But I think a lot of it comes across - for lack of an appropriate euphemism - a bit 'needy' or adolescent. If you can't deal with the stress synonymous with the law application process (on your own accord) then you probably won't make a very good lawyer to start with. In short, yes it's a bit stressful, but it's nothing like the stressors you'll encounter during practice.
I know many lawyers who say that the application process is the hardest thing they had to go through - of course there is stress later on, but in my opinion nothing quite compares to the feeling that your career (and life) is not on track yet! That said, I am not yet in practice so you may well be right! If you are, though, then I think that the stress of the application process at least somewhat helped prepare me for what is to come 🤣
 

iolitelegal

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Jan 16, 2022
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I know many lawyers who say that the application process is the hardest thing they had to go through - of course there is stress later on, but in my opinion nothing quite compares to the feeling that your career (and life) is not on track yet! That said, I am not yet in practice so you may well be right! If you are, though, then I think that the stress of the application process at least somewhat helped prepare me for what is to come 🤣
I'm currently practicing as an analyst and wish to convert. I'm doing my applications around my current role (which is highly stressful) and it's a walk in the park compared, but that's just my view. I've been to hell and back before, so I guess I must just be used to it.
 
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Sfernan21

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Jan 26, 2021
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This might be a silly question but for the question in the Pennington’s app saying ‘Explain why you are applying to the location you have chosen?’ (250 words)

Am I okay to briefly explain my reasons, or is this question expecting more than this? The reason I ask is because other firms I have applied to who have asked this question the word limit is 150 max
I got through to an AC and I wrote about 140 words. Just be clear and succinct!
 
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M&Amakesmyday

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Oct 30, 2021
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Firstly, thank you all for all your replies. I was having a low day and all of these messages really touched me. I really do appreciate this community. You guys are honestly the best <3
netwooooorrrkkkkk, go to every event online and participate and force yourself to be on camera and talk, join societies in uni. just practice public speaking more, it would be hard at the beginning but then you will enjoy it a lot :)
Thank you! I have gone to events and my anxiety acts up. I try and force myself to talk, even if I do overthink everything I say afterward haha
It's not the most dazzling insight, but practice goes a long way. I also, if the formatting permits, like to get interviewers to tell me about stuff and then kind of springboard off of that.

It might be helpful to practice a bit with friends, family, or mentors, really anyone you're a bit more comfortable with. You can then kind of translate that energy into interview ('it's just a conversation') making any appropriate adjustments to tone, formality level, what have you.
Thanks for this! It's sometimes so hard to calm myself down and think of the interview as a conversation. I really need to try and think of it as talking to a bunch of friends rather than as the be all, end all to my future
Hi @commercialhoe-yer, it is great to hear from you - you sound like a very thoughtful person and I am sure that you absolutely have what it takes to get a TC! I definitely know shy/introverted people who have received TC offers and they are often the smartest and kindest of the bunch! Remember that the people interviewing you may have lacked confidence themselves at one point; that could subconsciously warm them to someone more like themselves. There is definitely an element of the luck of the draw when it comes to who your interviewers are.

I had the same idea in mind as you when I attended interviews and vac schemes. I remember identifying a whole range of charming, well-presented individuals at the beginning of the day or week, whom I was certain would be a shoo-in! This did not come from a place of annoyance, as they were often lovely people who seemed very knowledgeable - it simply made me feel like I was competing for one of the 'remaining' spots 🤣

Often I was completely surprised when I found out who ended up getting the offers - not because I think that those who did receive an offer didn't deserve it, but because I had formulated an image of the perfect lawyer in my mind and the individuals who fit this description did not always end up getting offers.

The point here is that everyone on your interview (including you) will be exceptionally well qualified. Ultimately, it will come down to how well prepared you are for your interview and whether you are a good fit with the firm. Many practice areas have significantly less client contact than others and being a 'people' person does not necessarily mean being able to work the room; it just means that you are kind, respectful and reliable to those who are entrusting you with their work. As long as you show up to your interviews with a lot of knowledge about the firm and genuine interest in its work, then you will have put yourself in the best position possible to get a TC. I really would not try to be someone who you are not.

Nevertheless, it is definitely possible to prepare answers to the 'casual' questions so that you do not feel caught out in your interview. You can find a list of some such questions which may arise here.

