Taylor Wessing Training Contract Application Model Answers
Please give details of your main interests and activities including any positions of responsibility you have held.*
In my third year at university, I was a law representative for the student-staff liaison committee and was a first contact for students who wanted to raise any concerns regarding the law department. I then attended meetings with the staff of the law department to promote student concerns and negotiate suitable solutions. I was a very proactive member of the [university] [language] Speaking Society ([SOCIETY INITIALS]) and was on the panel of the executives. On a daily basis, I worked as part of a team to organise socials and events. I was a zealous member of the ‘[society]’ society. In the past, I have been involved in projects aimed to save electricity by switching off unused computers in the library during vacation breaks. I was regularly involved in mooting competitions where I got an opportunity to exercise my analytical and advocacy skills amongst like-minded individuals in a competitive environment. On a sportier note, I greatly enjoy amateur [Sport]. With over fifty amateur bouts, I have [done the sport] at national level and represented England in the Four Nations Tournament. For the first time in fifty years, I have pioneered the ‘[University] Amateur [Sport] Club’. In [year], I was the chairman and head coach of the club. In [year] I was selected to represent the [University] in the National [sport] Championships.
For one of these interests or activities please explain the benefits that you personally derive from this and the benefits that you feel your involvement provides to others.*
I have been actively involved in amateur [Sport] for over a decade and have won a gold medal for England and over fifty trophies nationally. First of all, [Sport] has significantly increased my fitness levels and physical and mental stamina. This, in turn, has helped to boost my focus and commitment since I was required to apply perseverance, enthusiasm, resilience and motivation both when competing and training for bouts. Taking part in contests has enhanced my lateral thinking because I needed to react and adapt quickly to the situation. Similarly, amateur [Sport] has significantly boosted my confidence and ambition in all parts of life.
So far, I have been a role model for many people and proved that one can achieve excellence in education and sport. At university, many students were very keen to take on [Sport] and wanted me to train them. In effect, I resorted to my resourcefulness and enthusiasm to overcome all obstacles and establish an amateur [Sport] club at the [University] for the first time in fifty years. This in turn provided many students with a greater variety and new challenges in life, which has helped them to increase their strength of character, allowed them to make new friends, and helped them to increase their focus and commitment.
Please describe a situation where you have worked with a group of people to achieve a common goal indicating your contribution to the group. What did you learn about yourself and the impact that you had on others?*
At present, I am assisting [law firm]’s London team on [high-net-worth individual]’s defense to [high-net-worth individual]’s claim estimated at £[value]. I am working closely with [law firm]’s associates from [city] and London offices in conducting disclosure. The goal of this task is to review a large number of documents for relevancy and privilege purposes for the disclosure request pursuant to the court’s order. I am responsible for reviewing mostly [language] documents relating to one part of the case. The second stage of the review produced some controversy as some reviewers came to question my judgment. I applied strong communication skills and irrepressible optimism when explaining to associates why I thought specific documents to be relevant. I learnt that I was a very careful listener and receptive to new ideas. At the same time, I feel that I negotiated with others very successfully and collaborated with the wider team to bring individual elements together and reach a successful conclusion.
Who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?
My ideal dinner guest would be [language] President, Dmitry Medvedev, with whom I would like to discuss the new concept of ‘modernisation’ of Russia raised by him at the Davos summit. Russia undoubtedly faces enormous challenges in modernising its industry, agriculture and services sectors, and the media spotlight has focused on a few high-profile undertakings such as the Skolkovo innovation hub, the initiative to make [city] an international financial centre, and the Rusnano corporation for co-investing in hi-tech projects. These initiatives represent important visions, but they may be a distraction in the debate about what needs to be done to modernise the [language] economy. The challenge of modernising Russia runs much deeper and requires much broader changes in the business environment. There is also a risk of creating unrealistic expectations for what individual projects can achieve. [city], once reluctant to invite foreign investment, now appears to be more open to closer co-operation with the EU, as its energy-dominated economy is in need of modernisation. All of this would provide me with an opportunity to have an insight into what President Medvedev envisages for the future ‘modernisation’ of Russia and the subsequent opportunities presented to the West.
