Clyde & Co has become a destination employer for the most ambitious and talented graduates, while also championing interesting and diverse personalities. We spoke to Clyde & Co's recent vacation scheme cohort to gain insight into the recruitment process and learn how you can follow in their footsteps.
What attracted you to Clyde & Co and their vacation scheme?
"I went to the insight day and what stood out was that Clyde & Co is a law firm that is internationally known and it has a very strong focus on core sectors that essentially underpin global commerce. Another thing were the talks on diversity & inclusion. We had a talk from Andy Dent, the CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] manager and he essentially said "We’re not doing enough" and I quite value that honesty. For a law firm to acknowledge their own weaknesses, and the initiative they were using to combat that, that’s something that I really value."
" They had a presentation evening in November of last year and I really enjoyed it. They had a couple of partners talk about their experiences and some of the cases they had been working on and I was really fascinated. I saw myself in the future wanting to do that kind of work. They also had a networking session afterwards and everybody was really friendly and I think that that portrayed a very positive image, not only of the work the firm was doing, but of the people that were part of it."
Do you think attending insight events is important for your application process then?
"I think it’s really important that if you can attend an event, no matter how small it is, that you do that. Because it makes a big difference when getting to know the firm but also in applying so shout out to that."
"Sometimes insight days are very oversubscribed so something that’s really helped me is that if I can’t get onto one, then I message trainees on LinkedIn. You can schedule a phone conversation and then ask them all your questions."
"I want to add that it’s not necessary to go to any of them though. I didn’t – I had no interaction with the firm before my vac scheme interview. Just from doing my research I was able to get the fact that they focus on five core sectors and I brought that into my application form. You can use the resources that are available - you don’t need to live in London."
"I am similar as well to that – I’m currently working full time so attending insight days can be difficult and, well, it didn’t put me at a disadvantage because I managed to get here at the end!"
What did you find hard about the application process?
"I think for me, still being at university, balancing your time is the hard part. At the same time as the application deadlines, I had coursework due and exams coming up. I think it’s tough spending enough time on the application and also doing the university work."
"Another thing is the word count. You have a lot of information that you want to put across but it’s very hard to decide what’s important and what’s not. You need to know how to manage your space; how to be concise."
"It’s hard to show your personality in 400 words!"
"That’s important – let a little bit of yourself shine through as you because a lot of people are gonna write about similar stories."
Was there a highlight to the process that you especially remember?
"I quite liked the group exercise that we did on the assessment day. It was fun doing something that wasn’t law-based - it was just completely different. You couldn’t prepare for that whatsoever. And it gets people talking and thinking about stuff, so I thought that was a bit of a stand-out part of the process."
"I think what the group exercise allowed us to do was tap into our creativity. Because you’d often be a using a very systematic process in AC questions; 'Okay, have we covered x, y and z?' Whereas for this task it was definitely about thinking outside the box.”
"I think it shows Clyde & Co’s willing to take people that are non-law. Because non-law students often aren't as confident with business case studies. You just need the skills and they’re testing your skills."
"It creates like a level playing field going in. Some people in the room have different interests so they could bring interesting perspectives to the discussion and I think it really facilitated discussion."
So, what tips would you give to members hoping to follow in your footsteps?
"Understand that it is a sector-focused firm. That’s so important. You need to bring that into your application and understand the five sectors – why they’re important, what it leads into, the overall business and direction of the firm. Having that understanding would really make an application stand out from the crowd."
"I think for me one of the most important things is to be really specific on your application form and interview. If you can be specific and point to perhaps a large case that the firm has done or a person that you met at the firm who was really engaging, then it can really help your application stand out."
"I think if you’re non-law – so from my perspective - my tip would be make sure you understand not only why you want to do law, but also why you want to do law here."
"Every firm has its unique selling points. Like, Clyde & Co has GECCO [Gender Equality at Clyde & Co] and the different things it does for diversity. I think it’s putting in the effort and actually researching, not just sending off twenty applications to all the sector firms in the UK, but finding what makes that firm specifically attractive."
"Also, make sure you say why that is interesting to you. So, if you discuss a diversity initiative, don’t just mention it, say “well that’s interesting to me because x, y, z”. This gives an insight into you as a person if you bring it back to personal experiences."
"Everyone has something unique, something different about them. So essentially tap into that and extract all the qualities the firm is looking for, and apply it to the key competencies.”
One last question: has Bright Network helped you on your journey?
"I watched some of the videos, even at the start of my research, and it’s great to see what professionals in the industry are saying, so that helped me."
"I went to the [Bright Network] festival and there were a couple of panel presentations from [Clyde & Co] partners. The really good thing about Bright Network is that you meet people across an entire sort of broad range of careers so you’re not just going to meet legal professionals. Don’t limit yourself to only connecting with lawyers - you never know when you will meet with a person that could potentially have a very strong positive influence on your time at a firm."
"I went to First Year Lawyers Top 100. What I got out of that was learning how to differentiate firms at a really early stage. Also, the commercial awareness updates – I always read them before an interview. They’re helpful, they’re concise."
"If you can’t go to events, the Bright Network website is really useful - it has lots of information."
Ready to start your own journey with Clyde & Co? Find all live roles here.