Top 5 Training Contract Interview Tips: City Law Firms

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Divya Tejwani - Law City Student Ambassador

Congratulations – you have a training contract interview! City law firms are known for rewarding trainees with generous pay packages, international exposure and wide practise area coverage. However, these factors make the recruitment process extremely competitive and more challenging.

Here are 5 top Interview tips to make you stand out when interviewing for City Law firms in the UK:

1. Commercial Awareness

Interviewers will expect trainees to have commercial awareness. It is essential to keep up-to-date with the economy, and the issues that affect commercial clients. A starting point would be to read articles and current affairs on the firm’s website, as well as the Financial Times and The Economist. Recruiters are generally very impressed when you demonstrate your research of the firm in the interview by incorporating key points into your answer. But always remember to use examples that are relevant to the questions asked.

Building commercial awareness comes with its own nuances. You need to know where to locate the information, websites like The Lawyer and Legal Cheek are useful and a nice way to ease you in. Eventually, you will feel confident to express an opinion discuss your point of view with your peers, recruiters and other lawyers.

2. Understanding the Needs of the Firm

To ace the interview it is essential for you to understand what type of lawyer the firm is looking for. This means understanding the firm's culture, its clients, services, business plan, successes as well as its failures. Attend the firm's events, and network with people who work there. Be prepared to ask the firm questions about their clients, projects, people and culture. This shows a real interest and willingness to learn more about the firm and will also help you to prep some questions to ask the panel after the interview.

Remember – an interview is a two-way process. The more you know about the firm, the better informed you are in deciding whether it is a good fit for you.

3. Body Language

Your body language is as effective as your words. Simple gestures such as maintaining eye contact and smiling goes a long way!

4. Know your CV/ Application Form Inside Out

At the interview stage, the firm already has a good sense of your work experience, resilience, written communication skills and attention to detail just by reviewing your application form. Interviews give firms the opportunity to explore your application further, and also decide if you fit into the firm’s culture.

With that being said, some firms use blind interviews, which means your interviewers will not have seen your CV beforehand. Therefore, it is important that you are able to confidently talk about your experiences and highlight key experiences showcased on your CV. This allows you to showcase your attributes effectively, and allows the interview to be more conversational.

5. Take a Deep Breath

Inhale and exhale, treat it like a conversation. Being nervous or unsure of yourself can be detected by any recruiter. It is easier said than done but being relaxed allows you to showcase your best self.

If you are unsure about a question, pause and take some time to think before answering. Lastly, maintain a positive attitude at all times.