Training Contract Interview Questions (Practical Example)
Strong global reach through a network of 24 offices across the US, Europe and Asia will allow me to work on cross-border matters with colleagues from the firm’s overseas offices. This will expose me to new perspectives, ideas and allow me to see how my contribution fits within the bigger picture.
• Exciting and dynamic client base – Morgan Lewis represents more than half of the Fortune 100 companies and it works with approximately 2,000 new clients and on 20,000 new projects each year. This will expose me to high quality work and provide me with an insight into different business structures and industries.
• The relatively small size of the London office and its collegiate culture will enable me to work in tightly-knit teams in which I will be able to receive more responsibility and involvement in my day-to-day work and learn from the firm’s professionals.
• The London office has English and US law capabilities which will allow me to compare different jurisdiction and appreciate how these jurisdictions interact in a cross-border case.
• London office’s close connection to the firm’s [city] office will present me with challenging work and exposure to [language] local markets and clients. Secondment.
• Secondment to [city] Office- view a problem from a different jurisdiction.
• We expect our trainees to share this commitment to client service and encourage you to participate in business development and marketing activities from the very start of your career with us.
• Trainees in the department are encouraged to build strong relationships with clients and actively participate in client calls and case strategy meetings.
• Key industry sectors include banking and finance, energy, healthcare, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, insurance, technology, and defence.
• you will be given high-quality, challenging assignments and will work directly with senior lawyers across practices and industry groups on complex and, frequently, cross-border matters. Through this hands-on and varied experience, you can expect to build a thorough understanding of the firm’s business and of working with international, high-profile clients.
• You will complete four six-month seats. During each seat, you will be based in a specific practice group, but your daily work will involve working closely with colleagues across a range of teams and, frequently, interaction with many of our other offices.
• Morgan Lewis is a leading provider of legal services in the global energy industry, with extensive experience advising on some of the world's most complex and significant energy transactions. The firm's attorneys are well versed in cross-border transactions, as well as a wide range of energy and energy-related industry sectors. They have considerable experience managing and negotiating complex transactions in electric power; upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas; LNG; gas transportation; power transmission; and renewable energy projects.
• Baker & McKenzie
• Business & Finance
• Emerging & Growth Businesses
• Employee Benefits
• Immigration & Nationality Services
• Labour & Employment
• Life Sciences
• Nuclear Energy
• Private Investment Funds
MORGAN LEWIS CASES
• Morgan Lewis advised Itera Oil and Gas Company on its sale of 49% in the joint venture (Itera Oil and Gas Company LLC) to [language] state company [company].
• Itera Oil and Gas Company LLC was a joint venture that [company] and Itera Oil and Gas Company created in August [year] to develop gas fields in the gas-rich Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region in the [language] Arctic. Morgan Lewis assisted Itera with the formation of the joint venture in [year].
• Morgan Lewis served as English and [language] legal adviser to the [language] state development bank (VEB/Vnesheconombank) on the EUR 1.5 billion offering of Eurobonds. The offering was structured as a EUR 1 billion tranche of 5-year bonds and a EUR 500 million tranche of 10-year bonds. Each tranche of bonds was issued by VEB Finance plc, an Irish special purpose vehicle, for the purpose of funding a loan to VEB. The proceeds of the offering will be used by VEB for general corporate purposes.
• "VEB is an important institution for the [language] economy, and we are delighted to have advised it on this major funding transaction. This offering is significant in that it is VEB's first-ever Eurobond offering denominated in Euros and is of benchmark size."
• An international Morgan Lewis team advised Norway's Statoil on the negotiation of shareholding and operation agreements for four [language] continental shelf field exploration JVs with [company]
• significant milestone under the strategic cooperation arrangements reached between the two companies in May of this year.
• Itera, one of [country]'s leading independent producers of natural gas, has agreed a strategic venture with [language] oil giant [company] to jointly develop their gas fields in the gas-rich Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region in the [language] Arctic.
• Following the signature earlier this year of a Strategic Cooperation Agreement, which set forth the overall transaction structure and rules, the parties proceeded to completion of the deal in early August. Morgan Lewis assisted Itera throughout this intense several-month period to completion, including negotiation and drafting of a number of transaction documents regarding the JV company governance and financing.
• The financing agreements for VTB Bank's VTB Arena were signed in [city] in a recent ceremony attended by [language] Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. VTB Bank has borrowed a €500 million loan for the construction of the stadium, which has been heralded as one of the [language] Federation's largest development projects. The stadium will be jointly owned by Dynamo FC, a [city] team that plays in the [language] Premier League, and VTB Bank, which owns a majority stake in the team. The stadium will be a focal part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted by [country].
