Interview: Tips & Advice

2018

"The best preparation is meeting trainees, partners and the recruitment team at presentations, law fairs and events. Have a relevant news story to talk about in the interview and research the firm."
Second year trainee, London
"The application process is very straightforward as it is just a covering letter and a CV. This gives candidates a great opportunity to show the firm who they are and why they would be suited to work here. There is then either one or two interviews (depending on if you are applying for a vacation scheme or a training contract) that are led by the partners. The interview process is quite hard to prepare for as the questions tend to be guided by the candidate's CV, but the questions are designed to see how a candidate thinks and can often lead to some interesting discussions."
Second year trainee, London
"There were two interviews; the first was with one partner and the second was with two partners. In order to prepare, candidates should read over their application form and keep up to date with current affairs."
First year trainee, London
"My main tip is to try and let your personality (and humour) shine through in an interview. Expect questions on your interests and a discussion of a social or political issue. You generally won't be grilled on your commercial awareness or asked to 'give an example of a recent deal you've seen in the news'."
Second year trainee, London
"Going to an open day or university presentation is the best way to get all information required for a great interview."
Second year trainee, London
"The application just consists of a cover letter and a CV. The process includes two interviews (or one interview and a vac scheme). Be yourself and take your time answering questions."
Second year trainee, London
"Vacation scheme students interview once and the two weeks of the scheme are the second stage assessment. I would recommend this as you really get a feel for the place."
First year trainee, London
"The interview itself was mainly focused around moral and philosophical questions. Prepare by staying up to date with current issues and reading opinion pieces on a variety of topical issues. Be prepared to argue your point convincingly and think on your feet. Get friends to test you."
Second year trainee, London

2017

"I had one interview for a vacation scheme and was then offered a training contract on the back of this. It's difficult to prepare for because the questions can be quite abstract and morality-based. It's important that you know about the firm so spend a few hours looking through the website to get an understanding of what it's all about."
Second year trainee, London
"The vacation scheme process involves sending in your CV and a covering letter and going to one (sometimes two) interviews. You will then be assessed during a two-week process when you will have various tasks to do (eg negotiations or work set by partners etc.). The training contract process involves a covering letter, a CV and two interviews."
First year trainee, London
"Yo need to send a CV and a covering letter followed by one or two partner interviews. Commercial awareness is key, as is communicating an interest in commercial matters."
Second year trainee, London
"There's a covering letter and CV followed by two interviews with partners. Prepare by reading current affairs and having a clear view on topical stories."
Second year trainee, London
"The process involved a CV, covering letter and partner-led interview. The process was refreshingly free from psychometric tests and lengthy application forms. Be honest about why you think you would fit in at the firm and don't be afraid to have a debate in the interview. Use humour and bring in things that you are interested in along with work the firm has done and general commercial awareness."
First year trainee, London
"To prepare for the interview, I would recommend reading the business news and familiarising yourself with the workings of the City, as it is a very complex place. Fortunately, there are plenty of books on the City (such as The Money Market) and plenty of books on how to stand out as trainee or applicant (such as How to be a Commercial Lawyer), reading these will help a lot. Travers does a lot of work for private equity houses so it's always good to understand what they do."
First year trainee, London
"If you are applying for a vacation scheme there's an online application and then an interview with a partner. If you are applying for a training contract there's an interview with one partner followed by a second interview with two partners. Be yourself and expect the unexpected."
First year trainee, London
"For a training contract, there are two interviews. Travers Smith is known for asking questions that relate to ethics and there are not too many competency-based questions. This is refreshing but also makes it hard to prepare for as you never know what you could be asked."
Second year trainee, London