There are also some ways to work on building rapport, which I have written about here. Do let me know if this is all helpful and whether you have any other questions about it :)
Thank you so much for this message and for understanding. I appreciate all your kind words and this gives me so much hope that I will secure something. It's nice to know that other people do get it. This honestly made my day
I may not be the best person to answer this (I'm quite outgoing and a people-person) but here's a few things I did at my AC:

1) stayed relaxed and smiled - small step but the most important:)
2) talked about my personal *non-polished* experiences - so be authentic. Interviewers asked me to talk about a mistake, I said I applied for biochemistry initially and "absolutely hated" the lab job during an internship so it was a bad decision, they had a good laugh. I usually polish up 90% of my experiences and leave like 1-2 examples non-polished, so that my polished answers sound authentic too.
3) appropriate jokes - a bit more difficult, depends on the personality of your interviewer. If they're the poker-face type of person, or if you're not sure about your sense of humour, I'd be careful with this.
4) listened to what they said and show that I was interested in them - their work, experiences, hobbies. Engage with what they're saying. My interviewer mentioned that he's specialised in ESG, I brought up a recent case in ESG, and we joked about making the world a whole lot better (LOL).
5) advice: don't script your answers or deliberately make yourself sound like a politician or diplomat. Talk normally and use normal conversational language. And if you're an introvert, no need to pretend that you're not one - just communicate clearly, show good respect and friendliness.

Just my two cents!
Thank you so much! Haha what you're saying is gold. I literally am reading the advice and realising that I neither smile nor am I ever relaxed. I really need to work on not looking at interviews as an interrogation and appearing too formal and rigid.
 

jo

Star Member
Sep 11, 2021
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100
This is probably the 100th time I'm doing this (really sorry for repeatedly posting the same thing on the forum), but I've been ghosted for 3 weeks post-WG so I'm not sure if I should be emailing grad rec to check. I'm aware that grad rec is very busy now so just wanted to make sure that I'm only emailing if my case is actually unusual.

For those who applied to Freshfields summer VS, have you heard back post-WG?

✅ - received AC invite
👍 - no news post-WG
❌ - PFO post-WG

There was actually a mix-up for my WG as well so I'm just worried that emails from Freshfields aren't coming through to me as they should. The mix-up with my WG was that I had an email come through one day before the deadline of my WG reminding me to take the WG. Was shocked to see this as I had not received an email inviting me to WG in the first place (the invite was nowhere to be found in my junk folder either). I only got my WG test link after clarifying with grad rec that the original invite email never came through.
 

James Carrabino

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I'm currently practicing as an analyst and wish to convert. I'm doing my applications around my current role (which is highly stressful) and it's a walk in the park compared, but that's just my view. I've been to hell and back before, so I guess I must just be used to it.
Fair enough - you clearly have more experience with these things than me :) I have definitely met people who had a smooth experience with the application process, but I also know those who feel very comfortable in practice. It is really quite personal to the individual so we welcome any and every experience to be shared on the forum! I also get the sense that in law, different practice areas can create massively different amounts of stress. It does not necessarily come down to the amount of work, but rather the number of times one faces career-on-the-line moments in their job.

I do think you are right that some candidates may not always know fully what they are getting themselves into at the time of application (I was definitely one such candidate), but I don't think that means that they are not 'cut out' for law at all - we all face a learning curve!

At the same time, law is not for everyone - at TCLA, we all know at least one person who received multiple TC offers from top firms before deciding that commercial law was not for them :)
 
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James Carrabino

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Firstly, thank you all for all your replies. I was having a low day and all of these messages really touched me. I really do appreciate this community. You guys are honestly the best <3

Thank you! I have gone to events and my anxiety acts up. I try and force myself to talk, even if I do overthink everything I say afterward haha

Thanks for this! It's sometimes so hard to calm myself down and think of the interview as a conversation. I really need to try and think of it as talking to a bunch of friends rather than as the be all, end all to my future

Thank you so much for this message and for understanding. I appreciate all your kind words and this gives me so much hope that I will secure something. It's nice to know that other people do get it. This honestly made my day

Thank you so much! Haha what you're saying is gold. I literally am reading the advice and realising that I neither smile nor am I ever relaxed. I really need to work on not looking at interviews as an interrogation and appearing too formal and rigid.
It is so kind of you to take the time to write all of us a lovely response! Take care of yourself and have a lovely weekend! I am sure that you will start succeeding in interviews very soon :)
 

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