The next stage of the application process is the assessment centre, a half day of tests at the firm’s offices in London. The assessment centre is an opportunity for you to show off your range of skills. There are a maximum of 8 people at each assessment centre, giving the recruitment team at BLP the opportunity to observe you in action, doing the sorts of tasks you could be doing as a trainee. The impression you make on the day is taken into account when considering whether to offer you a position.
The assessment centre for both vacation scheme and trainee candidates can include a presentation about the firm, and opportunities to meet current trainees and partners. On arrival at the assessment centre, you are given a brief to review. This brief is used through all the exercises at the assessment day.
The drafting exercise is a key exercise for BLP. The drafting exercise asks you to draft a letter based on the brief given at the start of the day. The purpose of this exercise is to test your comprehension skills, your ability to assimilate large amounts of information, and make deductions and recommendations based on the information you have in front of you. You do not need to have a high level of legal knowledge, but you do need to demonstrate logical business sense and be able to make recommendations which are commercially viable. Your exercise is marked on structure, conciseness, level of English, and focus on the client. JobTestPrep can help you prepare for your written exercise with our writing exercises practice pack.
For training scheme candidates alone, the role play exercise places you in the role of a trainee in a meeting with a Partner. This session is short, and you are asked to present a case to a Partner and to discuss it with them. As well as aiming to impress the Partner with the information you present, you should aim to impress them with your skills. Remember to speak clearly and concisely, to stand by your ideas, and be able to justify your viewpoint but to be able to be flexible if given new information. Role playing exercises require different skills to put yourself into a new situation, which can be daunting. See how JobTestPrep can help you sharpen those skills with our role playing practice pack.
The negotiation is another key activity in the assessment day. The negotiation exercise splits the participants at the assessment centre into teams of two. Each team takes one side in a negotiation against another team and aims to secure the best outcome for their client. Examples of negotiation topics at BLP assessment days include one company buying out another company, or two sides in a dispute about a holiday. The challenge in the negotiation exercise is to come to a mutual agreement that also benefits your client.
In the negotiation exercise you are being tested on your:
Getting the balance right in this exercise is difficult. You need to be assertive but not argumentative,be able to voice your opinion, and be able to explain yourself when others do not agree. See how JobTestPrep can help you achieve this balance and improve your skills with our group exercises pack.
The application process for the vacation scheme ends at this point. Vacation scheme interns will have a partner interview during the vacation scheme. People applying directly for a training contract will now have the final stage of the application process, the partner interview.
During the BLP assessment day, vacation scheme candidates face a commercial-based interview. Training scheme candidates who are successful during the assessment day will be invited to an interview with a partner. These interviews are detailed below.
The final stage of the BLP vacation scheme assessment day is a commercial interview. Here, BLP is looking to see how well you know their firm and how much you want the position. Do your research! Read up on the firm, recent cases and their reputation in the field. Expect questions such as:
This is the final stage of the application process, and is considered the most testing. Applicants are interviewed by two Partners, who ask a mixture of business related and general questions. They will ask you about your CV and application form, as well as competency questions and testing your commercial approach, general intellect and suitability for a legal career.
The type of questions you are likely to encounter include:
Don’t forget to prepare thoroughly for this interview. Refresh your memory on what is written in your application form. Research the firm, their key areas of work, and their clients, as well as any big cases they may have been involved in recently. Also think of some questions to ask in the interview. Be prepared to be commercial, know what is going on in the news, and be prepared to put forward your opinions. Expect to be challenged, be truthful, and take advice when it is given, showing your willingness to learn.
The interview is your opportunity to really make an impression on the firm. As well as all the preparation identified above, you really need to think about your interview technique. JobTestPrep’s interview preparation package can give you tips to take into the interview with you.
Berwin Leighton Paisner take on fewer trainees than expected from a firm their size, increasing the competition for these places. The application process places emphasis on how you perform in live situations and on interaction with others be they interviewers or contemporaries in the negotiation exercise. It is therefore important that you prepare thoroughly for each test. This page has guided you through each stage of the application process, highlighting the resources available from JobTestPrep to help you improve your application as far as possible. Good luck!