Please explain why a career as a solicitor in a city law firm attracts you.
I am interested in a career as a solicitor in a city law firm because every day is varied, challenging and engaging. As commercial matters span many areas of law, industries and borders, they demand the application of lateral thinking and extensive problem-solving. In turn, this would see me work in integrated teams with a commercial focus on the problem in a quick-paced environment with approaching deadlines. At [LAW FIRM INITIALS], I especially enjoyed liaising with Dutch, English and [language] solicitors on a shareholder dispute within a joint venture. This produced more interesting work, greater variety and a wider group of experts to learn from which made my work environment stimulating and rewarding.
What three specific challenges do you think you will face in this career?*
Firstly, due to the fact that all cases will be unique and different, I will have to continually exercise problem solving to find unique solutions. New cases will require fresh thinking and resourcefulness to find new angles to approaching problems.
Secondly, I will face the challenge of a steep learning curve and increased levels of lateral thinking. Most cases will have very tight deadlines and will cross many industries and borders. This means that I will have to operate in a quick-paced environment and be a quick learner. I will have to maintain a very commercial focus and demonstrate physical and mental stamina coupled with unabating enthusiasm. This will require me to think on my feet and see things from a business perspective and always align myself with clients’ commercial objectives whilst managing to remain robust and calm under pressure.
Thirdly, I will come into contact with a diverse range of individuals when working on complex cases. This will require me to maintain a thick skin and resourcefully tailor my communication for diverse audiences. I will be required to apply a sharp analytical mind to explain complex issues in a simple language and make sense of complicated situations.
What other careers have you considered and why? Why have you chosen a career as a solicitor instead
Initially, I have considered a career as an entrepreneur because I have good leadership skills, ambition and enthusiasm to succeed. I also enjoy large levels of responsibility and flexibility when making business decisions. Following my work experience at a number of leading US and city law firms, I decided that I wanted to become a solicitor because I came across many different industries and legal systems which provided me with variety and made my every day unique and exciting. I was constantly required to liaise with a range of different bodies ranging from clients to overseas solicitors. This produced more interesting work, greater variety and a wider group of experts to learn from which made my work environment stimulating and rewarding.
Please explain why you have chosen to apply to Taylor Wessing. Please specify at least three ways in which you think a career at Taylor Wessing will be different from other firms.*
I have chosen to apply to Taylor Wessing because it is a medium-sized firm that attracts big-firm work and works for sixty percent of the world’s top brands. This would see me operate in smaller teams and receive early responsibility. This would give me a very good insight into high calibre, international transactions and make a direct contribution to the success of the firm.
What sets Taylor Wessing apart from other firms, is its unique seat structure whereby trainees are asked about their preferences and get to choose the remaining two seats. This would allow me to choose practice areas and matters I want to focus on and would effectively allow me to be truly outstanding in one field and capitalise on my strengths.
Unlike at other firms, at Taylor Wessing I would receive the opportunity to be seconded to one of the firm’s clients. This would allow me to view the legal services industry from a client’s perspective and gain a more international insight into complex cross-border matters. Professionally, it is also a key part of the process that could help me to develop into a valued and highly skilled solicitor with a better understanding of how an international practice operates.
Taylor Wessing is different from other firms because it operates under a policy of openness. This would allow me to share ideas and concerns across the firm freely, which would help my personal development and allow me to operate in close and transparent teams.
At present, I am assisting [law firm]’s London team on [high-net-worth individual]’s defense to [high-net-worth individual]’s claim estimated at £[value]. I am working closely with [law firm]’s associates from [city] and London offices in conducting disclosure of documents. The goal of this task is to review a large number of documents for relevancy and privilege purposes for the disclosure request pursuant to the court’s order. I applied strong communication skills and irrepressible optimism when explaining to associates why I thought specific documents to be relevant. I learnt that I was a very careful listener and receptive to new ideas. At the same time, I negotiated with others very successfully and collaborated with the wider team to bring individual elements together and reach a successful conclusion.