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Interview: Tips & Advice

2016

"If you have something that you're passionate about, show it. It will be appreciated."
First year trainee, London
"It's key to know exactly why you want to work at Reed Smith."
First year trainee, London
"Research the firm. Go to the firm's own website and look in the legal press. Look at partner biographies for those who work in the legal areas you are interested in and be up to date on UK and global news."
Second year trainee, London
"Ensure that you research the main industry groups. It helps to be able to explain why you are interested in them."
Second year trainee, London
"Be enthusiastic! Talk to solicitors at the firm to get an idea of the type of work that they undertake on a day-to-day basis. The selection process consists of a case study, an interview and a group exercise. I found the process to be very relaxed. They are not trying to catch you out so try and look confident."
Second year trainee, London
"My top tip would be to talk to associates and partners, if you get the chance, about the kind of work they do. Determine if and how you are interested in that kind of work and then talk about that in your interview (throwing in actual excerpts of the conversations you had with the associates/partners). This will show actual interest and initiative on your part."
Second year trainee, London
"Research the firm, in particular some of the top-ranked practices."
Second year trainee, London
"There's a standard application form as well as a situational strength test online and an assessment day. Try to talk to people from the firm at law fairs and attend open days. Understanding the culture of the firm is key to getting a training contract here."
First year trainee, London
"Responsible business is big at Reed Smith. Time spent volunteering or helping others in any capacity will be very useful on your application form and in the interview."
First year trainee, London
"Generally, I would advise people to be keen and enthusiastic. You must understand the firm you are applying to and make sure that you do not give examples of just one area of law in your application. Most firms do a range of transaction and contentious work so remember, while you might like transactional work, a litigation partner may interview you so may be interested to understand why you haven't mentioned that area of the business on your form. Showing your personality (as much as you can) is a must. You need to be someone people want to work with."
Second year trainee, London

2015

"You should research the firm before the interview, and stress that it is the variety of work that Reed Smith offers which interests you, as well as the flexibility of the training contract."
First year trainee, London
"A normal application form with a number of questions; including why I felt I was suited to a career in the legal industry and why I applied to the firm. I would advise focusing on the firm's individuality, and in particular the cross-office work, which not many other firms can offer. For instance, the geographical locations of our new offices and how these are strategically sound decisions based on the legal industry and the world economy as a whole."
First year trainee, London
"I found the interview process quite transparent, and it stood out from interviews I had previously experienced, although I can't put my finger on why. I think that throughout the interview you should stay calm; be level-headed when given a question you're not sure about, be honest and don't blag your way through."
First year trainee, London
"Definitely do your research. Know why you have targeted Reed Smith in particular, in addition to having extensive awareness of your CV and application. I recommend that during preparation that you prioritise your own interests, so that you are ready for questions relating to these."
First year trainee, London
"Make sure to brush up on commercial awareness skills for the interview."
First year trainee, London

2014

"Review your application thoroughly and be prepared to expand on it in the interview. Be yourself in the interview - the interviewer wants to get to know you."
Second year trainee, London
"Re-familiarise yourself with all of the extra-curricular activities or jobs you have had in the past (even if they did not make it on to your application). This will give you more to talk about for the competency questions."
First year trainee, London
"We interview in small groups, it isn't an intimidating process but you need to be confident. People are taken from a mixture of backgrounds so there is no point in trying to fit an archetype."
First year trainee, London
"Know your CV well. Practise identifying skills that you have developed from your extra-curricular activities. It is not always about how much you have been involved in, but why you were involved and what you have gained from it."
First year trainee, London
"Do not be afraid to be yourself. I would not recommend showing excessive competitiveness - being nice to other candidates and personable with the interviewers would likely have a more positive impact on the outcome. In terms of preparation I would suggest learning everything there is to learn about the firm and gaining an understanding what makes the firm successful."
First year trainee, London
"Do your research! Make sure you look at our website, any major deals we have been working on and any cases you are interested in. Make sure you have a clear reason as to why 'Reed Smith' and not any other firm."
First year trainee, London
"Understand what Reed Smith values as an organisation, what drives the firm and its expansion, who our clients are and what we do to make sure we're providing them with the best service possible."
First year trainee, London
"Link real-world commercial issues to our clients and the work we do. Anticipate growth areas by virtue of our US practices."
First year trainee, London

2013

"I wouldn't say there's a particular type but the people employed generally seem to be easy to get on with and not too intense."
Second year trainee, Dubai
"Intelligent, friendly, entrepreneurial ones. Little time for inflated egos."
First year trainee, London
"Candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. Align interests with practice areas of the firm."
Second year trainee, Athens
"Interviews are full on - CV then full interview with technical questions. Firm is looking for people that are going to contribute to the firm/department/team's development, not just someone who will coast along. Need strong client/industry understanding."
1 yr PQE, London
"Know what the firm does, know a bit about the areas you might want to go into."
1 yr PQE, London
"Prepare for the interview/vacation scheme in the way that you would for any other but also know the firm, know where you think Reed Smith is going or where you think it should go and be commercially minded (business experts with a great knowledge of law)."
First year trainee, London
"Best preparation is to smile, be friendly and be prepared to engage in conversation when prompted (no matter what the subject!)."
Second year trainee, London
"The usual commercial awareness and good knowledge of their own CV and answers to standard interview questions such as why law? Why here. Beyond that, be yourself. The firm attracts a wide range of very different people there is no one type of person that fits in so long as the person doesn't take themselves too seriously!"
Second year trainee, London
"People with international experience. People who have worked in other careers and are mature applicants are also welcome. Friendliness and people who are down to earth."
First year trainee, London
"Be yourself and be prepared for any question! Which doesn't mean have a prepared answer for any question, it just means don't let yourself be phased/surprised/panicked by any question."
First year trainee, London
"Know the firm's selling points i.e. its strength in niche sectors e.g. shipping/commodities."
Newly qualified solicitor, London
"Understand your clients, the current climate, seek to become part of the team and contribute to the team/group's development."
Newly qualified solicitor, London
"I would suggest really doing your research on the firm. Find out what we are doing, what our key areas of growth/business are. Don't just do a 'cut and paste' job on the application form."
1 yr PQE, London
"Commercial and intelligent people. The best way to prepare would be to stay involved in recent news and legal updates and to read up on the firm - they're very proud of their image and like to know that you understand what they're about."
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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