Huge congratulations to Hilaire who has managed to secure herself a training contract at Linklaters. Here she tells us of her experience during the recruitment process and even gives some useful tips for future applicants.
Why did you choose this firm and this role?
I chose the firm not only because it was a Magic Circle law firm, meaning that I will be able to receive fantastic training and engage with high profile, international and challenging work, but also because of the culture of the firm. This is something that is less tangible but incredibly important to me. I got a sense of the firm culture initially through networking, even before sending in my application. I further expanded this network when I interacted with the Linklaters’ team and attended presentations during my vacation scheme. I found that the firm has a highly driven, cooperative and friendly atmosphere. Linklaters also embodies values which I prize myself, for example actively working to create a more diverse workforce and encouraging initiative-taking.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
The toughest part was probably the assessment day for the vacation scheme, which consisted of an HR interview, a case study under time pressure, and a partner interview. After putting so much effort into the online application, I really wanted to do my best. My favourite part was the vacation scheme itself, which confirmed my desire to become a lawyer, and to work at Linklaters in particular. As it was my first ever vacation scheme as a non-law student, it was very much the deciding factor of whether I wanted to go into law!
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
I think the most pleasant surprise was just how forthcoming and willing people were to help me during my application process. To me, 'networking' meant reaching out to people from various circles and being bold enough to ask for help and advice - whether from college alumni, networking events, or family and friends. Simply dropping them a line on LinkedIn or email often led to extensive discussions and the sharing of personal experiences that helped me to gain a more intimate insight into the legal industry and the life of a lawyer, overall helping me in the application process.
What three top tips would you give your fellow Bright Network members?
Do your research - and go beyond online research. Be active and bold, and reach out to people from your circles (such as college alumni) and use resources like LinkedIn.
Quality over quantity - I can't emphasise enough that it is not a numbers game. Time and effort is an absolute prerequisite for a stellar application - one that will make you stand out and demonstrate that you understand and care about their firm.
Personalise each application - a good rule of thumb is that your application shouldn't make sense if you replaced the firm's name with another. Get people to read over your applications and to check for errors and inconsistencies.
Don't let rejections (and there will be many!) get you down - believe in your abilities, try your hardest and do yourself justice - after all, you only need one application to pull through.
What was the toughest question you faced at interview?
Which office around the world would you close down?
How has Bright Network helped you?
Bright Network has helped me by reminding me that there are a wealth of industries and firms to enter - not just law - and so ensured that I maintained an open mind and considered all possibilities. The commercial awareness email updates offered excellent and condensed summaries of key developments in business. The online resources such as firm profiles, interviews and applications were really helpful in my preparation for law applications.