Bird & Bird Training Contract Application Questions and Answers
Please tell us about your non-academic activities and interests. Give us some detail about what these are and any positions of responsibility you've held.* 500
I enjoy fitness and regularly practise [Sport], go jogging and play football. I share my skills and passion for the sport by providing lessons to friends and people who have an interest in [Sport]. I enjoy travelling and was overwhelmed by the gothic settings of Cornwall, home to several of my favourite gothic books and the historic splendour and idyllic gardens of the Leeds Castle in Kent. I regularly take part in charitable runs and in the past, I helped to raise over four thousand pounds for the McMillan Cancer Support. I enjoy taking part in community initiatives and during one summer, I helped to refurbish my local church. My other interests include current affairs, reading, technology, social outings, motoring and photography. I enjoy mooting and at university, I participated in the Clifford Chance Mooting Competition where I successfully attained a third place.
As a dedicated member of the [environmental society], I helped to introduce and develop social responsibility initiatives at University. I had successfully organised and developed a scheme whereby all unused desktops at the library were turned off during the vacation breaks to help reduce the University’s carbon footprint. In my third year at university, I held the position of a law representative for the student-staff liaison committee and delivered constant improvements to the law school. As the President of the [university] Amateur [Sport] Society, I organised training sessions, coordinated and managed executives, promoted the club to students and helped to attract outside investment to help the society grow. In my second year at University, I was the sports executive for the [language] Speaking Society and organised many exciting social and sporting initiatives such a football games, badminton competitions and jogging. I enjoy mooting and at university, I participated in the Clifford Chance Mooting Competition where I successfully attained a third place.
Why do you think you will be successful as a commercial lawyer?* 400
I am very committed, show initiative and possess good organisational and time-management skills. At [law firm], I was given the task of proofreading and editing an Initial Offering Memorandum for a luxury goods company based on the comments of parties involved in the matter. Having received handwritten mark-ups, I have noticed overlaps and inconsistency in commentary between the parties. In order to reduce the number of inconsistencies, I devised a global list of standard terms to ensure uniformity and coherence throughout the document. The list of agreed terms helped to improve the overall consistency of the Memorandum and allowed the parties to focus their attention on more substantive segments of the document. This allowed us to complete the drafting of the Memorandum ahead of our deadline.
I possess good attention to detail, problem-solving and teamwork skills. Whilst at [Law Firm Name], I was given the responsibility of ensuring that the witness statements conformed to a unified formatting guide before being filed with court on the next day. Late into the night, I discovered that old versions of the witness statements were translated and therefore did not reflect the latest original drafts. I immediately contacted the supervising attorney and explained the problem to him. The attorney asked me to translate these sections in a very short amount of time which, from a practical point-of-view, was not doable. Having assessed the situation, I contacted translation agencies but none would take on this job at such a short notice. I then contacted the entire team in the [city] office and asked for their assistance with the translations. I organised and flagged up the sections that were materially different and, along with the deadline, distributed them across to the [city] team. In the early hours of the morning, I got the London team to do a final sanity check of the document. Ultimately, the witness statements were translated accurately and filed with court on time.
Why do you think law is the right profession for you?* 350
Law is the right profession for me because I enjoy dealing with complex problems and adapting to new challenges and, with the globalisation of commerce, I will operate in a wide array of industry sectors and work as part of a global team to make things happen, set new standards and push boundaries. Such teamwork on a global platform will help me to build relationships and forge new contacts that could help me to develop into a successful international solicitor.
I have decided to become a lawyer whilst working at several law firms. I have especially enjoyed working in teams on an international platform because it enabled me to actively participate in complex and high-profile cases. At [Law Firm Name], I realised that I wanted to become a solicitor after attending a board of directors EGM in Amsterdam. I enjoyed thinking on my feet and working as part of a diverse team to solve problems in a quick-paced environment. At [Law Firm Name], I enjoyed collaborating with the London and [city] offices in the preparation of witness statements. I was very fascinated by the multi-jurisdictional elements of the case as it allowed me to take multiple angles to the problem by working alongside solicitors from different jurisdictions. This produced more interesting work, greater variety and a wider group of experts to learn from which made my work environment stimulating and rewarding.
How do you think Bird & Bird is distinct from other law firms?* 350
Bird & Bird has an unparalleled insight into its client’s industries and, in 1998, it became one of the first law firms to organise itself around key sectors, enabling it to share its deep industry knowledge more effectively across the firm. This enables the firm to understand the key challenges of its clients and deliver an exceptional and superior service.
Bird & Bird’s approach to client relationships is different and refreshing. The firm organises its people and their expertise around our clients’ needs, providing useful tools that make their life easier. The success of this approach can be explained by the client loyalty: 60% of the firm’s top 15 major clients have remained loyal clients of the firm for over 10 years and close to half of the firm’s top 100 clients have been with Bird & Bird for over a decade.
Bird & Bird has a strong international reach which sets it apart from other law firms. The firm has 23 offices across Europe, Asia and Middle East and its formal ties with five leading independent law firms, which puts Bird & Bird in a position to deal with some of the most complex multi-jurisdictional issues and provide a seamless service around the world. Three quarters of the firm’s clients realise Bird & Bird’s international capabilities and work with more than one of the firm’s offices.
What can you tell us about yourself that sets you apart from other applicants?* 350
I possess outstanding interpersonal skills and commercial acumen. At [Law Firm Name], I assisted on a shareholder dispute in a joint venture vehicle. I attended a Board of Directors EGM of a joint venture in Amsterdam in my capacity as an interpreter between clients and overseas solicitors. I applied a sharp analytical mind to explain complex issues in a simple language and made sense of a very complicated situation. I was required to think on my feet and always align myself with client’s commercial objectives.
I am versatile and have an innovative approach to find new angles of addressing problems. Last year, I have pioneered the [University] Amateur [Sport] Club for the first time in fifty years after finding a new way of surmounting all obstacles.
I possess good client-facing skills and at [Law Firm Name], I was the first port of contact for a [language] client. I constantly corresponded with the client, participated in all meetings and conference calls and accompanied the client to a Board of Directors EGM. At [law firm], I interacted with the client and their associates to answer all their questions and provide excellent customer care during the trial.
I am fluent in several languages and can add value to the firm when dealing with international cases.
I am very resilient, enjoy new challenges and have a steep learning curve. For over ten years, I represented my local borough in amateur [Sport] bouts and won a gold medal for England in the [tournament name]. Whilst at university, I embraced the challenge of learning how to play [sport] and in less than four weeks, I was selected to represent the university in the National University [sport] Championships.