We recently caught up with Eleanor about securing a training contract with Eversheds Sutherland. She elaborates on how she built commercial awareness before the interview, how Bright Network helped her secure the role, and her top tips for Bright Network members looking to follow in her footsteps.
Why a role with Eversheds Sutherland?
I was drawn to a training contract with Eversheds Sutherland owing to its global outlook, wide variety of seat choices and friendly culture.
How did you build your commercial awareness before the interview?
I found that the best way to enhance my commercial awareness was to build it into my everyday life, rather than viewing it as a separate activity. In this respect, I was fortunate enough to have secured paralegal work at another international law firm prior to my training contract, so much of my commercial awareness was gained through my job at the time. That being said, I also frequently read the FT and listened to the Today programme on Radio 4 during my morning commute.
How did Bright Network help you secure this role?
Attending events such as the Bright Network Festival really opened the door to the career path I have chosen to follow. Through speaking with firms and attending talks at the Festival I was able to picture myself as a commercial solicitor. I also found resources provided on the Bright Network website that helped me at every step of the application process, such as the ‘Success Stories’ and the guide to assessment centres.
What top three tips would you give Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps.
- Do your research on the firm – read articles about the firm’s recent work and attend on-campus presentations, open days and law fair stands.
- When attending events, try to speak to as many of the firm representatives in attendance as possible. I found that this was a good way to learn details about the firm that I was keen to find out, but which did not feature in the graduate recruitment brochure. This in turn helped me to make my application stand out.
- It is crucial that you make your written application the best it can be. Structure your answers using PEEL (Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link), STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) or similar so that the person reviewing your application can quickly understand your response. If the firm has made a list of characteristics they look for in a trainee, try to include examples of how you meet these within your application.
What’s been the toughest interview question you've faced?
During the Eversheds Sutherland vacation scheme assessment centre, between activities candidates are asked to reflect on their experience. I had never undertaken reflection in an assessment centre previously, and so initially I found this somewhat daunting! However, I quickly learned that the firm was looking for honest and open responses; there were no rights or wrongs. I have found that Eversheds Sutherland places great importance on being yourself at work, and this is evident in their novel approach to understanding each candidate’s experience of the assessment centre.