Bright Network member Alice has secured herself a Training Contract at Fieldfisher. We caught up with Alice to discuss how she found the application process and to share the advice she would give to other members interested in a legal career.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
I have wanted to enter into a legal career for a long time, but was unsure of the exact path I’d choose. After deciding on commercial law, I submitted a number of applications and successfully obtained a vacation scheme with Fieldfisher in my second year of university. I absolutely loved my vacation scheme and it showed me that Fieldfisher was the right firm for me; not only are they known for excellent work in tech and medical negligence, but also for a great work-life balance and friendly environment. I was invited to interview for a training contract at the end of the vacation scheme, and found out I was successful shortly after.
Can you tell us about the application process? What was the toughest part and what was your favourite?
The application process is quite taxing! A written application was followed by a telephone interview, and then an assessment centre that included a group exercise, a written exercise, a one-on-one interview and then a presentation in front of all the other interviewees and interviewers. During the vacation scheme, there was also a group project and then a final training contract interview at the very end, if your scheme had been successful. The toughest part was the assessment centre – you really have to be on good form and do your absolute best. As it's such a long day it can be hard to keep focused, so get a good nights sleep beforehand! My favourite part was the group project during the vacation scheme – it’s a great chance to get to know the other vac-schemers and practice your presentation skills.
What advice would you give to members looking to follow in your footsteps?
My most valuable tip would be to be honest with yourself (and the firm) in what you want. If you desperately want to work for a Magic Circle firm, don't apply to a mid-size firm and then try and convince them that you love smaller offices. Honesty is always best and often the reasons why you want to work for a firm are the same reasons why they love working there.
Always be yourself and don't try to act how you think a commercial lawyer should act; you’re trying to convince the firm to hire you over the other people in the room, so make the most of your personality and show them that it's an asset.
Finally, do your research! You should know exactly what your firm specialises in, (roughly) how many people they employ, whether they’re big on pro-bono or international secondments and what the firm’s core ethos is. These will all come up either in the application or the assessment centre, and it will help you decide which firm is right for you.
How did Bright Network help?
I found the commercial law Career Path Guide invaluable for tracking application deadlines and researching vacation schemes. The ‘understanding…’ articles are fantastic for getting into the nitty-gritty of certain aspects of commercial law, and gave me greater confidence in my commercial awareness. The Guide is generally excellent for answering any question on any aspect of the vacation scheme/training contract process and I credit it with helping me secure my Training Contract!