Slaughter & May Training Contracts & Interview Questions

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Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

Slaughter and May’s applications are open from September until November for their Spring intake, with interviews taking place from mid-October onward. Applicants for the Autumn intake are open from October until November in a given year, with interviews taking place from mid-February onward. Candidates are asked to apply as early as possible within an application window.

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Firm Overview

Slaughter and May is an international firm, with 115 worldwide partners, and 536 lawyers worldwide. It is part of the prestigious Magic Circle. International offices cover Hong Kong, Beijing, and Brussels, and 43 different languages are spoken by staff. The firm provides a ‘personal service’ with special emphasis placed on partner involvement, and ensuring continuity of service for the client. The firm has close relationships with leading independent law firms worldwide. 

Law Training Contract: Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

Trainees will take on four six month seats over the course of their two year training contract. You will work with the HR team to design your seating program. The intention is that you are able to understand which areas of law you are particularly interested in. All trainees must complete at least two six month seats in Corporate, M&A, and Financing groups. You will be able to choose where to spend the rest of your time. You might focus on one area or divide this time across two others. Specialist groups include competition, disputes and investigations, financial regulation, intellectual property, technology, pensions, employment and incentives, real estate, and tax. You will be asked for your first seat preferences prior to joining, at the CCP. Your first seat will therefore be allocated before you join.

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Law Training Contract: Past Interview Format & Questions

When you arrive at the office for the assessment day, you will begin with a written exercise. This requires no legal knowledge and advance preparation is not expected. It will be based around a fictional business, which is going through a strategic review process. You will be provided with various pieces of information, which might make up around five or six pages of reading. You will then need to write your own report once you have assimilated the relevant information. An example from a previous student is that they were asked to advise the CEO of a construction company on three potential business growth strategies, and decide on the best option. They were provided with graphs and charts to help in their judgement.

After the written exercise, you will be provided with a short current affairs article to read. You will be given fifteen minutes in which to do this. This is typically drawn from the Financial Times, and as such you should read the FT regularly in advance of the interview. You can take notes whilst you read the article.

This article will then form part of the discussion that you will have with the partners during your partners interview.

The Partners Interview

This is the principal interview of the day. You should expect questions relating to your CV, your commercial awareness, your motivation for joining Slaughter & May, and the article that you just read.

You will be expected to show an ability to assimilate information, identify the most pertinent issues from it, and then articulate your point of view. You must form an opinion and defend this opinion as appropriate. You should ‘expect to be challenged on your views.’

Previous questions asked during the partners interview include:

  • Can you summarise the key issues raised in the article?
  • What are the main themes, arguments and conclusions (if any)?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the arguments put and the position taken in the article and why?
  • Are the arguments provided in the article coherent and logical?
  • Are there relevant issues which are not touched on or developed in the article?
  • Why your university?
  • Why law?
  • Explain the disparity between your highest and lowest university grade.
  • What was your dissertation about?
  • Where else have you applied?
  • What A levels did you take?
  • Why did you choose your A Levels?
  • Why did you do a Law degree / why didn’t you do a Law degree?
  • Why Slaughter & May?

Interview with HR

This is the final part of the recruitment process. From previous trainees, it is assessed – whether Slaughter & May admit this or not. You will be asked to reflect on the day, as well as provide further discussion of your CV and motivation for applying.

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