White & Case Interview 2019 - 20

Discussion in 'Interview Experiences 2019 - 2020 Cycle' started by Jaysen, May 14, 2020.

  1. Jaysen

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

    February 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    Interview (45 minutes), written exercise (1 hour)

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

    When you arrive there you will have a competency based interview. The interview itself is very relaxed and friendly. It starts off with why law and what your experiences have been so far. They may ask you to speak about yourself so be prepared to say what makes you special and mention a few experiences/awards you've got. The questions I got were - why law - give us an example of a time you worked in a team - tell us about a deal that stood out to you and why - give us a time you had to work under pressure - give us an example of a time you had to work to a tight deadline - give us an example of a time you showed initiative - give us an example of a time you received negative feedback.

    The interview is about 30 mins and I actually really enjoyed it! Then you get taken to a meeting room where you get a laptop and have to complete a written exercise. You get instructions that a client has read some newspaper articles and is concerned and is coming into the office tomorrow to discuss it with your team. A partner emails you to ask you to look into the newspaper articles and to write a memo in light of the meeting. You basically have to cover 3 things - 1. what the main issues are for your client. 2. how to affects your client. 3. thing you may have to consider going forward.

    The articles are based on the recent insolvencies of companies like BHS, Newlook etc! The client buys properties and lets them out to these companies. Just make sure you're familiar with writing a memo and don't worry too much about this. The main thing is not to bring any outside knowledge - it's just about having the ability to write professionally and be able to summary vast amounts of information into a one page document.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    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.


    Learn how to write a memo and follow STAR in the interview. My feedback was that I did not provide enough analysis.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  2. 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.

    Summer Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    10:30 arrival, 10:45 Interview with graduate recruitment, 11:30-45 written exercise, 12:30/12:45 coffee with trainee at the office

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

    There is an interview with graduate recruitment and associate which is supposed to last around 45 minutes followed by questions you are allowed to ask them. Afterwards, there is a written exercise which lasts around 1 hour and then you are able to go have coffee with a trainee afterwards to ask more questions about the firm.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - What has led you to apply to White & Case?
    - What makes a good trainee solicitor?
    - What is the role of a trainee solicitor?
    - Talk about a time when you had to come up with a creative solution
    - Challenges for a trainee solicitor
    - Why do you want to become a solicitor and not a barrister?
    - Tell me about a time when you worked in a team
    - What would you do if a partner and an associate asked you to do the same work and it was the same deadline?
    - What do you do in your spare time?
    - What are you looking to get out of an international secondment?
    - Brexit and impact on law firms
    - Talk about a commercial story that interests you
    - Challenges in the legal sector
    - Time when you received constructive feedback and how you dealt with it
    - Anything else you have not mentioned but would like to bring up?

    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 the interview with graduate recruitment and associate, it is supposed to be conversational so try not to make your answers sound too forced or too rehearsed. Also remember that they do not have your application in front of you so it leaves some flexibility and is a chance for you to have some control as to what you want to talk about and discuss. For the competency questions, stick to using the CAR/STAR method (emphasising the action part/what you did the most). Since the graduate recruitment and associate will have different roles, I would advise that you ask a question/questions that will be relevant to both of their roles e.g. the impact of tech on their roles etc. Definitely focus on what makes White & Case unique (their practice areas and strengths, the fact that they are one of the only firms to guarantee an international secondment etc.) Think about what the benefits of an international secondment are and how that helps you as a trainee and why the firm offers this. Think about commercial awareness stories that interest you and be prepared to talk about them at interview. Be ready to have a few of the firm's deals and awards up your sleeve to talk about and why they interest you. Think about what skills they want to see from you and are testing you on and find instances where you have displayed such skills e.g. when have you shown resilience?

    The written exercise is relatively straightforward but it can feel that there is a lot of information to get through in a short space of time. Definitely practice mock written exercises online and keep an eye on the timings. Think about making sure that your grammar/spelling is correct and the format of your memo is easy to understand, clear and concise. I think the hardest aspect of the written exercise is the timing as it goes by very quickly.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  3. Jaysen

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

    February 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Spring Vacation Scheme 2020

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    10.30 - 11.15 - Grad rec and partner interview
    11.15 - 12.15 - Written Exercise

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

    N/A

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Why law?
    Why White & Case?
    Who are our main competitors?
    Tell us about the 2020 strategy?
    Talk about a time you had to come up with a creative solution
    What is the role of a trainee? What challenges would you face as a trainee?
    What would you do if a partner and an associate asked you to do the same work and it was the same deadline?
    What do you do in your spare time?

