Trainee Application Form Feedback

General Application Feedback

Perhaps the most basic, yet important, feedback we can provide is to reiterate the need for applicants to produce grammatically flawless application forms. Many responses we receive contain excellent content, but are let down by poor grammar and typing mistakes. So please, check your application before you press send, and then check it again!

The use of appropriate language is also important. Many applicants use complicated language that is not easy to read or comprehend. Often, a clear and simple structure is far more effective in getting your point across and it makes it easier for the assessor to read and consider your responses.

The strongest candidates used different examples throughout the application form. We want to see candidates who are able to draw experience from a variety of sources including academic, work and hobbies. Please remember to answer the question that's being asked, rather than applying a generic response used for other questions.

Finally, we cannot stress enough the need to do your research thoroughly. We want applicants who are passionate about the type of work that we do and fully understand our firm and its practice areas. Generic responses, often copied from other application forms, are quite easy to spot and rarely make it through our sifting process.

Education and Qualifications

At the beginning of the application process we expressly state our minimum academic requirements. We recognise the length of time it takes for applications to be completed, however unfortunately we cannot consider completed applications if they do not meet the minimum academic requirements or other recognised criteria. With that in mind, please do let us know of any clear mitigating circumstances, or if you have three years' relevant commercial work experience.

Why have you applied to Bevan Brittan?

A significant number of applicants wrote a generic response to this question. A number of responses outlined how the individual wanted to be a commercial lawyer without really referencing what it was specifically about Bevan Brittan that had attracted them. Many applicants also directly copied information from our website showing a lack of thorough research into the firm and its practice areas. The strongest responses included references to specific clients or specific cases the firm had contributed to, and also alluded to a number of different factors as to why they would like to work with the firm.

Describe a recent news article or story you have read or heard about, tell us your opinion of it and why it interested you.

This year, candidates described a variety of news stories, with responses about Brexit being the most common. Stronger, standout candidates chose to write about less obvious news stories that were relevant to the work we do or the markets we operate in. Excellent responses were able to provide a good synopsis of the article and a good understanding of the wider issues surrounding it. They were also able to explain why they had chosen that article and conclude with their position on the story. Weaker responses struggled to describe the key points of the news article succinctly, making it difficult for the assessor to understand.

Give an example of when you have had to manage conflicting deadlines in the past and how you went about this.

For this question, we received many similar responses focusing on university essay deadlines. Standout candidates were able to provide impressive examples of situations where they were managing conflicting deadlines from a variety of sources. They demonstrated how they used all resources at their disposal to ensure they met deadlines.

Describe a problem that you had to solve and how you went about solving it.

Generally, candidates were able to provide solid examples for a time they have had to solve a problem. Poorer responses focused on the problem itself, failing to elaborate on the steps the individual had taken to solve the problem. Other weak responses made it difficult to tell whether the problem had actually been resolved. Good responses demonstrated how the individual had solved a problem using a variety of different skills, utilising an example different to those used in other questions.

Describe a situation in which you have worked under pressure.

The majority of applicants were able to describe in detail a situation where they have worked under pressure. Weaker responses were too descriptive of the situation with stronger responses explaining methods employed to cope with the pressure and the outcome of these actions.

The current economic climate is having a significant impact on the Public Sector. Discuss what challenges and opportunities this presents for Bevan Brittan.

From this question, we were easily able to identify those candidates who had thoroughly done their research and those who hadn't. Stronger candidates were able to discuss what commercial challenges and opportunities the firm will face through a clear understanding of our markets, the clients we work with and the types of work we do. An appreciation of current political dialogue was also evident in many strong answers, with excellent responses including specific case studies to demonstrate their understanding of how this is shaping the economic environment for many of our clients. The strongest responses were able to anticipate and specify both challenges and opportunities for work that this could present to the firm.

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