Huge congratulations to Elizabeth who has secured a training contract with Slaughter and May. During a catch-up she told us all about her application experience, her vacation scheme with Slaughter and May and what you can do to make your application stand out.
Why did you apply to Slaughter and May?
Slaughter and May are a law firm that take the time to develop their trainee lawyers. They see each new hire as a long-term investment with the aim that each trainee will later become an associate and then go on to make partner. I felt this approach differed to several other magic circle firms and really appreciated that, upon being offered a role, the firm would believe in me and develop me as a lawyer. Slaughter and May also provide a broader training programme not requiring me to specialise in a particular type of law early on. As someone who doesn’t yet know what sort of lawyer I want to become this delayed approach to specialisation really appealed to me.
What was the application process like?
The process didn’t feel overly complicated which was a nice surprise. It started with an initial CV and cover letter screening before then being invited for a telephone interview. This interview turned out to be a mix of both technical and competency-related questions. Following this I was invited to the assessment centre where I remember being given a more unique exercise I hadn’t come across before. The exercise involved me being given several articles to read through on a specific topic. I had to formulate my own opinion on the topic and then face an interviewer. The interviewer and I had a discussion about the topic with the interviewer repeatedly challenging my opinions and argumentative skills. Despite this the interview never felt hostile, instead, it was relaxed and conversational with the interviewer and I simply debating a topic of interest.
How did you find your 3-week vacation scheme?
In short, it was insightful. Until you work in a law firm you can never really know what the daily lifestyle is. You only really have rumours and your own imagination to go off prior to working in the firm so to have the opportunity to spend a small amount of time inside was fantastic. These schemes give you a great insight into how a firm works, what the typical jobs are that you will be doing and what your co-workers will be like. During my scheme I was given interesting and detailed work, received unbelievable amounts of support from every single one of my colleagues and enjoyed my entire time spent at Slaughter and May.
What can you do at university to help your application?
There’s two types of things you can do:
- Firm-oriented activities: these are activities or events that give you insights into particular firms, for example, go to events where you can meet employees from the firms as they’ll be able to give you an insight you can’t get elsewhere as well as all the advice for how best to apply.
- Candidate-oriented activities: do things that help develop yourself whether it be skills or language courses, playing in sports teams or joining societies. Extra-curricular activities can teach you so much and give you other things to mention in your application.
What was the hardest interview question you’ve faced?
What is your greatest weakness? Give me an example of a time when it caused a problem and how you fixed it.