    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.


    So White & Case do their assessments differently from everyone else as you are by yourself for the couple of hours that you are at the firm. I found this style of interview a lot harder as it meant that I could not relax as easily.

    The first part of the assessment was the CV-blind interview with the partner and graduate recruitment. They both were really friendly when I came in and asked why law, why White & Case to start off with and about a recent deal that I was interested in. Be sure to be prepared to answer any follow up questions on this, I talked about the Saudi Aramco IPO and asked me what an IPO was afterwards. The interview also consisted of some competency questions, as well asking me about what I thought the role of a trainee was and the challenges I would face as a trainee. Also make sure you know a lot about the firms USPs such as the international seat and the 2020 strategy because the questions are tailored towards this. The CV blind aspect definitely meant that you had to clarify some topics before answering questions, and there is an opportunity at the end to tell them anything you haven’t covered, which I would definitely utilise to ensure that you can completely sell yourself. It felt quite conversational so try and relax and enjoy the process!

    The second part of the assessment was the written exercise (on a laptop!). This involved writing a memo to a partner for a meeting with a commercial property client about the decline in retail, in particular shopping centres by summarising 3 articles and writing about the issues this would present the client. I found this bit quite hard as the articles were of financial times style and I found it hard to read and understand the information thoroughly in the time you were given (an hour). For me, I found the approach that Jaysen has put in the forum somewhere for structuring a memorandum the best way to approach this as it allowed me to use clear headings and give myself time restraints to complete each one. My feedback for this was that it was good but needed more attention to detail so make sure you leave 5 minutes at the end in order to make sure it’s a well-presented document.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  4. 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.

    Winter Vacation Scheme 2019

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    9.50am Arrival, 10am Interview with an Associate and a member of Graduate Recruitment, 10.50am Written Exercise

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

    Interview - This is conducted blind so your interviewers will not have a copy of your application in front of them. A brief introduction and 45 minutes of questions.

    Written Exercise - An hour to complete a typed written exercise. You are given a stack of documents and a brief and are asked to read through and complete the brief within one hour.

    Firm Tour - A short tour conducted by a trainee

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - Tell us about yourself and how you have ended up here today
    - Why did you apply to our vacation scheme?
    - Tell us about a time you have been resilient
    - Tell us about a time you faced a challenge as a team and how did you overcome it
    - In a group situation, what is the role you are most likely to take?
    - What do you think are the skills and attributes needed to become a successful trainee?
    - Tell us about one weakness you think you have
    - What do you think the benefits are of our guaranteed overseas seat?
    - Tell us about a time you recently received feedback and how you acted on it
    - Have we worked on anything recently that has interested you?
    - Do you have any questions?

    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.


    Interview - Be yourself and be friendly. The are looking for individuals they can see themselves working with and everyone I have met at the firm has been personable and pleasant. Prepare, prepare, prepare. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do thorough firm research. I linked most of my personal examples back to the firm and I was able to confidently answer questions because of the time I spent researching the firm, which I did via multiple sources. Ask questions at the end that cannot be answered from the firm's website, but instead questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to. I prepared 3/4 questions and ended up asking a new one based on things that were spoken about in my interview. As it is blind, you do not need to worry about them picking up on specific things you wrote in your application form, but instead it is an opportunity to pick out the very best examples which will show you in the best possible light.

    Written Exercise - I do not think it is possible to prepare much for this element of the day in advance. Brushing up on key commercial awareness may be useful, such as business growth strategies and what is going on currently in the world. My main advice would be to first read the brief, and then quickly skim all of the documents you are given in order to answer the questions. Time is of the essence, so completing the task quickly and following a good structure will help. Also taking a few minutes at the end to proofread is vital, as solicitors must have a keen attention to detail.

    Firm Tour - There is nothing to prepare for this element. A trainee takes you round the firm and it is also an opportunity to ask questions. This part is not assessed, but remember to be polite and ask questions.

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  5. Jaysen

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

    February 2020

    Please specify what the interview was for.

