Describe a current commercial issue that has interested you and explain why it interested you?
Detail your extra curricular activities and interests and positions of responsibility. Please state what you feel you have gained from them and how others have benefited from your involvement.*
Since [year] I have been a very zealous member of the ‘[society]’ Society. I feel that my activity has helped to increase awareness of global warming and helped people to take steps accordingly. In [month] [year], I have successfully started an on-campus [Sport] club which was unsuccessfully attempted for the past sixty years. I am currently the president of the society and have the responsibility of managing ten executives. Being a President of the society has enhanced my leadership and organisational skills and provided other students with an opportunity to increase their fitness level and become more disciplined. I am a very active executive of the [language] Speaking Society ([SOCIETY INITIALS]) where I am actively organising cultural events. Being an executive of the [SOCIETY INITIALS] has allowed me to improve my language skills as well as promote [language] culture to others at university. I am the Student-Staff Liaison Committee member for the third year law students and actively exercise my commitment to the legal profession by maintaining a social dialogue between the students and staff of the law school. On a sportier note, I have won a gold medal for England in the [English sports tournament name] amateur [Sport] tournament. I am also a member of the [university] [sport] club and have been selected to play in the [sport] National Championships last summer. Playing [sport] also allows me to appreciate pastoral settings and reflect on various things.
1. Why does a career in a city law firm interest you? (250 word limit)*
I aspire to become a successful international lawyer and feel that a city law firm will allow me to work with international clients on multi-jurisdictional matters. Recently, I have undertaken an advanced competition law module whereby I had to compare and contrast EC and US jurisdictions in multiple areas of competition law. I especially enjoyed comparing and contrasting the different approaches of US and EC cases to ‘refusal to supply’ category of competition law. I especially enjoyed reading and analysing the Microsoft decision whereby Microsoft was fined for refusing to supply interoperability data to its competitors. The case produced a divide between the US and EC jurisdictions over the fundamental aim of competition law: consumer welfare. Having lived in [country], [country] and USA I was very enthralled with diverse and rich cultures. This summer I have worked for [law firm] and particularly enjoyed having to interact with [language] and American clients since it allowed me to exercise my excellent communication skills and build and maintain successful relationships. By taking the next step of working at Sidley Austin LLP I will not only get an opportunity to learn new jurisdictions but will also add value to the firm through my outstanding ability to build and maintain personal and professional relationships.
2. In your view which personal qualities make a successful lawyer? (250 word limit)*
Firstly, a lawyer must be able to devise innovative solutions at their own initiative and sometimes go out of their way to deliver effective solutions to their clients. For example, a lawyer needs to have good commercial awareness to make sure they are familiar with the client’s industry and business activity. This would allow a lawyer to put the legal information and knowledge in a context that is relevant to the client’s needs. Having an understanding of this context therefore speeds up the delivery of a solution thus giving the client as well as the law firm a competitive advantage.
A lawyer must be able to communicate both to clients and colleagues. Communication is imperative in building and maintaining successful client relationships as well as understanding client’s problem. Effective communication with the client can create transparency, openness and collegiality which means that a lawyer will be able to form an effective dialogue with the client. This is very important when trying to retrieve information or consult the client about specific information. Communication is also vital in team situations since a client’s problem is likely to permeate several legal and commercial practice areas. It is therefore important that a lawyer can communicate successfully with other practice groups be it to receive specific advice or information, explain the client’s problem or to simply ensure the overall coherence of the case when working in a team. This way any discrepancies as a result of communication problems are minimised.
3. Describe a current commercial issue that has interested you and explain why it interested you? (250 word limit)*
Recently I have been attracted by the recent judgment where the judge has granted BA an injunction to prevent a strike by the BA cabin crew.
BA was granted an injunction against a planned 12-day strike by cabin crew. This means that BA will not incur any losses as a result of the planned strike and will be able to compete with other airlines without any disruption to its operation. However, the refusal to grant UNITE the union immunity from the strike raises a number of fundamental questions regarding UK’s protection of Human Rights under section 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECvHR) through section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The current balloting procedure is so ambiguous and restrictive that immunity from strike action is extremely difficult to obtain. The recent case of ‘Metrobus’ has confirmed this. Following a number of cases at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that have recognised a right to strike under section 11 of the ECvHR, UK is likely to be found in breach of the section 11 of the ECvHR which would thus have implications for the Parliament as it would have to amend the current legislation. Whereas for firms like BA it could mean that they could see less protection from the judiciary provided in terms if the number of injunctions granted.
4. When have you had to go out of your way to meet the needs of a customer client? What did you do? What motivated you to do this and what was the outcome? (250 word limit)*
Whilst working for [law firm] last summer, I had to prepare a handout on tax information exchange agreements (TIEA’s) for a [language] client. Besides collecting all information, I actually placed more emphasis on information that was applicable to the client. I did further research into the client’s business and place of operation, which allowed me to make my research more expansive and relevant to the client’s needs. I also did a translation of the handout into [language] and used client’s industry-specific examples regarding the operation of some agreements and applicable taxes. By exceeding my expectations I was aiming to ensure that my work was of the highest quality and helped the client to feel more comfortable when reading legal material. I did this in the hope of increasing client retention rate and establishing an amiable and professional relationship between the client and the firm. The senior solicitor was very impressed with my commitment. As a person with ambition and commitment I like to see all tasks done to the best of their ability since it confers both professional and personal satisfaction on me.
5. Give and example of a recent situation where you were involved with a team. What did you do? How did others react? What did you learn? (250 word limit)*
Recently, I had undertaken a ‘[legal practice area]’ module where as a group we had to work in a simulated solicitor’s environment. We remained a strong and fully functioning team right up until the end of the case. We each had to allocate each other tasks to complete before the date of the trial. For example, I was responsible for preparing the cross-examination. I agreed that it was a good idea to work individually to ensure that one could concentrate and meet deadlines, however I suggested that once we have accomplished our tasks it would be a good idea to meet and overview each other’s contribution. Team members found the meetings very helpful in terms of gaining another perspective on the task they are working on and conceptualising the overall coherence and unity of the case. This resulted in team members taking their initiative to try and help each other which in turn allowed us to produce a more innovative and timely solution to the client’s problem. Above all, working as a team ensured that the overall process was smooth and professionally and personally rewarding.