Here is everything I wish I’d known before embarking on mine. I draw from my experiences of two assessment centres I attended: Herbert Smith Freehills and Accutrainee.
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1. A basic knowledge of contract law is needed
At the assessment centre, you may be given a case study to prepare. As I discovered, the case study required some knowledge of contract law.
In my opinion, having a basic idea of the following will guide you in AC’s:
Knowing the five elements of a legally binding contract;
‘Agreements to agree’are normally void for uncertainty; You may be a given a contract defined as ‘heads of terms’. The parties agree that they will negotiate on the given terms which may be ‘’subject to contract’;
Knowing the difference between ‘Warranties’ and ‘Conditions’, and that a buyer may want ‘Warranties’ from a seller;
That an agreement not to negotiate with other parties (a ‘lock-out agreement’) is void, unless the agreement has a time limit.
2. The assessment centre might be close to exam time
This will definitely be the case if you apply for a spring vacation scheme. Chances are the assessment centre will be held in January.
When I was invited to an assessment centre by Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), they held their assessment days in the week I had two exams. I could therefore not prepare as thoroughly.
Do check when the assessment centre are likely to be held.
3. If you have a group exercise, someone will try and talk over you
At HSF, the group exercise took the form of a negotiation.Two people tried to dominate the discussion and the rest of us were regularly cut-off.
That unfortunately is the reality, having heard similar stories from a number of people.
If that happens, add structure to the conversation. Try and involve others (ask them their opinion), and move the conversation along (ask the group to address the next point)
You are being tested on your ability to lead as well as your ability to work with others. Being too silent or too loud gives the assessors a bad impression.