We caught up with future Linklaters Trainee, Adnan Ali, whoi started on the Pathfinder Programme, became a Brand Ambassador for the firm at his university and took part in their Winter Vacation Scheme. Read on to hear about his legal journey so far...
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I currently study Political Science and International Relations at the University of Birmingham, due to graduate in 2022. With sustainability being an avid interest of mine, I have taken part in several environmental initiatives such as volunteering for The Wildlife Trusts, acting as a climate correspondent for The Commonwealth and was invited to advise political officials on encouraging youth engagement in the environmental discussion. I am also an artist with a focus on acrylic palette knife pieces and was awarded ‘Curriculum Certificate Winner’ for my A-Level Fine Art project!
What stood out to you about Linklaters and what is the culture like?
Linklaters stood out to me because of their excellence in a wide range of practice areas, with many practices holding a tier 1 ranking. Because of this, I knew I would receive market-leading training and would be at the forefront of the legal landscape no matter what practice I am seated in upon qualification. Also, due to my environmental interests, I wanted to join a firm that shares the same passion as I do. Not only has Linklaters advised on over 100 green bonds in 2020 alone, but they have ranked Band 1 for their ESG expertise by Chambers 2021.
The culture at Linklaters was also a deciding factor for me as I felt welcomed and appreciated from my very first interaction with the firm. Throughout my experiences, I have been continuously encouraged to embrace my interests and personality. Thinking back to my knowledge on the Pathfinder programme compared to today, my understanding and confidence have grown exponentially, and I credit this to Linklaters’ investment in their candidates. During my Vacation Scheme, I sat in the Financial Regulation group and spoke to numerous individuals at all levels of seniority from all around the firm, and they were more than happy to answer any questions I had. I was also invited to my practice area’s Christmas party and had daily meetings with my supervisor as he wanted to ensure I was enjoying my experience. Furthermore, Linklaters is incredibly diverse and are trailblazing the industry with their diversity commitments. For example, the Making Links Initiative, Race Action Plan and Halo Code implementation. Overall, it was clear to me that Linklaters invests heavily in the personal and professional development of their candidates, which cemented that this was the firm for me.
What are your top tips for members going through the Linklaters application process?
My number one tip would be to understand the Linklaters Agile Mindset Framework like the back of your hand. This framework is what you will be tested on throughout the online CAPP assessment and the interviews. It is a set of competencies that the firm looks for in their candidates to assess if an applicant would be a good fit for the firm and its culture. I recommend applicants go through the framework and think about what experiences they have had that demonstrates their strength in a particular competency. Then lay this experience out utilising the STAR (situation, task, action, result) or CAR (context, action, result) structure ready to answer if asked at interview when you have displayed a specific competency. Repeat this process for every competency on the framework.
What were your favourite aspects of your different experiences with Linklaters?
During my penultimate year, I was the Linklaters brand ambassador for the University of Birmingham. The position involved promoting the firm’s presentations and competitions, hosting collaborative events with fellow ambassadors and being the first point of contact for students on campus interested in Linklaters. Alongside improving our interpersonal skills through student, staff and firm interactions, Linklaters delivered training sessions to the ambassadors, which developed our technical knowledge and provided us with a deeper insight into the firm. From this experience, my favourite aspects were networking with like-minded individuals, helping students navigate the application process and building a relationship with the Linklaters graduate recruitment team!
Throughout all my experiences with Linklaters, I have thoroughly enjoyed gaining an in-depth insight into the numerous departments at the firm, the application process and the work conducted. Also, the networking opportunities were crucial in my progression as a candidate. Conversating with trainees, associates and partners allowed me to gain a more personalised understanding of the firm, which I utilised in my interviews to set me apart from the crowd.
Did Bright Network help you secure these roles and, if so, how?
Bright Network has provided me with a variety of insights into several industries, which gave me the confidence to make well-informed decisions on my career. The Internship Experience UK programmes were incredibly helpful in the career selection process because I had the opportunity to network with leading industry professionals, learn about key trends and meet many like-minded individuals. Also, the plethora of online resources provided by Bright Network helped prepare me for the competitive application process!
Have you got anything else you'd like to add?
An extra tip:
- Utilise LinkedIn:
- Look for students in the years above you who have already completed vacation schemes and secured training contracts. Look through their profiles and look out for all the programmes they have completed (insight schemes, scholarships, mentoring programmes.) Now take this information and create a document to store all of the opportunities you have found along with their deadlines. By doing this, you can take advantage of all the programmes that interest you and avoid missing deadlines.
- Reach out to individuals from the firms you hope to apply for and politely ask if they could talk to you about their personal experiences. The majority of people will be more than happy to provide some insights, and some may even offer to have a quick phone call with you. You can then utilise these personal insights in applications and interviews to display how you went the extra mile!
Want to follow in Adnan's footsteps? Find out more about Linklaters and apply here.