Simmons & Simmons Training Contracts & Interview Questions

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Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

Simmons & Simmons training contracts are only open to those who have completed a vacation scheme with the firm. Applications for the London winter vacation scheme open near the start of September and close at the start of November. Applications for the London and Bristol summer vacation schemes open in mid-September and close in mid-December

Firm Overview

Simmons & Simmons was founded in the City in 1896 by twin brothers, Percy and Edward Simmons. They were newly qualified lawyers, just 21 years old. About half of the firm’s staff are in the London office, which is off Moorgate. There are 22 offices worldwide, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The firm has featured in the FT’s Innovative Lawyers Report. The firm has more than 1500 employees. UK offices are in London and Bristol. The firm focuses on four sectors in particular, these being: technology, media and telecommunications, asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, and healthcare and life sciences. It emphasises that it aims to be highly specialized in these sectors.

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Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

The training contract consists of four seats, each of six months. Each seat will be in a different area, so that you can understand a variety of the practice. The firm prides itself on its ‘unique’ Compass program, which appears to provide some direction for its trainees. After your induction, you will commence your first seat, which could be contentious or non-contentious. You will have to complete a minimum of one and maximum of two contentious seats – thus either two or three non-contentious seats. You can also take a secondment – a six month seat either with a client or in an international office. 70% of trainees take this opportunity, usually in the second, third, or fourth seat. 

Law Training Contract: Past Interview Format & Questions

The Simmons & Simmons application process – which is that for their vacation scheme – is described as being particularly complex by previous applicants. You will undertake (at least) a written exercise, case study and partner interview, and a group exercise.

Written Exercise

The written exercise is seen as being relatively straightforward, and takes one hour to complete. You will need to assimilate the most pertinent points and then write up the relevant information.

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Case Study & Partner Interview

According to one student, their case study was a contract. The interviewers had a particular set of answers that they were looking for, which it was apparent from the way they waited for certain keywords or phrases then marked accordingly.

Another student explains that their document analysis and partner interview lasted around an hour in total, of which 45 minutes was the interview itself. The contract was a service agreement between the firm and another enterprise. In the first half of the interview the student had to explain what the contract referred to, and then had to answer specific questions on each party’s liabilities, and when liability was triggered under the contract. Again, this student was aware the interviewer was ‘box-ticking’ based on whether the responses were correct or not.

A third student explains that the interview was part case study – contract analysis – and part competency questions. The case study was a ‘large document’ and reading through it in time was challenging. A significant number of questions were on joint ventures, the purpose of joint ventures, the consequences of a break up, and liability issues. You could read through the document during the interview to refresh your memory. The applicants felt that the interview was geared towards students on the LPC who already had good commercial law knowledge.

Group Exercise

The group exercise saw the applicants being asked to split into two groups, where they then had to discuss an area that Simmons & Simmons might consider looking into. They were provided with material to look at and use to back up their points. The group had to form a conclusion together, through each team member drawing a conclusion and discussing it with the rest of the group. This consensus was then pitched to the interviewers.

Situational Judgement Interview

A previous applicant describes their SJ interview as being with an associate and an HR employee. They were asked to read out a situation and then describe how they would deal with it. The interviewers were helpful and this was seen as a less-challenging component. 

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