Simmons & Simmons have designed their application process to test candidates at each stage. They are looking for the candidates who demonstrate that they can handle all that they have thrown at them and more. You have to pass each stage in order to progress to the next one. This guide will focus on the Simmons & Simmons graduate scheme, as this is the most comprehensive application process. Applications to jobs at other levels will contain many of the stages included in this guide.
The firm are looking for key qualities in their lawyers including:
You need to demonstrate that you have these skills throughout the entire application process.
The online application form is your first opportunity to impress the recruitment team at Simmons & Simmons. As well as the questions about your education, work experience and other skills, you are asked to answer two in depth questions, and three competency based questions.
The questions are:
You have a word limit of 250 to answer each of the questions above, which is not a lot given the amount of information they are looking for. Remember to plan each answer away from the application form and put it in the form when you are satisfied with the information you have given. You should refer to your experience so far in order to answer the questions. Use the application form as an opportunity to show how you have researched into the firm, and demonstrate your eagerness to work with Simmons & Simmons.
If your application form reaches the required standard, you are invited to take an online critical reasoning test. This test is known as the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Test, and aims to test your ability to think critically about pieces of information in front of you. The Watson-Glaser test is distinct from the other types of tests usually used in job application processes, is looking for a different type of answer to those given in other tests. The test is looking for your skills in five key areas: Drawing inferences; Recognising assumptions; Deductive reasoning; Logical interpretation; Argument evaluation.
They say practice makes perfect, and if not perfect, practising these tests will definitely help you improve your score when you come to take the test! See how JobTestPrep’s Watson-Glaser practice pack can help you improve your score.
If you pass the test, you will be called to an assessment day at the firm’s London offices. The assessment day lasts three hours, and contains a mixture of tests and an interview.
In this exercise, you have 40 minutes to read several pages of information and use them to draft a letter in response. The letter is not necessarily a legal letter, the test is of your writing abilities only. Past examples of this exercise include dealing with a complaint from a customer. The brief was to respond to the customer citing the terms and conditions of the holiday.
It is not possible to practice for an exact written exercise, but it is important to prepare some of the skills and tips that you can do to improve the quality of your written exercise on the day. See how JobTestPrep’s written exercises practice packs can help.
The document review exercise is aimed at testing your abilities to take in information and summarise it in a useful format for other users. You have 30 minutes to read a set of legal documents before you are interviewed by two partners who will ask you questions about what you have just read. Given the financial focus at Simmons & Simmons, the topic of the documents is likely to be about finance or on financing a deal.
This exercise aims to test quite a few of your skills. They are looking for your attention to detail, your awareness of the language, spelling, grammar and structure of the report, and therefore how you notice any mistakes in the texts. They are also testing your commercial awareness, how you understand the impact of what you are reading on the deal. You are not being tested on your legal knowledge, and you are not expected to know all the answers.
The complex nature of this test makes preparation vital. JobTestPrep have developed practice packs for case studies which give you feedback on what you are doing right or wrong as well as provide you with the skills to approach this exercise with confidence. To find out more, see the JobTestPrep website here. The additional trick in this exercise is that you are being interviewed to give over your findings. This will add pressure to the test, which can be alleviated by practising your interview technique in advance. See how JobTestPrep’s interview package can help you.
The partner interview will test you on the document review exercise, but they will also take the opportunity to find out more about you. They will use your CV to ask you questions that will tell them about your possible contribution to the firm. Questions can include: why did you get a particular grade in a certain subject, or why did you chose your university. You may be asked about an ethical dilemma to work through in the interview. As with anything, practice can definitely improve your interview skills. It is important to make sure you practice in interview conditions to test how you respond to pressure or unexpected questions. JobTestPrep can help you with this with our interview preparation package.
A significant proportion of Simmons & Simmons trainees have come from the attendees of the summer internships. Summer vacation attendees will be interviewed during their placements in order to be in the running for a training contract place. The skills that you are tested on during the application process are many and varied, and you will need to excel at demonstrating your abilities throughout in order to be offered a training contract. This article has guided you through the graduate application process, and has shown you the resources available from JobTestPrep to help you prepare at each stage. Good luck.