McDermott Will & Emery Training Contract Application Model Answers
Please provide details of any activities, achievements and any positions of responsibility held during the following periods:-
a) School (150 words)*
In 2003 I founded the languages ‘lunchtime’ club where students got an opportunity to improve their linguistic skills and learn additional languages. I was in charge of the [language] and [language] teaching course where I supervised five executive members, organised excursions to [language] and [language] events in United Kingdom, provided students with interactive activities and homework and helped them to prepare for GCSE exams. I was a very active member of the debating society and have represented my school in the national debate competition. To help the local community I organised and participated in ‘give a hand, help a neighbour’ campaign whereby the local community was encouraged to help the elderly and deprived through altruistic behaviour. I was the member of the local amateur [Sport] club whereby I competed in amateur bouts almost every fortnight.
b) Higher Education (150 words)*
Since [year] I have been a very zealous member of the ‘[society]’ society. 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. Throughout my second and third years at university I have actively represented [bank name] to graduates. I am a very committed executive of the [language] Speaking Society and I regularly organise cultural events such as the [celebration], [language] [national celebration], [language] Winter Party just to name a few. 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.
c) Extra-curricular activities (150 words)*
I have won a gold medal for England in the Four Nations 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. I am also a member of the [university] [club] where I get an opportunity to do some target shooting as a way of improving my precision and concentration levels. I greatly enjoy motor sports and last summer, along with some friends, I have rebuilt and modified a rally car ‘Subaru Impreza Turbo GT’.
1) Please tell us what has influenced you in your decision to apply to McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP? (150 words)*
I am attracted by the small number of trainee intake which I feel will offer me bespoke training that is individually tailored to my interests, experience and aptitude. More importantly, I will receive the excitement and challenge of working on high value, complex transactions and disputes, in the size of office where everyone knows who you are. For me this will mean getting involved in real work from the start whereby I will be able to add something to the cases I work on. I aspire to become a successful international lawyer and would thus like to learn additional jurisdictions, namely US. Working for McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP will provide me with practical hands-on experience which will allow my learning trajectory to grow at a steeper pace.
2) What qualities do you think you have that would make an impact with a client? (150 words)*
My leadership skills and ability to communicate ideas across persuasively would give the client a sense of personal trust and confidence in my professional capacity. My ability to remain an outgoing and friendly person would establish transparency and collaboration whereby the client would feel very relaxed when communicating with me. A combination of these factors would therefore help me to build and maintain an effective and warm professional relationship with the client. For example, whilst working for [company name] I was responsible for showing a property around to a pair of clients. In order to enhance their experience I remained professional when describing the property but so as not to isolate the potential customers by being too formal I gave occasional opinions and went out of my way to make suggestions as to what they could do with the property.
3) What qualities do you possess that differentiate you from your peers? (150 words)*
I genuinely believe that I am a very flexible and entrepreneurial individual when communicating with clients or colleagues but very decisive and relentless when making a decision. Whenever communicating to a client or colleagues I remain very flexible and appreciate and try and accommodate a canvassing opinion so as to give me a wider perspective of the issue in question. However, when it comes to reaching a decision I communicate my view decisively and confidently. For instance, when opening an on-campus amateur [Sport] club (which was disallowed for sixty years) I remained very flexible and an active listener in meetings with the [university] Sports Committee to get as much information as possible. When it came to reaching a decision I put my case across very confidently and persuasively which left the [university] Sports Committee no choice but to open the club.
1) Describe a situation or event that you have shaped and explain why you were effective in this situation. (150 words)*
This year I have successfully started an on-campus amateur [Sport] club for the first time in sixty years. I feel that the key for my success was my ability to listen to competing views and then argue my point convincingly. Having attended several meetings with the [university] Sports Committee I took note of the reasons against a [Sport] club. I then further researched those points and undermined them with concrete evidence. I also managed to come up with a petition for an on-campus [Sport] club to put greater pressure on the [university] Sports Committee to allow the [Sport] club. When I was asked to justify the opening of a new [Sport] club I conveyed my points very decisively, convincingly and confidently and corroborated them with supporting evidence. This made them very difficult to undermine and diverted the conversation from whether there should be a [Sport] club, to the start-up issues.
2) Which financial/business story in the news of the last six months has caught your imagination and why? (150 words)*
Goldman Sachs has seen its reputation badly dented after a decision by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to lodge fraud charges against it. The SEC alleges Goldman failed to inform investors in its Abacus bond that a hedge fund helped to pick the portfolio of the credit it contained, and then bet against it. Lloyd Blankfein and other executives at Goldman Sachs were accused by a US Senate panel of acting unethically, while Americans lost jobs and homes. I was especially attracted by this hearing because it comes as the US Congress considers the most sweeping reform of the financial industry since the 1930s. Financial Reform Bill aims to create a new agency to monitor consumer banking transactions and give the government powers to break up companies that threaten the economy in a way where the shareholders and unsecured creditors, and not the taxpayers, bear the losses.
3) Please note any specific question you would like answered at interview. (150 words)*
Dear [recruiter's name],
I am a final year student at the [University] expected to graduate in June, [year]. I am expected to achieve a 1st class grade in my third year. I am applying for a training contract to commence in [year] advertised on Latestlawjobs.com.
I am interested in corporate and commercial law because it will allow me to assume the role of a project manager and will vest me with early responsibility. Given that commercial law is both transactional and ongoing suggests that I will have to build a rapport with the client and apply strong communication skills coupled with high technical ability when forming a clear picture of the client’s needs and objectives and then explaining what may well be a complex area of law when advising on the best solution. This may require me to liaise with a number of legal departments thus making each day unique, enjoyable and fulfilling work experience. More importantly, as a commercial city lawyer I will gain experience in dealing with a diverse range of clients which will improve my commercial background and resultantly my ability to deliver effective and timely solutions to individual client needs.
I am attracted by the integrated approach of McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP in the provision of legal services in US and UK. I aspire to become a successful international lawyer and would thus like to learn additional jurisdictions. 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 found the Microsoft decision of utmost interest where Microsoft’s refusal to supply interoperability data to its competitors was held to be an abuse of a dominant position. 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 am 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.
Having worked for a number of private clients at leading legal firms, [law firm] and [law firm], I can attest to the importance of building and maintaining professional relationships. I have also proved to be an excellent team player with an entrepreneurial perspective when working on complex legal matters. This was successfully demonstrated in me opening an on-campus [Sport] club which has not been done for over sixty years. My ambition and perseverance to achieve excellence and precision in all tasks I undertake coupled with my fluency in [language], English and [language] would make me a valuable asset when working on national and cross-border transactions.
I would be grateful for the opportunity to attend an interview for which I am available at your convenience.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.