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Interview: Tips & Advice

2016

"The vacation scheme application process consists of an HR interview and an assessment centre (which includes a partner interview). During the scheme you have one final partner interview, which only lasts 15 minutes. When applying to the firm, make sure you know as much as you can about it. Know its strengths, its key clients, where it is looking to expand (geographically and departmentally) and read about any big cases or transactions the firm has been involved with. Always read the news beforehand as there will be a commercial awareness question along the way."
First year trainee, London
"CV/cover letter and then an assessment centre for both vac scheme and training contract applications. Applicants need to demonstrate that they are passionate about the firm and not just about getting a training contract."
First year trainee, London
"Be honest if you don't know the answer – don't just try to pretend that you do. Honesty and integrity will be appreciated."
First year trainee, London
"Cover letter accompanying a CV as well as some tests. There is then a group task, a written business task, a fact-finding exercise, and finally an interview."
First year trainee, London
"For vacation schemes you participate in a full assessment day, which is the same as the one for training contracts. This consists of a group exercise, fact-finding exercise, written exercise and interview. It is a long day but gives you a chance to show your strengths. For the interview, prepare for competency and commercial questions. The same goes for all interviews but you need to do more than just read an article. You need to form an opinion on it and be able to discuss it."
Second year trainee, London
"The interview process consists of an assessment centre (both for the vacation scheme and a training contract). The assessment centre consists of four elements: group task, written test, fact finding exercise and partner interview. The key is to really research the firm. Know what sets it apart from the rest and be keen and enthusiastic. Remember to maintain eye contact and smile!"
Second year trainee, London

2015

"There was an online application form followed by an assessment centre which was split into four parts. These were: a group task, a written test, a verbal questioning exercise and a partner interview."
First year trainee, London
"The best advice is to know the firm, its practice areas and where we sit in the London and international markets."
Second year trainee, London
"Make sure you practice competencies and keep up-to-date with commercial issues. Ensure that you can talk in depth about commercial issues and not just regurgitate recent headlines. Form an opinion so that you can have a debate on any issues."
First year trainee, London
"Find recent newspaper articles and/or cases involving Mayer Brown, read up on them and ask questions relating to them. If you don't know the answer to an interview question say 'I don't know'; they'll spot it straight away if you try to make something up."
First year trainee, London
"For a vacation scheme, the application process consists of submitting a CV/cover letter, then being invited for an interview. It is best to be yourself and let your personality shine through rather than trying to pretend you're something you're not!"
First year trainee, London
"Complete the short form and prepare a covering letter to submit along with it. Make the covering letter stand out - explain why you want to work in law, how you're different, what your particular skill-set will add to the firm and any team you're placed in. Obviously "commercial awareness" is important. However, do not take an approach of purely memorizing certain facts. Instead, consider how that particular development will impact on the relevant industry and what the legal implications might be."
First year trainee, London
"The interview with HR for the vacation scheme is motivation and competency based, so the advice is to ensure that you are sure about your reasons for wanting to go into law and the firm, and also about how your experiences and attributes make you a suitable candidate. The partner interview has the same format but be prepared for the occasional follow-up question to drill a bit deeper to make sure you know your stuff."
First year trainee, London
"Apply early. Talk about commercial awareness issues that you are generally interested in. If it is a topic that you know a lot about anyway, factually you are more likely to be clued up that the partner interviewing you."
First year trainee, London

2014

"I think candidates should ensure that they know all of the information on their CV and think of examples of how they have demonstrated teamwork, dedication, overcoming obstacles and initiative in the past. They should try and attend the Mayer Brown open days and university law events so they can talk about why they want to be a trainee solicitor convincingly."
Second year trainee, London
"The interview is not too ground breaking. Don't be concerned if the interviewer questions your view or opinion. They are testing you and how you cope with different points of view and being challenged."
First year trainee, London
"Make sure the application is tailored to Mayer Brown. Get a sense from the firm's marketing of the kind of characteristics the firm looks for, and demonstrate how you have them. The whole process is fairly informal, so try to relax and get along with the interviewer."
First year trainee, London
"Be positive and open. Review recent developments in the commercial world."
First year trainee, London
"Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the firm and how it is placed in the market - we are not an American firm but an international firm. It is very important for candidates to understand this distinction. An understanding of our secondment structure would be useful."
First year trainee, London
"Make sure you understand the firm's history and culture - it very much informs how the firm operates now and what its future ambitions are."
Second year trainee, London

2013

"Mayer Brown takes on a real mix of people, usually academic but sociable. Read up on current affairs, know your CV well, be open and friendly."
Second year trainee, London
"I think my firm look to hire trainees with good interpersonal skills and an aptitude for teamwork. I would advise a potential candidate to be themselves in an interview, try and draw on examples of working in a team to overcome problems and show an interest in the main client sectors established in the firm."
First year trainee, London
"Candidates are usually from one of the top ten universities and have a well rounded CV (sport, volunteering, music) and common-sense."
First year trainee, London
"There is no identifiable type, which is one of the more unusual things about the firm. Candidates should be keen, energetic and have good commercial awareness. Maturity and having your head in the game possibly more valued than academics."
Second year trainee, London
"People from a variety of backgrounds and academic disciplines. I would suggest demonstrating some aptitude for international matters. You should prepare for an interview by carefully considering and listing what answers you might have to questions. By this I do not mean that you should think of all possible questions. I mean that it is best to consider what qualities, experiences and skills you have which demonstrate something positive about you. After listing them, consider each one in turn and explain to yourself out loud what positive aspects that thing demonstrates about you. Interviewers do not want a list of skills or achievements, they want detailed examples of how you apply yourself and come out for the better."
First year trainee, London
"Bright but personable. The firm doesn't really like cocky people."
First year trainee, London
"Someone bit more mature, perhaps with work experience. They want to know if you can handle the work once you are at the firm and act professionally. Not much you can do to prepare but make sure you know your motivations for choosing law/firm and know your CV."
Second year trainee, London
"Personable, team players, smart, good academics, 'commercially aware' (though that means more once you're in the working world), language skills seem to be very prevalent."
Second 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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