Simmons & Simmons Training Contract Application Answer (Practical Example)
[address line 1]
Tel: [telephone number]
[recruitment manager’s name]
Graduate Recruitment Officer
Simmons & Simmons
One Ropemaker Street
Dear [recruitment manager’s name],
I am a final year student at the [University] expected to graduate in [month], [year]. I am applying for a training contract to commence in [year].
I am interested in commercial law because it will allow me to assume the role of a project manager and will vest me with early responsibility. This will force me to leave my comfort zone and think more pragmatically, thus making my work experience personally and professionally rewarding.
I am attracted to Simmons & Simmons because it possesses integrated international teams that provide the right balance of local knowledge and seamless global service. This can be evidenced when Simmons & Simmons acted for Telefónica on its takeover of O2. Simmons & Simmons worked very closely with the in-house M&A team of Telefónica in both Madrid and London, in order to ensure that the bid was successfully implemented in accordance with the rules and practice of the UK regime. I am very keen to be seconded to an office or a client where I could offer local knowledge and be able to interchange between [language], English and [language] languages, as this would make my experience both personally and professionally rewarding.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Please give details of any other information relevant to your application (for example, your interests and activities, positions of responsibility, skills and achievements). (250 words max)*
I have received a ‘[award name]’ award for attaining the highest grades at GCSE and A-Level in my institutions of study. I am fluent in [language], English and [language]. At university I am involved in a broad range of activities. Firstly, I am a third year law representative for the student-staff liaison committee where I am responsible for communicating student concerns about the operation of the [university] Law School to staff in regular meetings. Secondly, I am a very pro-active member of the [university] [language] Speaking Society ([SOCIETY INITIALS]) whereby I am actively involved in organising and managing [SOCIETY INITIALS] socials. Being an executive of the [SOCIETY INITIALS] entails me having to both communicate with members and prepare written and spoken material such as handouts, emails, and speeches in [language]. Thirdly, I am a very zealous member of the ‘[society]’ society. In the past I have been in projects aimed to save electricity and helping the local wildlife, such as switching off unused computers in the library during vacation breaks. Fourthly, I am regularly involved in mooting competitions. On a sportier note, I greatly enjoy amateur [Sport]. With over [sport performances] I have [done the sport] at national level and represented England in the [tournament name]. Currently, I am responsible for training over twenty-five students at the [University].
How does a career as a solicitor compare with other possible career choices that you have considered and/or pursued? (250 words max)*
At first I had thought of becoming an academic in law. I truly enjoy participating in legal discourse in the developments in the legal profession as I find both personally and professionally rewarding. However, having undertaken legal and financial work experience, I realised that I was attracted by the large and diverse client base to be found in the City. Firms in the City tend to have multi-jurisdictional practices and multiple locations across the globe allowing lawyers and paralegals to serve international clients. As a commercial lawyer I will have an active involvement in project management, making sure deadlines are met, colleagues are kept up to date and information is communicated to the client. 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. Being fluent in [language] and [language] languages and having worked with [language]-speaking clients at [law firm], I can attest to the importance of a professional client relationship. I would now like to progress and gain a practical insight into the work of a solicitor in a high-calibre international law firm where I would prove to be a highly valuable asset.
Key to being a successful trainee at Simmons & Simmons is being able to build positive relationships with a variety of clients and colleagues from different backgrounds. Please describe a relationship you have built and maintained with someone which has helped you achieve success thus far. (250 words max)*
I have built and maintained a positive professional relationship with a partner at [law firm]. Throughout my vacation scheme I was assigned to a partner at the firm with whom I worked on a daily basis. I feel that by accompanying the partner to meetings and using my initiative to assume a greater load of responsibility at work has given the partner an impression that I was very enthusiastic and committed to a career as a solicitor. Having completed the work scheme I have gained a good insight into the work of a solicitor in a medium sized firm. The partner at [law firm] was very keen to help me achieve success in the future and see me through my university career. This resulted in the partner communicating with me regarding my progress at university and any difficulties that I may have. Whenever I am in London and the partner is free I always make an effort to see them and have a chat about their work and developments in the legal profession. The help I received from the partner was invaluable in helping to boost my knowledge of the legal world and my confidence levels, which has contributed to my overall success in academic and personal life.
As a trainee at Simmons & Simmons you will need to effectively manage your time and juggle competing priorities in order to meet client expectations. Please give us an example of an event/task or project which you successfully planned/managed and organised. How did you cope with any problems or unexpected obstacles which threatened its success? (250 words max)*
This year I have successfully set up a ‘[University] [Sport] Club’. The sports committee opposed the opening of a new [Sport] club for over fifty years because they had concerns about the health and safety issue in the sport. Having [done the sport] for England, and both at national and international level I was aware of the benefits that students could derive from [Sport], such as discipline and motivation. I took a very methodological approach to the process of opening an on-campus [Sport] club because I was aware that applications for an on-campus [Sport] club were refused every single year for the past fifty years: I therefore had to produce a different and innovative plan that would guarantee success. I started off by planning my overall strategy that I then divided into objectives and tasks. Before embarking on any of those tasks I coordinated human and capital resources. I approached the [university] Sports Committee with a ‘voice’, a diverse range of students that were very willing to practise the sport to improve their fitness levels and discipline. I also decided to take a more analytical and constitutional approach by studying [university] Sport’s constitution, then extracting provisions that could be disputed and undermined in the light of the past activities undertaken by [university] Sports, which would thus give leeway and reality to a new on-campus [Sport] club. [university] Sport allowed a full contact Thai [Sport] club, which had caused previous injuries in the past and was undisputedly more dangerous than [Sport].
At Simmons & Simmons we look for trainees who are highly motivated and can take the initiative to deliver a high quality of service to our clients. Please tell us about a time when you have gone above and beyond what was required of you. Why did you assume these extra responsibilities? (250 words max)*
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 and eventually provided me with more demanding tasks entailing a greater degree of responsibility.