Law Training Contact Interview Questions and Answers

Law Training Contract Application Specialists

How would you deal with a situation in which you had to cover someone else’s work late in the day, just before you were due to leave the office?

This is a situational judgement question. In such a scenario, you should always try to directly address the relevant party, consider the main issue, consider background issues and their effects, and if needed consult a senior.

I would try to communicate with the person whose work I needed to cover, to better understand the situation. If they were unavailable, then I would look for more information from whoever had informed me of the work. I would need more information in order to understand how to proceed. I would need to understand the nature of the work, the date or time by which it was due, and whether the other person had notes or information that I could use – and whether they might be able to provide input at some point. If the deadline was very soon, then I would speak to a senior to understand the best way to proceed, and see if they felt that me staying in the office to complete the other person’s work was necessary for the client and/or beneficial to the firm.

You are a trainee solicitor. You are asked to bulk scan a pile of disclosure documents that has been handed to you, compress the digital file and email it to the Defendant’s Solicitors. You successfully complete the task by the stated deadline and receive an out of office response from the recipient. Upon reading the digital file at the end of the day, you realise that part of the client file handed to you has been scanned and sent to the Defendant’s Solicitors. What (if anything) do you do and why?

I would inform my supervisor immediately, recognising that in this situation, time is of the essence as the Defendant’s Solicitors can be contacted and asked to return the privileged information and/or not read the digital file.

I would also be aware that the legal privilege in the documents accidentally disclosed belongs to the client and it is within their power to waive it, however, in these circumstances they would most certainly not grant any such waiver.

I would be aware that there is case law before the SDT and that in one case, the trainee solicitor (despite being aware of the problem) concealed it for several days.  The Defendant’s solicitors acting honestly contacted the trainee’s firms and offered to return the privileged material.  The trainee solicitor was subject to SDT proceedings and was struck off because concealing the error was regarded as being dishonest.

Why will you make a good lawyer at this firm?

Make sure to address both parts of this question. You need to outline why you will be good, and why you are a fit for the firm.

I believe that I will make a good lawyer at this firm because I fit the firm’s ambition, global-focus, and its desire to excel in dealings whilst remaining honest and acting with integrity. I have aimed high consistently throughout my life so far, and have achieved my goals at each step. I have lived in the UK and abroad, and am eager to continue this through a secondment during my training contract. I believe that my highly analytical nature would perfectly fit a role in the M&A division, and from my research and speaking to current trainees, I understand your firm’s M&A division to be the best in the UK. Alongside my ability to analyse, I strongly believe in personal integrity, honest teamworking, and achieving success through diversity – and believe that your firm emphasises each of these factors to the same degree.

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How will you personally contribute to this firm if you secure a contract here?

The key word here is ‘personally’ which you should take to mean ‘beyond the standard remit of your job.’

I would contribute personally to the firm not only through my work, but through my personality and my desire to become involved in the community in which I work. I would hope to boost the specific team that I work in through a positive attitude, calm and methodical approaches to stressful situations, and meticulous and well-organised high-quality work. I would hope to in turn contribute to the firm itself through this work, securing clients and consistently impressing them. In terms of the community within the firm, I would want to contribute through supporting my co-workers when they are in difficulty or challenged, being an active part of the firm and its social life, and helping to organise team events, challenges, sporting activities etc.

What attracts you to wanting to work at a Magic Circle firm?

Whilst the question relates to the Magic Circle, it is important to not lose sight of the specific firm where the interview is taking place.

There are various reasons as to why I want to join a Magic Circle firm. The most pertinent would be in regards to the training offered and the practice areas which a Magic circle firm offers which are unparalleled compared to other City firms. As a trainee I can understand the importance of joining a firm where the training offered is second to none, and a Magic Circle firm invests hugely in the training programmes and training offered by senior lawyers to their trainees.

Further, from my research the chambers ranking which most practice areas within a Magic Circle firm’s hold are significantly high and as someone who has not had much experience of working within different practice areas it is important to me to join a firm which offers practicing capabilities across various areas and working at Linklaters/A&O/Clifford Chance/ Freshfields/Slaughter and May would allow for this.

Describe a time when you had to do something you hadn't done before.

The key here is to show adaptability, confidence, and a willingness to put yourself in new situations and do well in them.

I had to do something I had not done before when I was asked to give a lecture in my second year of university. I had to present a legal precedent case to a lecture hall of about 150 students. Whilst I was used to public speaking, I wasn’t used to speaking to that number of people. I was therefore nervous beforehand, and this drove me to prepare as well as I possibly could, to feel as confident as I could. When the event came around, I found that I was calm under the pressure, and was able to give a clear and fluent lecture which the audience enjoyed and were able to follow with ease. I was given excellent feedback by the tutor that had asked me to take this challenge on, and felt that I grew in confidence as a result.

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What would you do if you have a flight to catch in the morning and work to get done tonight but a partner asks you to attend a client dinner?

This is a question about balancing responsibilities & priorities, and showing a logical process when doing so

A situation of this type could be a common occurrence when working a high-pressure job. I believe that the best approach would be to gather the facts as far as possible. I would therefore speak to the partner and ask whether the client dinner is high-priority, and if it is of a higher priority than the work that needs to be done tonight. If they explain that both are equally high-priority, then I would theoretically need to attend the dinner and then find the time to get the work done afterwards. This could be difficult or even impossible time-wise, so I could also consider asking a trainee from the department to cover for me, if the partner agreed to this compromise. I would want to balance the interests of the firm with my own mental health and wellbeing throughout, and would therefore ensure that I spoke to the partner or a senior throughout.

How would you try to make a client presentation innovative?

It is important to break this down into both the format / approach to the presentation and the content presented within it.

To make a client presentation innovative, I would consider both the format of the presentation and the content within it. Regarding the format first, it could be made innovative through the use of multiple media forms embedded within it, interactive elements, etc. Regarding the content, I would want to provide information that showed that the firm’s research and knowledge was at the cutting-edge. I would therefore look to speak to seniors at the firm, conduct extensive market research and analysis myself, and ensure that I was on top of any possible new developments in the space in which the client operated.

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