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10 Most Common Training Contract Interview Questions and Model Answers

Law Training Contract Application Specialists

Law training contract interviews at leading firms can cover difficult questions that require a mixture of reflection and the ability to draw on accumulated knowledge and experience. Here, we present ten common questions suitable for an applicant to a UK law firm. You can find more questions in our dedicated Training Contract Interview Course & Question Bank.

Understanding of Law

Why do you want to pursue a career in law?

The dynamism and intellectual challenge of law have always intrigued me. Law is at the core of societal operation, setting the framework for relationships, businesses, and governance. I appreciate the intricacy and critical thinking involved in constructing an argument or interpreting legislation. Moreover, the potential to make a real difference, whether assisting clients navigate complex issues or engaging in pro bono work, provides a meaningful dimension to this profession. My internship experiences further cemented this interest, exposing me to the practical application of legal principles.

What areas of law are you most interested in and why?

I have a keen interest in Corporate Law. The dynamism of the corporate world, the importance of strategic decision-making, and the interplay of various stakeholders appeal to my analytical nature. I enjoy the complexities of negotiating deals, ensuring regulatory compliance, and providing sound advice to businesses. My coursework in Company Law and subsequent internships have deepened my understanding and fueled my passion for this field.

Can you discuss a recent legal case that has interested you, and explain why it was of particular significance?

The landmark Supreme Court ruling in Uber BV v Aslam piqued my interest due to its implications on the ‘gig economy’. The court ruled that Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed, affording them better employment rights. It was particularly intriguing because it not only redefined employment status in the gig economy, but also demonstrated the importance of legal innovation in response to evolving societal and economic conditions. This case underscores the evolving role of law in addressing modern challenges.

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Personal Attributes

Can you describe a situation where you had to handle a high-pressure situation and how did you handle it?

During my final year of university, I was tasked with a dissertation project with an extremely tight deadline while simultaneously juggling five other coursework projects. Understanding the enormity of the task at hand, I divided the project into smaller, manageable parts, setting specific and achievable goals for each day. Moreover, I utilized a strategic approach of prioritizing tasks based on their weightage and deadline. Regular breaks to recharge and consistent check-ins with my supervisor ensured I was on the right track. Despite the immense pressure, I maintained a positive mindset, and ultimately, was able to submit my dissertation on time and receive a high grade.

Can you provide an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership within a team setting?

I led a group during a law society negotiation competition. As the leader, I facilitated a collaborative environment and encouraged open dialogue to ensure everyone’s ideas were considered. I delegated tasks based on the strengths and expertise of the team members. I guided the team in creating a negotiation strategy, maintaining a focus on achieving the desired outcome while ensuring mutual respect with the opposing team. Despite encountering disagreements, we discussed them professionally, which further strengthened our team dynamics. Our team won the competition due to our coordinated efforts and mutual trust.

Tell us about a time when you had to manage a conflict within a team. How did you resolve it?

In a team project during my degree, two team members had differing views on our strategy, creating tension. Understanding the importance of resolution for our project’s success, I facilitated a meeting between them. I encouraged each to express their viewpoints and listened attentively, ensuring they felt heard. We evaluated the merits of both perspectives and managed to merge the two strategies, drawing on the strengths of each. This not only resolved the conflict but also resulted in a more effective strategy that ultimately led to the successful completion of the project. This experience taught me the importance of listening, negotiation, and compromise in conflict resolution.

 
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Attributes (cont.) and Experiences

Please give us an example of a time that you have shown flexibility.

I played rugby for the 2nd XV at university when in my second year, which was a good team but one that was plagued with injuries. I was supposed to play wing. However, in the lead up to important matches we had injuries to (at different points) one of the centres, our full back, and a flanker. Each time, the team captain asked me to step up and switch positions, as we had another great winger waiting on the bench, but no one who was particularly strong in the other positions – and the other winger was only comfortable on the wing. I was happy to step up and play where I was needed, to make sure that the team could succeed. This flexibility on my part was part of the recipe that allowed us to win a string of games that season. 

 

Describe a team that you were in that was not performing well together, how did you fix it?

In my final year of my undergraduate degree, I had to take on a semester-long project as part of a team of four students. The project was highly important for my grade. However, the team performed poorly at the outset. The tutor selected a leader for each team, and our team’s leader was disorganised and lacked the confidence to lead. The team did not have any clarity on roles or responsibilities, leading to work being done far too slowly. We were behind schedule. I therefore decided to speak to the leader and express my concerns. They agreed that they were struggling, and said that they felt out of their depth. I therefore asked them if they would be comfortable with me taking charge – they were relieved by this and agreed. I took charge and ensured that we had clear roles to work on, and we were able to turn the project around.

Tell me about a time where you showed initiative.

I showed initiative when I took it upon myself to sign up for an Oxford summer camp whilst at school. I went to a school that sent few students to Oxbridge, and was seen as inadequate by Ofsted. I therefore knew that my chances of excelling without some help were slim. As such, I looked into what help I could get outside of school that wouldn’t require money. Oxford offered courses for less-advantaged students, and I applied to one. I had to interview and hand in an example essay. I did both, and was given a place. I believe that taking the initiative to do this was a huge part of the reason that I subsequently received a place at Oxford.

Describe a time you worked with people from other backgrounds/cultures.

I had to work with people from a different background to my own when I did a six week placement working in a hospital in Belize. Whilst Belize is English speaking, their English is very different to our own – they speak Creole – and the country is impoverished and idiosyncratic. Violence is rife throughout both the capital city and the country as a whole. However, I found those that I worked alongside to be hugely inspiring. There were a variety of nationalities represented in the hospital staff, but the majority were Cuban or Belizean. Listening to their stories put many of my own experiences in perspective, and they were able to handle difficult patients with ease. It was clear that having such a range of backgrounds on the team was vital to its success, as it allowed the staff to understand those who came to them for help. This experience of working in an interdisciplinary team was of particular interest for me when considering a career in law, as I am aware that I would work with other lawyers, clients, paralegals, secretaries, HR, etc. 

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