    Spring Vacation Scheme

    Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

    Arrival- 11.45

    Interview with Grad Rec and Senior Associate- 12.00 until 12.45

    Written exercise- 12.55 until 13.55

    Tour of the office with a trainee- 14.00 until 14.30

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

    I was kept on my own for the whole day. I waited in reception where a member of graduate recruitment met me and took me to the interview room. After the interview they walked me back to reception. I waited there for a few minutes and then another member of graduate recruitment took me into the same room that I had my interview to do the written task. After that, he took me back to reception again where I met the trainee who showed me around the office.

    Interview
    - The interview lasted approximately 45 mins.
    - The interview was pretty relaxed, I had one member of grad rec and a senior associate. It was a blind interview so they didn't have my application form in front of them. They started off by asking me why law, so I explained my 'journey' and throughout the interview they asked me some questions based off what I said, as well as some more general questions.

    Written exercise
    - It lasted one hour
    - It was based on the struggling retail sector. You have to prep a fictional partner for a meeting with a client who is a retail landlord. You have to read three articles, summarise them, pick out the main issues and suggest solutions/ precautions for the client.
    - The exercise is completed on a computer. You are given a notepad and pen to make notes on but these are not assessed.

    Trainee tour
    - This lasted around 30 mins
    - We had a coffee in the canteen and then he showed me around the office.
    - It was very relaxed. A great opportunity to ask questions about trainee life.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Why law?
    Which overseas seat would I be interested in?
    Have I worked in a team where someone was not pulling their weight?
    Where else have I applied?
    Why have I mainly applied to US firms?
    Why did I apply to Freshfields if my other applications have been to US firms?
    Have I had any leadership roles?
    How did the GDL compare to history degree?
    Explain a W&C deal that interests me and why?
    What are some current challenges in legal industry?
    What do clients expect from W&C?
    What is my greatest achievement?

    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.


    Interview
    - Try to answer as honestly and personally as possible and make sure that you have prepared three or more questions to ask them at the end. They were both very friendly and made me feel relaxed so the interview is nothing to stress about! If you're prepared you'll be absolutely fine!
    - They don't have your application in front of them so be detailed in your answers.
    - They asked me at the end if there was anything else I wanted to say talk about that I hadn't had a chance to. This isn't a trick question! I said 'no' because we had covered a lot already and there genuinely wasn't anything else to add. I still got the offer.

    Written exercise
    - During the written exercise do not spend too long reading the articles, focus on getting your points down. You cannot prep for the exercise, but reading articles from The Economist and/or The Financial Times may be useful to get used to reading commercial texts.
    - Including wider commercial awareness is good but not essential. All the information you need is in the articles. However, if you have anything to add based on your own knowledge- and you have the time to do so- then include it!

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     
  6. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    Messages:
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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.

    My interview was at 11am and arrived 20 mins prior. I was told to wait in reception for a graduate recruitment member. A few other candidates also arrived for their interviews whilst I was waiting for mine

    At around 11am, I was greeted by HR and taken to a room to commence the competency interview. This is conducted by a member of HR and a senior associate from the firm. They are really friendly and help you to settle down.

    The interview lasted for nearly 45mins and involved competency and motivational questions. Important - the HR nor the associate in the room will have your CV/application as the firm is now conducting interviews on CV-blind basis. So, you will have to make sure that you explain everything well, and also to draw on your various experiences when answering the questions!

    Most of the questions will be asked by the senior associate with a few follow-ups from the graduate recruitment in the room.

    Before the interview ends, you are given the opportunity to ask some questions and they will answer them, of course depending on how long you're interview had gone on for.

    After that, you are taken back by the HR member to the lobby area where you will wait for the written exercise to start

    In the meantime, another candidate had finished their interview and I was taken to a room to start the written exercise with them. This involved reading various printed news reports on a particular topic, summarising the key points and providing suggestions. The topic of the news articles is related to a fictional client scenario that you are provided with. A member of HR will read out the instructions and then leave you in the room, to commence the written exercise. This is done on laptops, not by hand!

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

    Competency Interview: 45mins
    Written exercise: 1hr

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Competency interview:

    - Why White & Case?
    - Why did you study law?
    - Why are you deciding a career in commercial law and not other areas of law?
    - What is the role of a trainee solicitor in a large deal?
    - If you had to choose, what four seats would you pick for your TC and why?
    - Which office would you go to for your international secondment and why?
    - Any deal that White & Case worked on that interested you, and why?

    Written exercise:

    - You will be guided by the instruction notes before you start. There are questions to guide you, and you are expected to structure your written response with reference to these questions

    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.


