It can be tempting for candidates making lots of applications to copy and paste their answers between different application forms. While there is definitely a lot of information you can reuse, it really stands out when someone has tailored their application for Dentons specifically, showing a deep level of research into the firm.
We also want to get to know individuals through their forms, so encourage candidates to be themselves and really talk about their personal experiences and motivations, rather than try to fit a certain mould.
- What kind of extracurricular activities really impress you on an application?
We don’t look for any one type of extracurricular activity on forms, in the past we've seen everything from sports teams to Harry Potter societies. What we do look for are transferable skills such as collaboration and drive, so candidates should make sure to highlight these when explaining their extracurricular activities.
- What are the main reasons you reject a training contract or vacation scheme application?
It might seem simple but it's really important to pay attention to detail and to the structure of answers on forms. It's such a shame to reject candidates based on too many spelling errors or for using the wrong firm's name. If candidates can, we recommend asking a friend, family member or teacher to proof read answers before submitting them.
Vacation schemes and other work experience
- What do the vac schemers who go on to get a training contract at your firm do on the scheme to show they’ve got what it takes to be a successful solicitor?
We don’t expect our Vacation Schemers to know everything straight away, or get things right the first time, but we do want to see an enthusiasm to learn and develop. It's really important to showcase this on the scheme by asking questions, actively requesting feedback and by engaging with team meetings.
Successful vacation schemers also make effort to really understand what makes Dentons different, and need to articulate this in their final interview. The key to doing this is asking lots of questions and making the most of the available resources during the scheme.
We assess Vacation Schemers via feedback from their supervisors and trainee buddies, a group exercise and a final interview the week following the scheme.
We don’t expect applicants, especially for Vacation Schemes, to have any directly related work experience. What we want to see is an active interest in commercial law, and evidence of transferable skills.
Candidates can showcase their interest by listing events and virtual programs on their applications. Dentons have just launched a virtual program, Experience Dentons, which is a great way to learn more about a career in commercial law and showcase motivation.
In terms of transferable skills, these can be developed in almost any work experience or volunteering. Candidates should include all kinds of work experience, and make sure they talk about the skills they developed on the application form.
- How can somebody make the right impression at a law fair?
Candidates should come prepared with questions, and research the firms beforehand so they can ask relevant questions and make the most of the experience. There is a lot of information available online, so the fair is a great chance to ask questions you can't find the answer to online.
Assessment days and interviews
- What skills and competencies do you look for candidates to demonstrate on assessment days?
There are lots of skills that most firms are looking for on assessment days, including organisation, communication and collaboration. Dentons are also looking for candidates who are problem solvers and innovators, and for candidates who have strong motivation and drive.
Motivation for the job is usually something that is looked for in the interview portion of our assessment process. We look for students to have an understanding of the work we do, and be able to relate it back to their skills and experiences. When it comes to talking about the firm specifically, we want to see a depth of research past just the information available on our website.
- How can non-law students show their commitment to a career in law when they haven’t necessarily been exposed to university law societies, law clinics and mooting events?
There are now a wealth of virtual resources available to students, which are a good starting point for non-law students to develop their understanding of a career in law. Attending these and actively engaging in them is a great way to show commitment.
I would also recommend non-law students apply to Open and Insight Days. These events are often the first step on the journey to a Training Contract.