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Interview: Tips & Advice

2016

"Be honest. Prepare for many questions about how you'd behave in a law firm."
First year trainee, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
"There's an application form, an online test and an assessment day (which includes an interview). Read the news and make sure you know what's going on in the world (even just recurring themes in current affairs). Know your own application inside out because you will be asked about it. I prepared using the 'STAR' examples of competencies – this really helped in my interview."
First year trainee, London
"Improve your commercial awareness. Be confident and know what you're talking about."
First year trainee, London
"I had a group activity, case study and partner interview. My advice is to come across as sociable and someone who the firm could put in front of a client. My cohort of trainees is extremely varied, but this quality is common between all of us."
First year trainee, London
"Next to the normal competency-based interview, there is a role play presentation with a partner. It's therefore advisable that applicants think about how they would communicate a legal problem to a commercial client (who has no legal education) and how to concisely fit several issues into a short presentation. In addition, there is likely to be a group exercise so candidates should have a good idea about how to best act in a group – specifically how to interact with the other group members without being too forceful or shy (it's about striking the right balance)."
First year trainee, London
"There is an online application form, an online test, an assessment day (group exercise, skills-based task, partner interview) and then either a job offer or a vacation scheme. At the end of the vacation scheme there is another, much shorter application form (more based around what you've done on the vac scheme) and then a short and relatively informal partner interview."
First year trainee, London
"There's an online assessment followed by an assessment day consisting of a group exercise and a competency and case-study interview. I recommend preparing by revising your own CV, knowing what you like about the firm and having some clear ideas about what being a corporate lawyer means and why that is something you want to do. The level of preparation expected from you will depend on what stage in your legal education you are at. This means that, to some extent, you should not worry if you are a non-law student."
First year trainee, London

2015

"It involved a group interview, case study and a competency interview. The case study was challenging but they give you sufficient time to read the documents and digest the information."
First year trainee, London
"The firm's process involves a short application form (with a few longer form questions), followed by a number of online tests and then finally an assessment day in the office."
Second year trainee, London
"My key tip would be to be yourself - it's important that you find yourself to be a good fit with a firm, and if you haven't been yourself at interview you might find yourself a bit at sea once you start."
Second year trainee, London
"Be yourself as there is nothing worse than putting on a 'show'. You should show the right attitude and common-sense: prepare well and know about firm/current affairs."
First year trainee, Tokyo
"The firm has an online application form, verbal and logical reasoning tests then an interview day consisting of a group exercise, case study interview and competency interview. Practise the reasoning tests well and ensure that you have an understanding of the big picture issues affecting the legal sector. Try to go in with an understanding of how a law firm works. Most of all, be friendly and supportive to the other applicants - the interviewers are ultimately looking for people they feel that they could work with."
First year trainee, London
"I believe that the firm values commercial awareness above all else - so get cultivating your commercial awareness."
Second year trainee, London

2014

"Get to know the firm well and find out what differentiates it for you: a vacation scheme can be a very useful way of doing this."
Second year trainee, London
"Demonstrate that you have researched the firm - this means beyond the usual website and legal press. Seek to contact members of the firm and talk about examples they have shared with you. Find out about our key clients, which areas we excel in, what awards do we have, etc. Ensure your application is tailored - it is very clear when a student is simply applying to any firm with a strong brand."
First year trainee, London
"Understand how a full service law firm operates - find out what the different departments do. Prepare to speak up. Students should be prepared to discuss subjects and areas they have been studying in detail."
First year trainee, London
"Try to think logically and with a business mind, especially if you don't have any legal experience."
First year trainee, London
"Research, research, research! This means the firm, recent deals and its strengths. Make sure you know what's going on in the market, what grad rec are looking for (check the website). Make sure your 'commercial awareness' is up to date and at the interview try and strike up a conversation with your interviewers before the interview starts - it will relax you."
Second year trainee, London
"Know about yourself and your experiences. Try to understand what a global law firm does and what sets Herbert Smith Freehills apart (e.g. strength in dispute, energy, Africa and the Asia-Pacific)."
Second year trainee, London
"Read around a commercial area that interests you and be generally aware of news/developments. Otherwise be as relaxed as possible and try to be yourself at the interviews."
Second year trainee, London
"Take the initiative and think like a business when approaching the case study. This is especially useful when coming from a non-law background, as they are looking for aptitude rather than knowledge."
First year trainee, London

2013

"Being very intelligent should be a given. Other than that, a real keen interest in the work, including the business-side of law, and a friendly personality."
First year trainee, London
"My advice for the application stage would be to show that you've had a broad range of experiences; academic, sporting, work and other. I would prepare for the interview by researching the firm as much as possible, being eager and showing that you are commercially aware."
First year trainee, London
"Be very clued up on business and be able to think about things from a client's point of view."
First year trainee, London
"The firm seems to like people with broad experience and skills. Academic ability is necessary, but not sufficient. Prepare for interviews by researching the firm and its current direction and projects."
Second year trainee, London
"Smart, personable, diverse. Don't be afraid to disagree with the partner during the case study."
First year trainee, London
"Usually outgoing and outspoken people. Try to relax as much as possible for the interview, but do prepare your basic legal knowledge as they will try to stretch you."
First year trainee, Abu Dhabi
"There is no specific type of candidate. Trainees tend to be from all parts of the country/world, having attended a variety of universities, some of whom will be fresh out of uni, others will have had other careers first. My tip would be to work out what makes you stand out from the crowd and draw on that so that you will be remembered. I would also say, don't be intimidated, the people who are interviewing you are just you a few years down the line so be confident in your own ability and enjoy yourself both in the interview and on the vacation scheme."
Second year trainee, London
"As far as any trend can be identified beyond the usual brainboxes, HSF trainees seem to be slightly eccentric, at least compared to others on the BPP consortium GDL/LPC."
First year trainee, London
Our 'Inside Buzz' reviews are the comments and views of recent graduate recruits, giving you a view of what it may be like to work for an organisation. Copyright of all TARGETjobs Inside Buzz material lies solely with GTI Media.
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