Interview: Tips & Advice

2016

"Commercial awareness is important but you don't need to be an expert. An international outlook, an ability to talk to people with confidence and an interest in the main areas the firm works in (ie banking and corporate) are pretty much essential."
Second year trainee, London
"The application process involves submitting an application form and then attending an assessment day. On this day you will take part in an individual drafting exercise and a group exercise. You will then be interviewed by two partners or a senior associate and a partner. In the group exercise it's a good idea to take on responsibility as the firm is looking for leaders. At the same time, listen to the views of others and show that you can come up with persuasive and pragmatic solutions. The best preparation for the interview is to know your application form inside out, know your strengths and any experiences unique to you that will help you stand out. Most importantly, try to link your experiences to aspects of the firm. This will show that you have thought about why the firm is a good fit for you. It's a good idea to follow the business news before your interview but don't feel like you need to know everything that is going on. How you analyse and respond to the question is more important than what you know."
Second year trainee, London
"The application process consists of submitting an application form and then attending an assessment centre at the firm (where you are tested on a variety of skills such as negotiation, communication and drafting skills). One way a candidate can distinguish himself/herself at the assessment centre and during their training is by trying to understand the business structures and targets of the firm's clients."
First year trainee, London
"My top tip is to prepare well for an interview by keeping up to date with current affairs generally and in the legal sphere. Hopefully that will allow you to relax in the interview itself, which is also key."
Second year trainee, London
"Be yourself, don't be too rigid or formal and don't be shy. Let your personality come through."
First year trainee, London
"Research the firm. Follow commercial stories in the time leading up to your application and assessment days. The firm is really big about being global so emphasise any international experience you have."
First year trainee, London
"Read about the firm and commercial events in detail. However, try not to be too reliant on preparation as there will always be questions that you haven't prepared for and this could throw you off."
First year trainee, London
"Be yourself. Partners share their office with a trainee so during the interview they'll be asking themselves: 'would I want to share an office with this person?'. Know your application form well. It's one of the longer training contract application forms and you should be prepared to talk about anything you wrote or referenced. Demonstrate your awareness of the international nature and outlook of the firm and show how you are internationally minded."
First year trainee, London

2015

"It is a whole assessment day. You need to prepare well in advance by researching the firm thoroughly, and understand what you want, but be yourself."
First year trainee, London
"You should be yourself throughout the interview. Don't try and recite the Financial Times - just have a conversation with them and show that you're likeable."
First year trainee, London
"In the application process you should understand what makes the firm different from its competitors."
First year trainee, London
"You should know the firm's business and understand its international approach and strategy. I found that it is particularly important to understand the firm's industry sectors."
First year trainee, London
"A successful initial application is followed by an assessment day, which includes a two-partner interview. You should research the firm and the individuals interviewing you, and know your application well, but be prepared to go far 'off book' and to think on the spot."
Second year trainee, London
"In the application you should know the firm and its strengths and tie these into your own interests. You should have an appetite for the global nature of the work."
First year trainee, London
"The interview process outside of a vacation scheme is one interview, a group exercise and a written exercise. It is important to show an awareness of the firm's industry sectors and a leaning towards international work. It is good to show some personality in the interview and to come across as a friendly individual."
First year trainee, London
"For the interview, you should know your application well and be prepared to be asked questions about anything in it."
First year trainee, London

2014

"Be yourself, know the firm and know why you want to work for Norton Rose Fulbright."
First year trainee, London
"Start your relationship with Norton Rose Fulbright early! There are so many opportunities to get involved with the firm from an early stage. Using my experience as an example, I attended an open evening at the firm's offices at the beginning of my second year of university. Soon after I made a vacation scheme application to the firm, undertook the interview and assessment procedure and then completed the vacation scheme. I threw myself into the scheme and tried to meet as many people from the firm as possible and got involved as much as possible in the social side (very important) and was then offered a training contract. The best piece of advice I would give (and was given by others) is that for Norton Rose Fulbright, the graduate recruitment team just want you to be yourself."
First year trainee, London
"Always remember that the bottom line for the interviewers is whether or not you seem like a nice enough person that they could share an office with you for six months! If the answer is no, you probably won't get the offer. Make sure you pick commercial stories to write about in your application that you are actually interested in, (and never ever just write about the general economic crisis). It doesn't have to be economic or even business - it just has to be commercial. Get lots of sleep the day before the interview."
Second year trainee, Sydney
"Listen to the Today programme on Radio 4 in the mornings - it's a great way to stay on top on current affairs. Check BBC news regularly and flick through a broadsheet newspaper and/or the Economist occasionally (not the FT unless you really want to). Make sure you know everything possible about the firm - read the website thoroughly and check for recent postings about upcoming deals or new business."
Second year trainee, London
"Do your due diligence - research the firm and be prepared to talk about recent deals the firm has completed; research your interviewers and be prepared to ask intelligent, informed questions."
First year trainee, London
"Make sure that you know what the firm's strategy is - they will probably ask you about it. It's worth thinking about what challenges we might have in implementing it or where we might head next."
First year trainee, London
"Some partners tend to work through your application form and talk through your various achievements/hobbies/past experiences/education, whereas others will like to ask your opinion on certain commercial headlines. It's their own personal preference so be able to discuss both in depth!"
First year trainee, London
"Read up on the news. Be aware of current headlines and developments on a global level. Have opinions and don't just regurgitate the FT."
First year trainee, London

2013

"NR doesn't have a 'type'. You can be from any firm, with any background. As most firms want, NR just wants the best. With its recent expansion, NR is now attracting more of the best and as such can expect more from its applicants. Research the firm, its clients, where it sits in the legal market and importantly, other firms that are similar to NR to really show you have thought about it. Interview technique... practise, either by striking lucky and getting as many interviews as possible, or asking someone (preferably with experience) to interview you."
Second year trainee, London
"Potential candidates would do well to research the firm thoroughly, understanding the way it places itself in the market, the image it is projecting (and seeks to project), and ultimately find out about the variety of work which we do."
Second year trainee, London
"I think rather than aiming at only book-smart applicants, the firm is looking for practically-minded trainees. I started to explain my average grades but was laughed at in my interview as they were better than the grades the partners had come into the firm with - my practical experience was taken much more seriously. That said there is a reason the firm targets the top 20 universities and it will be hard to get your form beyond Graduate Recruitment's sifting process if you're applying with below average academics. Brashness and extreme confidence will probably be taken negatively."
First year trainee, London
"My general tip is that you should be wary of 'commercial awareness'. It has no meaning. You don't need to read every page of the FT, you just need to get the basic premises of business. Choose one or two issues or industries, and get to grips with them."
First year trainee, London
"Academic performance is a given. It is additional and unique experiences which give you an edge."
First year trainee, London
"Friendly, dynamic, down to earth people who have a broad range of interests."
Second year trainee, London
"Nice people with a bit of personality and drive but not too ambitious or competitive. Try to come across as being nice and friendly in the interview. Read the FT and do mention something about NR's global ambition."
Second year trainee, Hong Kong
"A refreshing amount of emphasis seems to be put on finding people who are interesting, nice and have a diverse range of talents and experience."
First year trainee, London
"Norton Rose Fulbright looks for candidates who have a solid academic and extra-curricular background. However, in addition, applicants must demonstrate an international outlook and have strong commercial awareness (i.e. an understanding of what businesses and their stakeholders are, need and want). In terms of preparation, I recommend reading as much literature as possible about the firm and the legal sector. I would also recommend learning about the firm's Headlights and thinking about how you could fit in to them."
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.
Top