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DLA Piper Training Contracts & Interview Process

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Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

You will be able to gain a place on a DLA Piper training contract through attending, and standing out in, a Summer Internship with the firm. Applications generally open in the first week of September and will shut at the end of December. Per the firm, ‘during the summer internship, you will be assessed for a place on the firm’s Graduate Programme (Training Contract).’

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Firm Overview

DLA Piper has risen quickly from national firm to multinational, although it is seen by many as primarily still being a ‘national’ firm, with offices throughout the UK and a good amount of regional work. Nonetheless, it has offices in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Its revenues of around $2.5 billion and average profit per equity partner of around $1.5 million place it as a true multinational, and it is in fact the third largest law firm in the US as measured by revenue. It has around 4200 lawyers. It was formed in January 2005 through the merger of Gray Cary Ware and Fredenrich of San Diego, Piper Rudnick of Baltimore and DLA Piper, from the UK. It is now technically two partnerships structured as a Swiss Verein – DLA Piper International LLP and DLA Piper LLP (the former being UK and the latter US). The firm has had consistently good financial results in recent years, with the profit per partner growing by 7.7% in the most recent report. 

Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

Trainees rank three preferences for their next seat midway through each seat, and the firm tries its best to accommodate them. There are no compulsory seats, although in reality some placements are much more likely depending on the office you are in – like real estate in Edinburgh, for example. Client secondments are common at DLA, but trying to get an international secondment is much more difficult. The firm itself says that there are ‘plenty of opportunities’ but from trainees this seems debatable. At most a third of trainees might go abroad – opportunities are in Dubai, Bangkok, Moscow, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

The assessment day includes a series of exercises: a strengths-based interview, analysis presentation and a group exercise. ‘There is no preparation required before you attend the assessment day,’ according to the firm – which should be taken with a pinch of salt. 

Partner Interview

The partner interview is described by previous applicants as being made up of typical questions. They are competency based or focus on the firm and your motivation. Partners have a piece of paper in front of them listing the questions to ask, so the interview is very structured.

Previous questions include:
– Why DLA Piper?
– Why this office at DLA?
– Why are you interested in commercial law?
– Can you think of an example of a problem that you faced outside of law, and how did you overcome it?
– When have you demonstrated teamwork?
– When have you demonstrated leadership?
– When have you demonstrated problem solving?
– Please tell me about this experience on your CV
– What distinguishes DLA from other firms,in your view?

Group Exercise

Per previous applicants, the group exercise is designed so that there is purposefully not enough time to discuss everything in it. You will need to prioritise. Some issues are marked as ‘very important’ so that it is clear to the group that prioritisation is essential to success in the task.

Analysis Presentation

This is essentially a commercial case study, linked to the group exercise. You will have an information pack, which has a variety of information in it on a fictional company. You will be provided with one hour in which to analyse it and then devise a future strategy for the company based on it. You then have ten minutes in which to present your strategy to a partner, and five minutes to then respond to questions. Structuring your time is crucial, according to previous applicants – as there is a significant amount of information to read through, but you need to develop a strategy to present the most pertinent information within the time too. Another applicant states that they had to increase profitability for a certain company. You are allowed to write notes which you can use to refer to when presenting to the partners.

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