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Slaughter and May

Employee profile

Emily Dale

Trainee Recruitment

What really stands out in an application form?

All of our lawyers are individuals, with their own personalities and interests outside of work, which all help contribute towards their way of thinking and making them an excellent lawyer. So, while academics are important, we want to see people who have interests and experiences beyond this.

What criteria do you mark candidates against in job applications?

N/a / covered below during assessments.

What kind of extracurricular activities really impress you on an application?

There isn’t a “perfect” extracurricular activity - anything an applicant gets involved with outside of their studies can tell us a lot about them, from volunteer work and fundraising, to part-time jobs and positions of responsibility on a university society committee.

What are the main reasons you reject a training contract or vacation scheme application?

There isn’t one overarching reason. We are looking for certain qualities throughout the recruitment process, such as strong academics, drive and the ability to work well in a team. It is important for us to see that a candidate has these skills.

We also want to see that someone is truly committed to a career as a commercial lawyer. It’s OK to have considered different options previously but when hiring candidates for a training contract, we want to know that they see themselves building a career with us.

Vacation schemes and other work experience

How do you assess vacation scheme students?

We want to allow the students on our work experience schemes to immerse themselves in the firm, our work and our culture. Because of this, we don’t formally assess our students during the scheme, but we do ask their associate host to share their feedback. Depending on the scheme, students will apply and interview during the scheme or afterwards for a training contract.

How can people make up for the fact that they haven’t done any work experience at a law firm?

When interviewing for a training contract, law firms like to see a real sense of passion and enthusiasm for the role so make sure this shines through. If you don’t have legal work experience, you can display this in other ways, for example through your awareness and understanding of the different types of law firms, practice areas and clients.   

Law fairs

How can somebody make the right impression at a law fair?

It’s nice when students come up to us at law fairs with specific questions and take the time to jot down the answers on a notepad. It shows a level of preparation and genuine interest in the firm, as opposed to asking questions because you feel you have to.

Assessment days and interviews

What skills and competencies do you look for candidates to demonstrate on assessment days?

We are very open with what we are looking for and encourage all candidates visit our website for more information before submitting their application or attending an interview day as part of their preparation.

How can you tell whether a candidate really wants the job?

Preparation goes a long way and you can see when a candidate has really researched the firm, beyond simply what is written in our trainee recruitment brochure. Selecting firms to apply to and start your legal career with is a big decision and it is good to see when candidates are taking it seriously.

What kind of questions should candidates ask at interview? What shouldn’t they ask?

My best piece of advice about this would be to ensure that you tailor your questions to the right person - a partner may be best placed to answer questions about the future strategy or direction of the firm, but anyone you meet can tell you what they enjoy about working at the firm.