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Make the most of opportunities to attend Open Days and Careers Events. Introduce yourself to the law firm's representatives, particularly the graduate recruitment officers. Aim to find out as much as you can about the firm and their application process from them. Build up a good rapport with them and they may well then remember you when they receive your application.

At Shearman & Sterling our small trainee intake means that we don’t interview a large number of candidates. We review application forms carefully, meaning that by the time you are called to interview, we are fairly certain you have the capability to be one our trainees and we want to find out more about your potential, personality and motivations for applying.

It’s particularly at the first stage when the odds can feel overwhelming and getting the small things right is very important. What should you bear in mind when completing your training contract applications? Let’s ask our Experts, shall we?

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One of the most frustrating mistakes we regularly spot on application forms is the misspelling of our firm name! Attention to detail is an important part of being a lawyer, and to ensure your application makes it past the first review, double check it doesn’t contain any spelling and grammatical errors (brush up on your apostrophes and practice/practise!). It goes without saying that you really cannot afford to get the firm name wrong!

A superstar application form is thoughtful, relevant, and genuine. Each section of the application form should showcase your unique strengths and personality:

• Interest & Achievement Section - Include your best examples to give the greatest impact rather than including everything. Show diversity through these examples, for instance, working as part of team, working individually, one off experiences and ongoing interests so you can demonstrate your ability to be agile and adapt to new environments.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 13:38

How do you assess training contract applications?

Our training contract application form is in cover letter format and is designed to help you showcase your talents. We ask for information about you and your education, as well as a 1000-word cover letter that tells us why you want to be a lawyer, and why at Ashurst in particular.

When applying for vacation schemes and training contracts you need to be able to communicate on paper and in an interview the experience that you have gathered. We’ve asked our Experts for their advice on how applicants can best describe the experience that they have obtained at different stages of their careers. See what they had to say here.

Published in News

The majority of applicants tend to have some kind of commercial experience e.g. work experience or a university project that is relevant to their application. The tricky thing is how you can communicate that in such a way so that it is relevant to the role. You need to ensure that everything you include can be seen as useful experience for the job you are applying for. Getting this across in a concise and engaging way is important, especially when you consider there is usually a strict word limit on the application.

When applying for a training contract or a vacation scheme, your work experience is a key part of your application form. We ask you to include four different work experiences/employments, but please note that these do not solely need to be legally focused. We fully appreciate how hard it is to secure legal work experience, and so carefully think about the four entries that you make in this section. Experiences that you may have had volunteering at a legal advice centre or citizens advice bureau are equally as valid, as well as work experience in a high-street law firm.

When writing an application it is important to consider what is the employer trying to find out and what are they looking for in their applicant. Therefore, when describing an extracurricular university experience, don’t just tell a story in a timeline of events, but also include aspects that highlight your personal qualities. This may include how you approach decisions, how you reacted to scenarios, how you dealt with others and how you thought about elements that are beyond the obvious.

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