• Itera Oil and Gas Company (gas explorations in Arctic)
• Vnesheconombank ), the [language] state development bank
• EDF Energy
• Norway's Statoil
• VTB Bank (financing of VTB Arena/ largest development in [country]/ 2018 World Cup)
How do firms remain competitive in the recession?
• Straightforward and clear legal advise
• Expertise in the client’s sector and knowledge of their business
• Reasonable fees
Questions About Your Choice of Law as a Career and this Particular Firm
• Why do you want to be a lawyer?
• Career as a solicitor is varied, challenging and engaging. I will work with clients of all shapes and sizes which means that I will get a good exposure to their business and sectors that they operate in. I will then have to manipulate and apply law to achieve pragmatic and effective solutions for the client which makes for an exciting and challenging work environment.
• As a solicitor I will be require to work in integrated teams – with the globalisation of commerce I will be presented with novel and complex problems. I will work in teams with a commercial focus on the problem in a quick-paced environment with approaching deadlines. At [law firm] , I especially enjoyed working with my colleagues from the [city] and New York offices as this exposed me to new ideas, allowed me to view case from different jurisdiction and allowed me to forge new contacts.
• Responsibility over my workload- [law firm] central port of contact for client + made decisions on a daily basis + steep learning curve + empowering.
• Why do you want to work for this firm?
• What criteria have you used to distinguish between one firm and another – to help you choose who to apply for?
• Taking for granted that this is your first choice firm, which is your second choice and why?
• What other firms have you applied to?
• Have you got any other offers? Why would you take us over them?
• Did you apply to [law firm]/[law firm]?
• What is wrong with this firm/puts you off working for this firm?
• Where do you see this firm going over the short-term future?
• Where do you see yourself in five/ten year’s time?
• How would you promote a business such as ours to our company clientele?
• If you are meeting with a client for the first time, what are they going to want to know?
Typical Interview Questions
At [law firm] attended a BoD EGM in Amsterdam in my capacity as an interpreter. I was thrown at the deep end as I was required to listen carefully to the client and draw on my commercial awareness to make sense of technical information and communicate it back to the solicitors in a simple and understandable language.
I demonstrated leadership skills by managing the meeting and proactively participated in problem-solving. Result, I manage to bring individual factors together to provide a broader picture of the client’s case and requirements which allowed the solicitors to determine the options available to the client.
Commercial awareness (60 words max)
At [law firm], I drafted an executive summary for a case. I analysed each issue in the context of the client’s business and industry and explained how each issue related to the client’s overall requirements. I demonstrated a good sectoral knowledge by analysing technical issues relating to the client’s business activity.
Client focus (60 words max)
At [law firm], I gave a short presentation during a board of directors EGM in order to explain local nuances affecting the client in [country]. I successfully applied my understanding of the client’s business and the environment in which they operate by explaining the relevance of each issue to the client’s overall objectives.
I possess good client-facing skills and at [law firm], I was the first port of contact for a [language] client. I constantly corresponded with the client, participated in all meetings and conference calls and accompanied the client to a Board of Directors EGM.
At [law firm], I was asked to brief a partner on a case when the supervising partner was away. I provided the partner with an overview of the background to the case and explained the main issues in the case and our progress. This provided the partner with a clear idea of the next steps she needed to take.
At [law firm], I worked closely with the firm’s London and [city] offices when proofreading and amending witness statements. I played a proactive role by sharing my ideas and perspectives with other team members. I kept a check on time, suggested ways to improve our work and helped others with their workload, which helped us to meet a tight deadline.
Whilst working on a large banking matter at [law firm], I and a group of paralegals were asked by an associate to create an executive summary for one of the issues in a very short space of time for a meeting with a client. I was responsible for running searches and reviewing documents on the internal database against a set of criteria in order to establish a chronology of the main events whilst others had to identify the key legal issues. In order to allocate our time and resources efficiently, I organised a short meeting with the associate to discuss what aspects he wanted to feature in the executive summary which helped us to devise a plan of action. Having run the searches and reviewed documents, I organised a team meeting at which we shared and discussed our results and ideas which helped us to create a skeleton for the executive summary. During the meeting, I played a very proactive role by making suggestions on how to structure our executive summary and dealt with questions from other team members. I also helped to re-distribute some work depending on the capacity of the team members and set internal deadlines. Overall, other team members found my collegiate and inclusive approach to be very helpful because it helped us to ensure that all of our work was aligned to our objectives. The associate was pleased with our work because we successfully covered all aspects to a high degree of quality and ahead of the deadline.
