Norton Rose Fulbright Training Contract Application Model Answers
A. Describe your biggest achievement and/or most demanding position of responsibility you have held to date; what did you learn from this? (150 words)*
At [Law Firm Name], I assisted the senior partner on a cross-border case comprising of a shareholder dispute in a joint venture vehicle. As the client could only speak [language], I was the first point of contact. The client requested that I attend the Board of Directors EGM of a natural resources joint venture in Amsterdam. At the EGM, I acted as an interpreter between the [language] shareholders and English and Dutch solicitors. I maintained a thick skin and resourcefully tailored my communication for diverse audiences. I applied a sharp analytical mind to explain complex issues in a simple language and made sense of a complicated situation. I was required to think on my feet and see things from a business perspective and always align myself with client’s commercial objectives whilst managing to remain robust and calm under pressure. This is an important achievement for me because I performed well under pressure and successfully applied problem-solving skills to produce real-time answers to complex questions. I have become more commercially astute and developed my organisational and team-work skills.
B. In your opinion, what makes an international legal practice, like Norton Rose Group, successful? Identify how your personal qualities would contribute to such success. (300 words)*
A strong global reach makes an international legal practice successful because legal matters now transcend different jurisdictions and borders and access to local lawyers is essential. I possess strong teamwork and communication skills which will enable me to collaborate with lawyers from across the world to solve complex problems and deliver a solution to the client.
Client focus is important for a successful international legal practice because in order to solve the client’s problem, it is vital to have a deep understanding of the sector and the environment in which they operate. I am commercially-minded and have good problem-solving skills, which will ensure that all my actions are in tune with the clients’ objectives. This will work towards helping clients to resolve their problems and reach an optimum solution. This, in turn, will help to increase the client retention rate and bolster the legal practice’s reputation and market share.
A successful international legal practice must strive towards innovation and new ways of doing things. With the globalisation of commerce, law firms are faced with increasingly complex assignments that do not always have clearly defined solutions. I am innovative and have a propensity for lateral thinking which will enable me to deal with new ideas freely and offer new perspectives to the problem. This will help the practice to overcome complex problems and offer the client an effective solution. This will increase client confidence in the legal practice and lead to a growth in client retention rates.
C. Identify a current commercial issue which has attracted your attention recently. Why do you consider it to be significant? Who are the key stakeholders in this situation and what are the implications for those concerned? (400 words)*
I was very attracted by the failure of the USD 10 billion strategic alliance between [company] and BP for the exploration on the Arctic shelf. AAR, shareholders in BP’s joint venture vehicle, TNK-BP, have secured an injunction against the proposed strategic alliance on the basis of BP’s breach of the shareholder agreement which stipulates that all exploration work in [country] must be effected through TNK-BP. BP did not reach a compromise with their partners and sold their share in the [language] arm, TNK-BP to AAR.
I consider this issue to be significant because it illustrates the practical difficulties in global cooperation between energy majors. For example, [company] holds licenses for exploration on the Arctic shelf whereas BP possesses all the necessary operational technology and expertise. This is likely to impede progress in the energy sector as synergies and resultant economies of scale will be more difficult to realise. This in turn will lead to higher prices of oil which will be passed on to consumers.
The stakeholders in this situation are [company], BP, TNK-BP, AAR, other oil companies, the [language] government and the global population in general. [company] and BP will not be able to benefit from synergies which is likely to result in greater inefficiencies and an opportunity cost as the exploration process will be delayed. The higher exploration and oil production costs borne by [company] will be passed on to the consumers which could reduce economic growth as the demand for oil-based products could decline. At the same time, this will not increase competition among oil companies globally. Other oil companies are likely to benefit from this as they will face less intense competition and it will be easier for them to maintain their market share as there will be less incentive to innovate and improve their processes. AAR has benefited from this because they acquired full control of TNK-BP which will enable the consortium to pursue their own objectives in [country] without having to consult BP. However, AAR along with TNK-BP have forfeited their competitive advantage of expertise and technology from BP as well as the opportunity to benefit from the prospective alliance, which could put them under more uncertainty and strain to retain their market share in [country].