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Application Process- Eleanor Giles Thomson

Book open Reading time: 2 mins

Eleanor shares her experience of Clifford Chance's application process and gives us her top tips for future applicants. 

How did you find the application process?

The application process is rigorous and challenging but seeks to bring out the best in you, particularly being CV-blind. This gives candidates the opportunity to shape how they present themselves, and comfort knowing that the interviewer has no preconceived ideas or has made no presumptions.

I felt supported throughout by the Early Talent team and my interviewers. In situations where I was unsure of the answer during my case-study interview, my interviewer helped guide me and allowed me to develop my thoughts to understand how I approached problem-solving and tasks that are unfamiliar to me – key skills for when you are a trainee!

Regarding the Watson-Glaser, CC have a practice test online which is helpful in preparing yourself for the real thing. I highly recommend practising using this resource, and others you can find online. Check with your university to see whether their careers offices have resources or practice tests for you to access too.

Were there any parts of the application process you particularly enjoyed or found challenging, and why?

As a non-law student, I found the initial idea of the interview process quite daunting. However, the case-study enabled me to leverage my commercial awareness and I was at no disadvantage having not studied law. The process encouraged me to discuss political and economic factors relating to my undergraduate degree, alongside broader commercial factors, and my understanding of CC.

What are your 3 top tips for applicants?

  1. Be curious! Engage, connect, and ask questions. Technical skills and knowledge can be taught, but natural curiosity and the soft skills of a great lawyer are things that you can start to develop now.
  2. Focus on talking points/examples to questions which align with CC values. For example, teamwork reflects CC's collaborative culture, and cross-border/cross-team approach. Your examples do not need to be law-related either – it is how you present them that is important.
  3. The importance of commercial awareness cannot be understated. However, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the complexity of some topics and this can have the opposite effect to the one you are trying to achieve. If this seems daunting, start with the FT News Briefing and/or CityAM, find a story that you're naturally curious about, and follow it. Build up your knowledge by researching the story and reading around the topic area. This should provide you with a solid commercial foundation from which you can apply the lessons learned to other scenarios.

Some commercial awareness starting points (that we recommend) include

  • Chambers Student Commercial Awareness Guide
  • Wake up to Money (podcast)
  • Coffee House Shots (podcast by the Spectator)
  • Bright Network Commercial Awareness Course
  • FT Daily Digest