Teamwork and Conflict
See Application Form
When running my business in the events management sector, I came against immense pressure from competitors. As a result, I restructured the business by focussing on budget packages for parties and established a unique business model aimed at helping underperforming businesses to restructure in the business-to-business sector. This gave the business a unique selling point and bolstered its competitiveness.
Initiative, Drive, Commitment (60 words max)
During my first week at [law firm], I was given reading materials in order to acquaint myself with the case. A senior associate mentioned that there was a small quantity of authorities on a legal principle on which the team was relying in their submissions. Having read the materials sooner than expected, I decided to perform some research into this area. Having come across references to this legal principle in the reading materials, I got hold of the relevant legal articles. I managed to identify new case law in the articles and used the case citations to look up the cases on legal database. I identified and picked out the relevant citations and presented them to the team of solicitors. As a result, the solicitors incorporated my findings into a new draft of the submissions which allowed them to consolidate their legal arguments.
Whilst at [law firm], I accompanied the client and solicitors from several jurisdictions to a board of directors EGM of a joint venture vehicle in Amsterdam in my capacity as an interpreter. During our strategic pre-EGM meeting, the client informed the solicitors of the latest developments in their business to enable the solicitors to understand the client’s latest requirements. Towards the end of our strategic meeting, I noticed that some solicitors were having difficulties in understanding some of the nuances pertaining to the [language] market in which the client was operating. To address this, I held a small presentation during which I summarised the main issues raised during the meeting and how they related to the client’s overall commercial objectives. After the presentation, I held a Q&A sessions during which the solicitors had an opportunity to ask the client questions. I was motivated to ensure that all solicitors were as fully informed of all the issues so that an optimal solution was achieved for the client at the EGM. Given that I was a central port of contact for the client, I was also motivated to apply my entire understanding of the case and the client’s business during a critical time to add value to my work and deliver an excellent service to the client. As a result, the solicitors had a good understanding of the client’s position when going into the EGM which allowed them to act quickly to dissolve the meeting in order to prevent the passing of a resolution that would have not been in the client’s interests.
Organisational and time-management skills
[law firm], required to work on several cases at once. I prioritised my workload by constantly liaising with the associates to determine what work needed to be completed first.
I am able to work in a quick-paced environment to meet tight deadlines and prioritise my workload ([law firm], when finalising a memorandum for an IPO, I updated the memorandum in real time to incorporate the comments of different parties to the discussion, which required me to be well organised and prioritise my tasks)
Weaknesses/ bad thing about me:
• Can be too committed + work outside business hours to perfect it.
• I like to ask questions that go outside the scope of a task I am working on because I like to learn new things.
• Can’t resist a caramel Sunday at Macdonals.
Established an amateur [sport] club at my university. Sports Committee was reluctant to allow the club due to health and safety risks. I set up a society and lobbied the uni for a [sport] club and attended numerous negotiations. When the club was established I became the president and was responsible for overseeing all the executives and growing the club.
In [year], I established an events management business. I feel that this is my most important achievement because I developed an innovative business model that focuses on providing budget party packages in the retail market and helping restaurants and cafes to restructure their operations to increase their competitiveness and profitability. I feel that this is an important achievement because I have successfully grown the business in the retail and commercial markets in a challenging economic climate. I feel that the experience of running this business has significantly strengthened my commercial awareness and interpersonal skills as I am constantly assisting the director with legal, financial and management issues and adjusting the business model to the requirements of different businesses.
Translations [law firm] 2 documents
Please give details of your non-academic achievements and interests. State what you feel you have gained from them and how others have benefited from your involvement.
I enjoy [sport] and hold [sport] sessions at my local gym. At school, I regularly represented my borough and England in national amateur [sport] competitions. In [year], I won a gold medal for England in the [English sports tournament name] Amateur [sport] Tournament. At university, I pioneered the University of [university] Amateur [sport] Club for the first time in fifty years and was the president of the society. I feel that [sport] has honed my discipline and enhanced my leadership skills and resilience. By training people both at university and locally, I feel that I have helped others to develop new skills and learn a new sport.
I am closely involved with my local community and help people with their legal and administrative matters. This involvement has enhanced my client-facing and problem-solving skills. I feel that my contribution has helped to protect vulnerable people in the society who would have not otherwise had any assistance.
I am currently running an events management business. I am assisting the director in making important strategic decisions in order to grow the business and managing branches of the business in [area] and [area]. I feel that this is an important personal achievement because I have managed to utilise my knowledge and skills in a competitive commercial environment to establish a company with a highly innovative business concept. My business has benefited bars and restaurants by helping them to restructure in order to attract more customers.
What other firms have you applied to?
Which practice areas of the firm are you interested in?
