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How you can make a good impression at your interview with Baker McKenzie

The facts

If you get through to the interview stage with Baker McKenzie, you will have already impressed them with your application. This means the firm already knows you are a high-calibre candidate; the interview stages are about finding out more about you as a person. It’s therefore important for you to have the confidence to be yourself.

The video interview

Once a candidate has completed both online tests, they are invited to take part in a strengths-based video interview. This is designed to find out how they like to work and what they enjoy doing, in order to assess their suitability for a trainee solicitor role. Read our tips on video interviews by clicking on the subhead above. 

The Baker McKenzie assessment centre

If you get through the video interview stage, you will be invited to the Baker McKenzie assessment centre. Before you turn up for the Baker McKenzie assessment day, make sure you do the following:

  • Review the interview process so you’re comfortable with what will be involved.
  • Take a look at the employees featured in Baker McKenzie’s graduate website; use this to identify the dress code and plan your interview outfit. The employees featured indicates that you need to keep things formal.

On the day

When you arrive for the assessment day, make sure you’re polite and friendly to everyone you meet; Baker McKenzie place a heavy emphasis on their ‘culture of friendship’ talked about in their glossy online brochure, so a good first impression is vital.

Baker McKenzie – group exercise

The assessment day will be split into three parts, one of which will involve a group exercise. Each member of the group will be given a mock business scenario to read through individually before discussing as a group. You will be judged on your contributions to the group and how well you work as part of a team.

Baker McKenzie – the partner interview/case study interview

The case study interview, conducted by two partners, is said to cover the following:

  • 30 minutes to read through a business case study individually. It will be legal or non-legal depending on what you're studying or have studied. 
  • Discussing your observations, opinions and thoughts on the problem.

The partners will look for evidence of your problem-solving abilities, good commercial instincts and ability to discuss a client scenario confidently. The important thing to remember is that this exercise is designed to examine your thought processes and assess the above qualities and your potential as a successful lawyer, rather than your existing legal knowledge. You’ll need to show flexibility of thought; if what the interviewer says causes you to change your opinion then say so and explain why. Don’t back down too easily though: be confident and persuasive but show that you are willing to adapt. Explain each step of your thought process to Baker McKenzie’s interviewers.

Baker McKenzie – associate interview

The next interview, conducted by as associate, covers:

  • The candidate’s achievements, work experience and extra-curricular interests.
  • The skills and qualities needed to be successful at Baker McKenzie.

Show your motivation to work in law and with Baker McKenzie throughout the assessment day

You’ll already have covered some of this in your application form, but particularly in the associate interview you’ll be required to expand on what you wrote and make it really clear that you understand Baker McKenzie and the training scheme. This is a good time to bring up your research about the firm and talk about some of their cases and transactions. Talk about why these subjects interest you and why you think you’d be suited to the work involved. It’s also a good idea to show that you’re aware of the sorts of seats that will be available to you, such as employment law; emphasise the kind of experience they could give you.

Some questions to ask the employer

At the end of the interview you will likely be given an opportunity to ask the employers a few questions. This is not just a chance to get some more information about the job: you can impress by asking thoughtful questions that demonstrate enthusiasm and intellect.

A good idea is to incorporate your research around Baker McKenzie into the question. For example, you may want to mention a particular case, and ask about the level and type of input trainees had in the case. If you know who your interviewer will be, look them up online and research some of the cases or transactions they’ve been involved in and then ask them about the trainee input on those cases; this will show that you’ve gone the extra mile in your research. You could also ask about particular aspects of the trainee scheme, but make sure that the information isn’t already available on the Baker McKenzie website.

Our 'How to get hired' articles are written by TARGETjobs editors and writers with job candidates in mind, helping you research and understand employers. Copyright of all material written by TARGETjobs lies solely with GTI Media.