Macfarlanes Training Contracts & Interview Questions

Law Training Contract Application Specialists

Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

 Macfarlanes applications are open from the end of September to the end of July in a typical year.

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Firm Overview

Macfarlanes is a corporate law firm headquartered in London. It is part of the prestigious Silver Circle of leading UK law firms. It advises national and multinational companies, as well as HNWIs, across corporate and commercial matters mainly. It achieved  total revenues of £237.7 million and profits per equity partner of £1.91 million in 2017-2018, the second highest profits per partner by a UK-based law firm, and the 28th highest revenue.

The firm has 300 lawyers, 500 employees, and was founded in 1875.

Law Training Contract: Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

You will rotate across four different seats, each for a six month period. Most trainees will complete a seat in corporate and one seat in M&A. You will be able to submit seat preferences and the firm will do its best to ensure that you get the seats that you want. In each seat, you will be supervised by a partner or senior solicitor, who will support you. When you begin your training program, you will have seminars and lectures presented by partners and seniors at the firm. The program is front loaded to ensure that you can develop your knowledge from the outset.

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Law Training Contract: Past Interview Format & Questions

You should be aware that Macfarlanes might be adjusting its assessment days due to COVID-19. However, a typical assessment day consists of three separate assessments; a written exercise, an in-tray interview, and an application interview.

The Written Exercise

The written exercise could be one of the following (drawn from previous applicants):
– A letter to a client advising on whether they had grounds to sack some employees, which involved looking at the employment contract, examining it against the facts, and then providing a conclusion.
– 45 minutes in which you had to read information, plan, and then write a letter and memo. The memo is to a partner at Macfarlanes and the letter is to a customer of your client, who has been complaining about the service received from the client’s holiday business.
– A written exercise in which you had limited time to work out a company share buy out situation, and then write a letter to the client. This involved some knowledge of basic maths, although this should not be an issue for most.

The in-tray Interview

The in-tray interview will be with a partner and a senior solicitor, and in it you will discuss a series of matters that you have had the time to read and prepare notes on. The case study is described as being ‘challenging’ by previous applicants and it seems that partners will take tough lines of questioning here.

Another previous applicant states that you are provided with 30 minutes to read through three cases and answer questions on each case. You will then go through these answers with one partner. Supposedly, the aim here is to test your resilience, which is one of the core competencies you need to display. This is the reason for the partners repeatedly questioning the statements that you make. You need to show a logical thought process and the ability to defend your answer.

The application interview

This is the final interview of the day. It is with a partner and a member of the HR team. Here, you will discuss your application – this is the only part of the day that is not ‘application blind’ so you need to understand that the interviewers here will be well-aware of you and your achievements. You will be asked questions on your personal experiences, and competency questions.

Example questions from previous applicants include:

– Tell me about a particular time that you faced a challenge. How did you overcome it?
– Tell me about a time where you showed initiative.
– Tell me about your grades at school. Why did you get this grade in this subject?
– How can you demonstrate your ability as a team worker?
– How can you demonstrate that you have resilience?
– What recent developments in the world of commerce have interested you?
– Can you tell me about an article that you’ve read recently that you found particularly interesting?

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