Case study

Jasmine Hepple — Early talent advisor

Taylor Wessing LLP

Jasmine works at law firm Taylor Wessing as an early talent advisor. Here she gives advice on how to really make you application stand out

What really stands out in an application form?

What stands out is a clear and concise presentation of your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. Attention to detail, strong written communication skills, and a genuine passion for the legal profession are also important factors.

What kind of extracurricular activities really impress you on an application?

Extracurricular activities that demonstrate leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and a commitment to personal development are highly valued. Some examples might include participating in student societies, volunteering, mooting competitions, pro bono work, or holding positions of responsibility.

What are the main reasons you reject a training contract or vacation scheme application?

Applications may be rejected if they lack attention to detail, fail to demonstrate a genuine interest in the firm or the legal profession, or do not meet the required academic or competency-based criteria.

What makes the difference between a good application and an excellent one?

An excellent application goes beyond meeting the basic requirements. It showcases a deep understanding of the firm, its values, and its clients. It demonstrates a strong alignment between your skills and experiences and the specific requirements of the trainee solicitor role. This is also a great way to highlight your unique contributions and achievements.

How can candidates get across their commercial awareness in an application?

Candidates can demonstrate their commercial awareness by staying up to date with current affairs, particularly those relevant to the legal industry and the firm they are applying to. You should be able to discuss recent legal developments, market trends and the potential impact on clients.

How can a vacation scheme student show they've got what it takes to be a successful solicitor?

Vacation scheme students who go on to secure a training contract often display a strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and a proactive approach during their time on the scheme. They actively seek opportunities to learn, contribute to the practice areas they spend time with and build relationships with colleagues. It's also important to demonstrate an interest in the firm and activities that take place outside of the day job.

How can people make up for the fact that they haven't done any work experience at a law firm?

Candidates who haven't had the opportunity to gain work experience at a law firm can still demonstrate their interest and commitment to the legal profession through other means. This can include relevant academic projects, extracurricular activities, volunteering, or transferable skills gained from other work experiences.

How can somebody make the right impression at a law fair?

Candidates should come prepared with questions about the firm and engage in meaningful conversations with people during the events. They should demonstrate their knowledge of the firm, their enthusiasm for the legal profession, and their ability to articulate their skills and experiences effectively.

Thinking about your assessment day, what skills are you looking for from the group exercise?

In a group exercise, we assess candidates' ability to collaborate, communicate, and contribute effectively within a team. We look for individuals who can listen actively, respect others' opinions, offer constructive input, and work towards achieving a common goal.

What's your advice to those who don't feel comfortable speaking up in group exercises?

Active participation is valued, but this doesn't necessarily mean dominating the conversation.

Focus on listening attentively, contributing thoughtfully when you have something valuable to add, and demonstrating your ability to work collaboratively with others.

How can you tell whether a candidate really wants the job?

We can gauge a candidate's genuine interest in the job through their level of preparation, their knowledge of the firm and the role and their enthusiasm through the process.

Candidates that demonstrate their motivation for a training contract at Taylor Wessing would be able to clearly articulate why they are interested in Taylor Wessing and how they align with our values and culture.

What kind of questions should candidates ask at interview?

Candidates should ask questions that demonstrate their research and genuine interest in the firm. For example, ask about the firm's practice areas, recent cases or deals, training and development opportunities and the firm's culture and values.

What shouldn't they ask?

Avoid asking questions that can be easily be found on the firm's website. Try to focus more on questions that show your genuine interest in the firm and the role of a trainee solicitor, rather than questions that solely focus on areas like salary and benefits. While this is important to support your decision making, this information is often accessible if you do your research.

How can non-law students show their commitment to a career in law?

Non-law students can still demonstrate their commitment to a career in law through various means, for instance, participating in courses or webinars to enhance your knowledge or meeting people at the firm and asking advice. Attending open days, law fairs or firm-specific events is not only a great way to demonstrate that you are committed to a career in law, but it can also give you valuable insight as to whether that firm is the right place for you.

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