    Competency interview:

    - Make sure you know the firm inside out, including their key practice areas and global network
    - Go over your application and CV, as this is a CV-blind interview. They will only know what you tell them!
    - Take time to research and understand a few deals. Make sure you are able to explain why this deal interests you in particular
    - Prepare a few questions to ask. Maybe 2 for the senior associate and 1 for HR. But make sure these are tailored, and not just generic questions that could be answered using a google search

    Written exercise:

    - You can't do much preparation for this, as it is dependent on the topic you get
    - Remember basic structuring (Internal memo style not an essay/report)
    - Avoid copying the article word-by-word. Make sure you delve into a detailed analysis (with reference to the client scenario you are presented with)

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  7. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,399
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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.

    3:15pm arrival, 3:20-3:50pm Interview with an associate & HR, 4pm-5pm Written task, 5-5:30pm office tour with a trainee

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

    The interview, lasting about 30 minutes, was a CV/application blind process, so the questions were very generic questions - a mix of competency, personal and some commercial (not too much of this!). The written task, lasting an hour, was to type up a meeting memo for a partner/associate who is going into a meeting with a commercial landlord client about the high street crisis in the UK based on 4 articles given to you.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    Tell me about yourself? Why White & Case? Why solicitor? What sort of firms are you applying to? How have you worked in a team? How have you dealt with working with people from a different culture to you? Where would you want to go on your overseas seat? Are you more of a leader or follower? How do you stay motivated when doing more repetitive/menial tasks? How do you deal with difficulties/challenges? What is a recent deal that White & Case have worked on that has interested you?

    Written exercise:

    - You will be guided by the instruction notes before you start. There are questions to guide you, and you are expected to structure your written response with reference to these questions

    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.


    Since the interview is CV/application blind (there are both advantages and disadvantages to this), I would say really try to build a rapport with your interviewers, even though it's more difficult since they're going through a list of questions they want to ask and it felt much less conversational/natural than other interviews I had. The written task, I'd say to summarise the main points that come across overall from the different articles rather than making a detailed summary for each and also to use headings/subheadings to make it structured and clear.

    Were you successful?

    No
     
  8. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
    Staff Member

    Messages:
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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.

    You can choose from different 2 hour slot options throughout the day once you get invited to the assessment day. I picked a 10:30am-12:30pm slot.

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

    There's first a 45 minute CV blind interview with a member of grad rec and an associate/ partner. This is followed by a one your written exercise. After the written exercise, a trainee gives you a tour of the office.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    The questions I was asked were about my interest in the firm, any of their recent cases/deals that might have interested me, my understanding of what a trainee does and what I think would be challenging for me were I to train at White & Case. As the interview is CV blind, they asked me about my interests and experiences and what I had gained from them. I was also asked some questions about significant developments in the legal industry and how that might impact change. There were some questions about how developments in the present macro-economic scenario could impact their work. There was an opportunity at the end to ask unto 3 questions.

    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.

    Interview: make sure you read up on the firm's recent work and think about why that interests you. Have 3-4 questions prepared to ask at the end. Be mindful of the fact that it's CV blind so you might have to make an added effort to highlight things you want to.

    Written exercise: It's a summary client briefing exercise and you get given a stack of articles. I found the time pressure to be the hardest part of the exercise so do constantly monitor your time. Try and use the PESTLE analysis. Make sure you have a clear and concise structure, preferably follow the one they hint at. Link the different articles together.


    Were you successful?

    No
     
  9. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,399
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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.

    10:30 Arrival
    10:40 Brief talk from Graduate Recruitment
    10:45 Competency Interview
    11:30 Written Exercise
    12:30 Coffee with a Trainee

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

    Interview - 45 minute competency interview with 1 member of Graduate Recruitment and a Senior Associate. You have time at the end to ask questions.

    Written Exercise - 60 minute written exercise. You will be brought to a room and given a pack of instructions and a laptop. I had to draft a memo for a partner as per the instructions.

    Please list any interview questions you were asked.

    - Why White & Case?
    - Name a time when I have had to deal with constructive criticism
    - Discuss a time when I have worked in a team and someone hasn’t
    pulled their weight?
    - What tasks do you expect to do as a trainee?

    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.

    Interview - It's very much like a conversation so try to stay calm and friendly
    Written Exercise - You have some time to get through the material so make sure you read everything thoroughly (especially the instructions)

    Were you successful?

    Yes
     

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