2016

"Keep up with current affairs and read the news. It is not essential that you know everything but a basic grasp of current affairs will help. In the first-round interview, partners will often discuss a current topic from the media (usually from a legal perspective), plus it demonstrates commercial awareness from interviewees."
First year trainee, London
"The process is very straightforward. I followed the vac scheme route so I had one half-hour interview with a partner followed by the vac scheme. They don't re-interview following the scheme, which is a huge positive as it shows that they pay attention to you during your time on the vac scheme and have seen all they need to. The main thing is to be yourself and not to worry about taking yourself too seriously. They really want to get to know you as a person and love to see what you're interested in and how you work."
Second year trainee, Travers Smith
"You can either apply via a vacation scheme or for a straight training contract. I went for the latter option. When applying, know what differentiates Travers Smith from the rest and be yourself. For a Travers Smith interview, there will undoubtedly be questions you haven't prepared for. The whole point is to see how you think on your feet. Most of the time there is no right answer but they want to see your justifications and if you will back down when it's reasonable."
First year trainee, London
"It's a very simple application process: cover letter and CV, one shorter interview with a single partner then a longer interview with two partners. I would suggest being well read on the news and being able to respond on-the-fly to partners repeatedly attempting to deconstruct your arguments. I would also advise having a good narrative of 'why law' and 'why Travers Smith'."
First year trainee, London
"Read up on current topics in the news and be prepared to answer some interesting debate-worthy questions that tend to have a moral theme."
Second year trainee, London
"Simple and straightforward application procedure: CV and cover letter. No psychometric test nonsense. Interviews are with partners so there are no awkward Skype interviews. Top tip: be prepared for the unexpected. You will be asked questions that you won't have prepared for – these are to really make you think and challenge your viewpoints. Don't be scared by these. Enjoy the intellectual debate with the partners and use your time to show them what makes you tick."
Second year trainee, London
"Be prepared to think on your feet. Non-law grads shouldn't focus too much on learning pieces of black letter law but be prepared to demonstrate a thought process when answering questions."
First year trainee, London
"Two interviews if you're applying straight for a training contract, one interview if you do a vacation scheme. The interviews are meant to test how you think and how you articulate your ideas rather than looking for specific legal knowledge. That said, a solid grounding in current events (especially recent financial and political news) often helps. Don't worry about having the 'right' answer as long as you can explain why you think as you do."
Second year trainee, London

2015

"There are two interviews in the application process, or an interview plus the vacation scheme. You should brush up on current affairs, and be prepared to be challenged on your answers to questions."
First year trainee, London
"The application process is straightforward: a CV and cover letter, and then two interviews. The interviews at Travers Smith are about getting to know you as a person, so do not expect the standard competency questions. They want to test you, and ask you questions that you can't really prepare for. Be yourself in the interview: it is as much about you deciding if the firm is the right fit for you as it is for the partner interviewing to decide if you are right for the firm."
Second year trainee, London
"Of course you should do your homework on the firm, but that is only part of the process - having an interest in the world around you, and the world in which your future clients live, is arguably more important."
First year trainee, London
"There are two interviews in the application process, and they are each with partners in the firm. You should know what you want to achieve as a lawyer, and the type of firm you want to work in."
Second year trainee, London
"I would recommend doing the usual research into the firm, but especially focus on what makes the firm unique in the marketplace."
First year trainee, London

2014

"Read the news beforehand. Be prepared to think on your feet. Stand up for your views as you will be challenged."
Second year trainee, London
"There is no real way to prepare as you have to think on your feet and be prepared to discuss anything. It is helpful to have a good grasp of current affairs and not just have read the FT in the week leading up to interview."
Second year trainee, London
"Be yourself! If you are not playing a role you will be more confident and the partners will see straight through you if you are anyway. People here like original people as long as they are serious and very strong academically. Because the interview is slightly informal, try to direct the conversation to an area where you know a lot."
First year trainee, London
"Take the time to try to understand the identity of the firm. Be prepared to answer questions on why the firm is the right one for you."
Second year trainee, London
"Don't just prepare for the obvious questions, but also read the news, including business sections, to begin developing commercial awareness."
Second year trainee, London
"Have a good knowledge of current affairs and be prepared to answer questions for which you haven't prepared, e.g. ethical questions."
Second year trainee, London
"Although we are smaller than many of our competitors, the level of work and responsibility we are given mirrors that of a Magic Circle firm trainee. If you approach the process with this in mind, the application and interview give you every opportunity to justify why you deserve a training contract at Travers Smith."
Second year trainee, London

2013

"It's a proper conversation designed to get an idea of how you would fit in and contribute to the firm, so your best bet is to try to relax and be yourself. There's very little point preparing anything beyond a couple of questions to ask the interviewer at the end - just go in with an open mind and be prepared to fight your corner."
Second year trainee, London
"People who take their work but not themselves seriously; articulate and quick on your feet; always game for a challenge."
Second year trainee, London
"Bright, confident people. The interview is designed to see how you think and react when you are pressed past what you know. Make sure you get the basics right and know about the firm's practice, etc. and try to be up-to-date with topical issues."
Second year trainee, London
"The firm looks to hire candidates who are clever enough to the job and will be able to fit in in the firm. Tips: read everything on the graduate recruitment and main website. Best way to prepare for the interview is to relax, and be prepared to talk about anything on your CV."
First year trainee, London
"Have a clear understanding as to why you actually want to work for Travers Smith in particular. Read up on current affairs."
First year trainee, London
"Academically proficient, well-rounded and confident individuals. Expect challenging questions (not necessarily law-related) that require you to give and argue your opinion."
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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