Burges Salmon is one of the largest non-London based law firms in the country. Based in Bristol, they are increasingly winning high profile cases, and their client list includes Eurostar, Aviva, and Lloyds Banking Group to name but a few. Due to the increased profile of the firm, the recruitment process has been updated in recent years, and is more competitive than ever before. This page is designed to take you through each stage of the recruitment process, and provide you with resources for that all important practice leading you all the way through to the offer.

Running through the application are five values that you must demonstrate at every stage:

  • Quality – in everything we do.
  • Commitment – to promoting the highest of standards for our clients.
  • Loyalty – to our clients and staff.
  • Ambition – in the pursuit of excellence.
  • Fairness – in the way we treat everyone we deal with during the course of our work.

Burges Salmon Online Application Form

The application form is your first opportunity to impress the recruitment team at Burges Salmon. As well as all the standard application form information, you are also asked to answer some questions about yourself. Each of these questions has a word limit of between 150 and 250 words, which is not a lot when you are trying to get your point across. Plan your answers outside the form and cut and paste them in. Furthermore, you are not required to attach your CV, so the application form is your only opportunity to put forward the information that you would normally put on your CV. This will be challenging in the space you have available. JobTestPrep’s CV builder package is here to help you craft your application form. Before you start your application form, read our guide to every stage of the law firm application form on our JobTestPrep blog.

The questions on the application form include:

  • Aside from work and study, what motivates you and why? (150 words)
  • In order of importance, what are the main skills demonstrated by a successful lawyer in a commercial law firm? (150 words)
  • According to the people who know you, what are your main strengths and weaknesses? Please provide 3 of each. (150 words)
  • Tell us about a recent economic or business news article or story you have read or heard about. Please tell us your opinion on this and why it interested you. (250 words)
  • As a leading UK law firm, what do you think are the main challenges and opportunities that Burges Salmon will face over the next 5 years? (250 words)

Burges Salmon Assessment Centre

If your application form meets the required standard, you will be invited to attend a whole day assessment centre at the firm’s offices in Bristol. The programme for the day is as follows:

Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Test

The Watson-Glaser critical thinking test is a unique test, different to all other tests you will sit. The aim of the test is to determine your ability to think critically, and help the company assess your suitability for both the job you are applying to, and the company as a whole.

The Watson-Glaser test will test you on five key areas:

  • Drawing inferences
  • Recognising assumptions
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Logical interpretation
  • Argument evaluation

The Watson-Glaser test is distinct from the other types of tests usually used in job application processes, and will ask you questions you may never have answered before. JobTestPrep’s website contains a practice pack for the Watson-Glaser test which will help you improve your scores in the real thing.

Burges Salmon Group Exercise

The firm will use the group exercises to assess your teamwork and negotiation skills. The group exercise can take any number of forms, but it will focus on negotiation. See XXIV Old Buildings Chambers profile for an example of a negotiation exercise. The group will be expected to perform together, but you will also be expected to shine in your own right. Getting this balance is difficult, but will improve with practice. JobTestPrep’s group exercise pack can give you tips on what you should and should not do on the day.

Burges Salmon Written Exercise

A written exercise can be anything from writing a brief for a case, summarising the information in a document relating to a case, or preparing a presentation, generally on some form of legal scenario. Even if you do not know ahead of time exactly what type of written exercise you will face, it is still important to prepare. Take a practice written exercise with our online written exercise practice

Interview with Partner

This interview is a short, more informal interview with a partner designed for the firm to get a feel for you, your motivations in law, and what drives you. The partner will have seen your application form, so make sure you take a look at what you wrote on the application form to refresh your memory. Be prepared to ask questions of the partner, perhaps about their work and interests, and what they like about working with Burges Salmon. Even if it is informal, you will still be making an impression on a partner with the firm, so be sure to prepare. See JobTestPrep’s interview preparation package for tips and advice for the interview.

Final Interview

The final stage of the application is an interview with a recruitment partner and member of the HR team. This interview is a formal interview designed to ask you in more detail than earlier about your motivations for working in commercial law, in choosing Burges Salmon, and more information about you and your past work experience. As before, review your application, the interviewers certainly will have. Do your research on the firm, what they do and any recent cases they have been involved in. You should also be up to date in the legal world, and in any big commercial events. It is important that you relax and be yourself in the interview. Interviews can be nerve wracking, and at this stage there is a lot hanging on this interview. Make sure you are prepared for the whole interview experience. JobTestPrep can help you prepare for this interview with our interview preparation package.

In summary

The Burges Salmon recruitment process is designed so that the firm can pick the best candidates. Competition is fierce, and it is worth heeding the advice of former trainees: get as much experience as you can before hand; demonstrate the soft skills that show you can relate to clients and coworkers alike, and can work well under pressure; do your research ahead of time, understand the firm, and read the business press. A large proportion of the cohort who start training contracts each year did a vacation scheme with Burges Salmon. The application process has a slightly shorter assessment day, and instead of the final interview, these applicants will have a final interview with a partner will take place towards the end of the vacation scheme. This page has guided you through each stage, highlighting the packages available from JobTestPrep to help you prepare.

We hope that you have found this page useful, and wish you the best of luck.