Congratulations to Francesca, who has secured a vacation scheme with Squire Patton Boggs, which she found on the Bright Network website. Here, she tells us of her experience and gives some helpful tips for future applicants.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
As I was applying for vacation schemes on my year abroad, I only applied for roles that I thought would be a good fit. I chose Squire Patton Boggs because I wanted to experience the work of a global commercial law firm in Birmingham. I was initially attracted to the firm for its six-seat training contract and the chance to do a client secondment after completing the LPC. This struck me as a way to develop skills early on in my career. Using mostly online resources, like Squire Patton Boggs' LinkedIn, Lexology and Bright Network, I became more familiar with the firm’s work and ethos.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
The most challenging part of the application process was writing the cover letter explaining my reasons for applying to the firm. As this was only my second application, I spent many hours brainstorming how my recent experiences and interests (involvement in societies, work experience, etc.) could link to the business world and to the activities of a trainee solicitor. My favourite part of the application process was the assessment day. Both of my interviews were led by lawyers who asked a variety of questions – about commercial awareness, of course, but also about my extracurricular activities. I came away feeling that I had not shied away from anything and that I had been true to myself.
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
I was surprised by how academically diverse the other applicants were on the assessment day. The mix of universities and degrees (straight LLB, law with languages, GDL and non-law) showed me that this firm attracts talent from all backgrounds.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
- Do not spend time on applications that you do not believe in. Of course, it is uncommon for candidates to feel overly confident about any application, but if you (1) have left it to the last minute, or (2) are copying and pasting answers from previous applications for the sake of it, it will be obvious.
- If you feel nervous about a quirky/unconventional (but relevant) extracurricular activity, do not hesitate to include it on your CV. My personal experience is that these things make your application memorable. Being able to talk passionately about your extracurricular activities at interview is a bonus.
- When preparing for interview, research classic competence questions, then make a list of your personal experiences that can be linked to those questions. It may make you cringe, but talking them over with a friend or partner will make them seem more familiar at interview.
What was the toughest question you faced at interview?
How I would react as a managing partner to a member of my team leaving the firm to work for one of our top clients.