Tell us about an issue in which you are interested?
I have read about the trade dispute between the EU and China in relation to solar panels and French Wine. The EU imposed tariffs on solar panels imported from China because it believes that Chinese solar panels are being dumped on the European market, costing thousands of job losses in Europe in recent years. The Chinese government provided unfair subsidies to Chinese solar panel producers, which has enabled Chinese solar panel makers to severely undercut its European counterparts by selling solar panels below the production costs. In effect, this has stymied competition in the EU as the European producers are unable to absorb the losses and have been compelled to pass on the cost to the consumers. In response, China said that it would start an anti-dumping probe into the European winemaking subsidies and luxury car imports from the EU. I would have advised the European Union to hold talks with the Chinese before imposing the tariffs on the solar panels because this would have helped to prevent the escalation of the trade war which can have serious repercussions on the European economy, especially when China seems to be an important country for European exports.
Tell us about an article you have read and why it interested you.
SHALE GAS UNCONVENTIONAL ENERGY SOURCE
Recently, I developed a strong interest in the global shale gas revolution because it can potentially play an important role in re-shaping the global energy landscape. I find the advent of shale gas interesting because it is still in its early transition period and is hence a very topical subject area. I consider the advances in the shale gas industry to be significant because they have the potential of opening up competition in the energy industry by breaking up large monopolies. The advances in shale gas exploration and extraction techniques will help to satisfy growing demand for energy across the world and increase consumer purchasing power. Similarly, lower gas prices can improve the competitiveness of energy intensive industries and attract foreign investment and create local opportunities, which can help to increase the competitiveness of many countries. However, the extraction of shale gas poses significant risks to the environment because hydraulic fracturing, a process of extracting gas from the shales, is potentially dangerous to the environment because it uses chemicals that can contaminate drinking water. Similarly, Shale gas also hinders the transition to renewable energy because it reduces fossil energy prices thus making renewable energy expensive. I am particularly interested in the developments in the shale gas industry because currently it is estimated that despite large reserves of shale gas, only a small fraction is extractable which puts the entire commercial viability of shale gas into question.
“Marcellus has unbounded production potential. The only thing that’s limiting its potential is infrastructure constraints,” says Mr Dwivedi, whose bank is also the fourth-biggest North American gas marketer by volume.
Marcellus has unbounded production potential. The only thing that’s limiting its potential is infrastructure constraints
These infrastructure limitations – mainly inadequate pipeline and processing capacity – have bottled up some gas and cratered prices in the region. Last Friday, gas at a Pennsylvania trading hub called TGP Zone 4-Marcellus sold for as little as $1 a mBtu – a discount of more than $2 to benchmark prices.
The Marcellus field is enormous.
Fracking licences granted in 13 cabinet members’ seats, study finds
The manufacturing sector has been cushioned by a steep depreciation in sterling in [year]-08, low nominal (and real) interest rates and a real terms decline in wages and salaries.
Mark Carney has made it clear he intends to change the way the central bank does monetary policy.
Mr Carney believes guidance can provide extra monetary stimulus at a time when interest rates are already ultra-low. Consumers and companies will feel more relaxed about borrowing if the central bank reassures them it does not intend to put rates up soon.
On the whole, guidance seems to buy stability when initially deployed, at the cost of greater volatility later.
Second, the BoE risks gambling with its reputation. The promise that rates will stay low for long may be impossible to keep if the recovery arrives sooner than initially expected. The BoE would then have to renege on its commitment, tightening policy to stop inflation from getting out of hand.
“Help to Buy”, a state guarantee for mortgage lending, has prompted fears that the government is stoking a housing bubble. A better choice could be to buy bundles of loans to small and medium enterprises.
7 per cent unemployment threshold the Bank will use to inform its decision on when to tighten monetary policy.
Tell us about a recent change in the law and why it interested you.
Where do you see yourself in ten year’s time?
Why did you choose to read law at [university]?
Which module did you enjoy most and why?
What experience and skills have you acquired during your employment?
Why should we choose you?
What are you main strengths and weaknesses?
Give us an example where you have demonstrated:
-Problem solving skills
Tell us about an occasion when you were presented with a difficult situation and how did you deal with it?
What do clients expect from their solicitors?
Who would be your most ideal client?
What do you do in your spare time?
What is the role of a lawyer in today's commercial law firm? Why does this attract you and how can you meet these demands? 300
The role of a lawyer in today’s commercial law firm is to understand the specific needs of clients and have a deep understanding of their businesses and the sectors in which they operate in order to respond to different pressures and the ever-changing requirements facing the clients.
