Case Study: Training Contract Application Timeline
Pia talked to The Lawyer Portal about her experiences of applying for training contracts during the 2013/2014 application cycle, which led to her being offered a training contract at a top London law firm, Baker & McKenzie. This case study details her training contract application timeline.
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Training Contract Application Timeline
October: Applications Open
Applications open. Having attended the firm’s open day over the summer, I knew Baker & McKenzie was going to offer a Spring Vacation Scheme, which was then new and open only to final year students. At the time, the application deadline was 31 January.
November: Working on the Application
Immediately after the firm’s presentation and drinks event at my university, I began working on my application. Baker & McKenzie’s was among the shorter application forms – it centred on a covering letter detailing your reasons for wanting to pursue a career in commercial law as well as your motivations for applying to the firm.
5 December: Submitting the Application
I submitted my online application. The confirmation email said that while they reviewed applications on a rolling basis, they do not begin shortlisting applicants until closer to the deadline. I figured I would not hear from them for a while.
12 December: Sitting the Situational Judgement Test
I received an email from the graduate recruitment team, inviting me to sit the situational judgement test. I had two days to complete it, so I did it the next day.
As far as I’m aware, Baker & McKenzie’s graduate recruitment team reads applications before inviting applicants to sit the online tests. This is not the case for all firms, as some need you to pass the online tests before they read your application.
19 December: Sitting the Verbal Reasoning Test
My test results met the benchmark and I was invited to sit the verbal reasoning test. I did not delay and completed it on the same day.
At this point, with the holiday period approaching, I thought that I probably would not hear from the graduate recruitment team until after the holidays.
20 December: Invitation to Interview
Turns out, I didn’t have to wait long! I received an invitation to take part in a short telephone interview, with a link to choose my interview slot.
6 January: Telephone Interview
I had my telephone interview at 3pm. Funnily enough, I was on holiday then, so the 3pm interview was close to midnight for me.
7 January: Assessment Day Invitation
I was invited to attend an assessment day for a place on the Spring Vacation Scheme. I remember choosing one of the earliest available dates after I came back from holiday.
21 January: Assessment Day
There were four other applicants with me: all female, two law students and two non-law students (Classics and History, I remember). During the day, we had a group exercise, a case interview with two partners, and a final interview with a senior associate.
24 January: Offered a Vacation Scheme Place
I received a call from the graduate recruitment team. They were delighted to offer me a place on the Spring Vacation Scheme! I was very excited about it and probably stopped working on my other applications for the rest of the weekend.
7-17 April: Vacation Scheme
In Baker & McKenzie’s Spring Vacation Scheme, I spent a week each in two departments of my choosing. Towards the end of the second week, I had my training contract interview with a partner, where we discussed my time at the firm and the work I undertook.
We were told at the end of the scheme that we might not hear from them until the end of the month. After all, there were Easter holidays to be had.
28 April: Offered a Training Contract
I received a call from Rebecca, a member of the graduate recruitment team. She was the first person from Baker & McKenzie that I met at a campus event and she has seen me progress through the entire recruitment process. I figured, if it was going to be bad news, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to get it from someone I knew.
Turns out, it wouldn’t be so bad to get good news from someone I knew either. I was offered a training contract with Baker & McKenzie!
29 April: Accepting the Offer
I received the training contract offer letter by email.
I had a month to decide if I wanted to accept it, but because Baker & McKenzie had been on top of my list since before the application cycle began, and because I had such a wonderful time in the two weeks I spent with the firm during the Spring Vacation Scheme, my decision was clear.
So, after making some clarifications about the GDL (I studied Law at the University of Edinburgh and Scots Law graduates have to do some GDL modules, too), I accepted the training contract offer with Baker & McKenzie, and I have never looked back since.