Meet Skye and learn about early talent recruitment


Skye Fenton-Wells

Early Talent Recruitment Manager

Womble Bond Dickinson


  • What really stands out in an application form?

For me, it's where you can start to see someone's personality coming through. The examples used might be a bit different from the standard responses that tend to come up a lot. Being able to draw out the relevant transferable skills we are looking for in our Life Experience section by providing answers that are relevant, current and well structured will make you stand out from the others.

If candidates can demonstrate that they’re aware of current issues, it’s a real advantage. However, candidates can set themselves apart from other applicants even further by taking the issues, contextualising them, and explaining how they might impact the firm and our clients going forward.

A good application will answer all the questions well, with a good variety of examples that can also demonstrate commercial awareness. An excellent one will tailor their answers to the firm they are applying to as much as possible – thinking about what competencies they need to demonstrate, what sectors they work in, and what matters to their clients.

Vacation schemes and other work experience

I think it really comes down to being curious, and being proactive about that. Ask questions, meet people, get involved in as much as you can. Having a growth mindset is something that is so important to us, so being able to demonstrate that you are willing to learn, be adaptable and embrace change is important too. This skillset is vital when is comes to your TC and enables us to work with you in a really effective way to unlock your potential.

We collect feedback from the team(s) you've been involved with following your time with us, and the final training contract interview will also take place during your vac scheme. Both are aligned with our competency framework and we use the feedback from both of these to shortlist candidates.

Because we focus on potential, we aren't necessarily looking for legal work experience. If you're able to show us the transferable skillset that we are looking for in our future lawyers, whether that's from experience working in hospitality, playing sport, caring for family – any life experience really! – that's what matters.

There are also lots of virtual work experience programmes out there at the moment which anyone is able to access so if you are interested in gaining legal experience or wanting to better your understanding about certain firms or sectors, then that might be a good place to start.

Assessment days and interviews

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

Throughout our recruitment process, we measure four competencies. We believe that these encompass the skills and attributes that our colleagues need to in order to be successful in our business. They are Collaboration, Client Focus, Creating Value and Adaptability.

The definitions and indicators that are related to each of these competencies help us to recognise and measure (as best we can) an individual’s potential to develop – we don’t just collect evidence of a certain behaviour in the past.

This framework is the starting point of the behaviours and actions that will be valued, recognised and rewarded at the firm – and these behaviours will underpin your career development at WBD.

  • Thinking about your assessment day, what skills are you looking for from the group exercise?

We run a paired exercise as part of our recruitment process, because we feel that it gives candidates a better chance at being able to demonstrate their skills and behaviours – and we think it makes them feel a bit more comfortable. We would be looking for the skills related to the four competencies outlined above, so things like communication skills, relationship building skills, ability to make sense of the information provided and the ability to put new ideas forward would be some of the skills we'd be looking out for.

STEM students

  • 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 is more to a person than the legal experience they have had and applicants must not underestimate their non-legal work experience. We have a section on our application form that is called ‘life experience’, rather than ‘work experience’. There are a lot of things that can shape and help candidates to develop important transferrable skills that could be invaluable to Womble Bond Dickinson, so if you can evidence these then we'd like to hear about them.

If you can demonstrate these skills, and show us that you have an understanding of how commercial firms operate and how what is happening in the current market might be affecting a firm and its clients, you'll set yourself apart from other candidates – whether they are law or non-law students. Commercial awareness is a crucial skill for our lawyers because it enables them to understand what issues are impacting our clients and will help them to become valued business advisers.

Our top picks

Slide 1/5


Get results tailored to you


You might be interested in...

Thumbnail for Mazars - #MazarsforGood: Committed to Creating Shared Value(s)

Mazars - #MazarsforGood: Committed to Creating Shared Value(s)



All employers