Slaughter and May: Training Contract Tips
Slaughter and May first-year trainee Katie* shares her key advice and insight into working at Slaughter and May.
“It’s important to realise that even if you are one of the best candidates for the job, it’s difficult for an interviewer to have faith in you if you don’t at least appear to have faith in yourself.”
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Slaughter and May Training Contract: What has been your legal journey so far?
I went to a Scottish state school then studied law at Brasenose College, Oxford. I attended a vacation scheme at CMS in the summer after my final year and interviewed with Slaughter and May at around the same time.
I studied the bespoke accelerated LPC course at BPP University along with trainees from similar firms. I’m now a trainee in my first seat in the real estate department at Slaughter and May.
Slaughter and May Training Contract: What does a typical day look like for you?
I wouldn’t say there is a typical day for me as my work is so varied. However, as a trainee you typically get involved in every stage of a transaction, from initial research to drafting contracts and from attending negotiations to preparing for signing.
I have also been heavily involved in the firm’s pro bono work, which has enabled me to gain client and transaction management skills at an early stage in my career.
Slaughter and May Training Contract: Why would you recommend working at Slaughter and May?
I think what makes any workplace special is its people. I think the best training comes from working with people who are exceptionally clever and experienced in their specialist area and who set high standards for their trainees to meet.
Although there are a range of different personalities in the office, one common trait is a drive to achieve the best possible outcome for the client. Slaughter and May is well known for creating bespoke solutions for sometimes unique challenges and I think this makes for an interesting and exciting career.
Slaughter and May Training Contract: What is the application process like at Slaughter and May?
After you submit your CV and cover letter you will (hopefully) be invited to interview. You should be prepared to discuss your CV and anything that particularly stands out (for example, a low mark or unusual work experience).
You will also be given a newspaper extract to read and take a view on. The most important thing in this part is to be able to justify your opinion in the face of an interviewer who will most likely take the opposite side of the argument. It may sound scary, but I actually found it to be one of the more enjoyable parts of the process.
Slaughter and May Training Contract: How can applicants make their training contract applications stand out?
The application process for Slaughter and May is relatively straightforward in that they only ask for a CV and cover letter. However, this means that you don’t have much room to showcase your skills and experience.
Attention to detail is extremely important as errors in spelling and grammar will likely lead to rejection. I would also advise setting out your CV in a structure that makes your achievements stand out on a quick skim-read.
The cover letter should be short and sweet and definitely no longer than one side of A4.
Slaughter and May Training Contract: What qualities do you think make for a great trainee at Slaughter and May?
There are lots of ways to be a good trainee and wouldn’t say Slaughter and May has a particular ‘type’ of person that they are looking for. Having said that, I think it is important to be enthusiastic and show an interest in whatever you are working on.
Thinking about what the next step will be for whatever task you are doing will not only help you but impress your supervisor. It’s also good to bear in mind your target audience and tailor your work accordingly.
I would say the best trainee is someone who takes pride in their work and makes use of every opportunity to improve themselves.
Slaughter and May Training Contract: What’s your best piece of advice for obtaining a training contract at a Magic Circle law firm?
The advice I would give myself if I had to go through the interview process again is that a little (faked) confidence goes a long way. It depends on what your personal weaknesses are but for me a lack of confidence has always been an issue.
It’s important to realise that even if you are one of the best candidates for the job, it’s difficult for an interviewer to have faith in you if you don’t at least appear to have faith in yourself. It’s natural to be nervous but if it is something you particularly struggle with, try to use some techniques, like taking a breath before answering a question, and be prepared for the questions that are most likely to be asked.
*Name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.
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