I would like to become a commercial lawyer because I have a very strong interest in both law and commerce. As a commercial lawyer, I will work with an exciting variety of commercial clients from across different industries which will provide me with a good insight into challenges and opportunities faced by the clients in their respective industries. This will require me to work in teams of solicitors to discuss complex issues and generate new ideas to produce cutting-edge solutions for clients. In effect, this will produce high quality and sophisticated work which will make my working environment challenging and intellectually stimulating.
I believe that I can meet the demands of a lawyer in today's commercial law firm because I have extensive legal experience and the relevant skill-set to become a successful lawyer. I possess commercial acumen and strong problem solving skills which will enable me to operate in a challenging and demanding environment whereby I will be required to deal with complex problems and make a meaningful contribution to the work that I undertake. I am a good team player and have an ability to express my ideas in a simple and understandable manner. I am very enthusiastic, entrepreneurial and focused which will allow me to bring new perspectives to the table and use my initiative to add value to my work. I possess good client-facing skills through which I will be able to deliver a good client service and work with the client to understand their business, objectives and legal requirements.
In 200 words, choose one of the firm's eight sector groups and summarise the biggest challenges and opportunities that businesses in this sector will face in the future.
Businesses operating in the energy sector will have an opportunity to benefit from the global shale gas revolution because new reserves of shale gas are being discovered across the world and the drilling techniques are undergoing constant development. With the depletion of hydrocarbons, businesses in the energy sector have the opportunity to invest into research and development of renewable energy sources and maximising their return on equity in the future when renewable energy will play an instrumental role in energy supply.
With an increased focus on offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling works, businesses in the energy sector will face the challenge of forming effective global alliances with other energy companies due to geopolitical challenges. Similarly, businesses in the energy sector will face environmental challenges and tighter regulation in the face of recent environmental disasters such as the explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
choose between two industries and identify the main challenges facing the industry you have chosen, as well as the challenges it may face in the future.
Energy and Natural Resources
- Shale Gas- new source of energy to supplement the depleting reserves of oil. Challenge is to make the extraction of gas commercially viable and at the same time protect environmental interests. The shale gas revolution also has the prospect of ramping up the competition in the gas market and reducing energy prices for the next several decades.
- More companies are going offshore since onshore reserves of oil and gas are depleting. Going offshore increases the complexity of operations (arctic sea [company] and BP) and requires increased technical expertise and funds which has lead to an increase in international cooperation and synergies between energy majors. Although this global strategic cooperation is fraught with difficulties.
Financial Institutions/ Banking
- The coalition's implementation of the Vickers reforms – to erect a ringfence around retail and investment banking operations
- Basel 3- increased liquidity coverage ratio to make sure that bank’s build up enough cash to survive a 30-day credit crunch. However, following lobbying from banks the Basel 3 rules were relaxed as banks can count more types of assets as "liquid"
- How might an international law firm differentiate itself in a competitive environment? (Up to 250 words)*
- An international law firm might differentiate itself in a competitive environment by providing its clients with an Industry focus and sectoral expertise because this will enable a law firm to understand the climate in which prospective clients operate and their commercial objectives. This experience can position a law firm to deal with the most complex and unique opportunities and threats facing clients to produce innovative solutions.
- Strong international reach and cross-border expertise will help an international law firm to differentiate itself in a competitive environment because it will be well positioned to advise on complex cross-border matters through its network of international lawyers who are knowledgeable about local jurisdictions and markets. This will provide clients with a seamless service to their problems and lead to a higher satisfaction.
The planned Dubai office opening follows roughly a year on the heels of the firm's office openings in [city] and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Working closely with the firm's full-service London office, and with the rest of the firm's talent across Europe, Asia, and the United States, the Dubai team will not only provide guidance in energy and infrastructure transactions, debt capital markets, structured finance, private equity funds, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and Islamic finance, but also ensure clients have access to Morgan Lewis's core litigation, labor and employment, intellectual property, and corporate strategy services.
"Morgan Lewis offers us and our clients a platform that we could not find with any other firm. The firm's diverse set of practices and broad geographic footprint—complete with a strong London office, full-scale capabilities in Europe and a unique ability to provide service in Africa and other key emerging markets—will allow us to serve our clients from virtually any location worldwide," noted Mr. Khaleq.
Morgan Lewis's goal to provide market-leading legal services to clients in London, a city which serves as a key global hub for the energy industry.
recently with a concerted push to target the deals side of the business over the past three years. “Yes, we targeted the energy sector on the transactional side a few years ago, although we’ve always been very strong in regulatory and nuclear,”
“Because of the firm’s historically very strong energy regulatory practice, it has deep contacts in the industry,”