Training Principal and Partner James Harvey discusses the skills needed to be a successful trainee at Weil, and offers essential advice for your vacation scheme application…
I came to Weil from a very large UK law firm, having studied law at university. Moving here was a real breath of fresh air as well as a positive step for my career. Weil has a dynamic work environment with the perfect balance of a professional, approachable, and youthful culture. At Weil, you are treated as an individual, entrusted with high profile work and encouraged to collaborate and ask questions. My role as Training Principal is particularly satisfying. I greatly enjoy identifying the most talented candidates and supporting them as they progress through our training contract.
It is essential that there is not one type of Weil lawyer.
There is no such thing as a typical Weil trainee. At Weil, we build teams with the diversity of background, thought and approach to drive our growth and support our clients. It is important to note here that being from a non-law background is by no means a disadvantage. There are common skills that support success in a legal career at Weil. The applicants who stand out in interview are inquisitive, intellectually curious; they are open-minded and interested in developing their knowledge. At Weil, you are in the spotlight as unlike other larger firms where you maybe operating behind the scenes. We look for candidates who want to take charge of their careers, are driven to be successful and proactively contribute. Finally, we look for candidates who value teamwork and who will thrive working in small, dynamic teams where your voice is heard.
My advice for your application:
Take time to review your experience
Ahead of the interview and for the written application, consider how your experience demonstrates that you have the skills to be a successful lawyer at Weil. Do not feel intimidated, your experience does not need to be related to law and is relevant however big or small. You could describe a weekend job or a short-term project.
Research the Firm
We expect you to have an appreciation of what Weil is known for, including our breadth of practice areas. For example, if you are looking to join Private Equity, look up specific deals in the Financial Times or on our website. Let your interests guide your research; we want to see how you would engage with work as a trainee at Weil. We appreciate and expect that your knowledge at this stage will be limited. The training contract is carefully designed to give you the skills and experience to engage with client work, understand clients’ priorities, and balance commercial and legal goals. At the application stage, we are looking for you to demonstrate curiosity about our work.
It is not about having the correct answer
We are testing how you approach and think through problems. Our questions are designed to identify your core skills, so take your time, answer them in detail and make sure you share your reasoning. Your intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness can be demonstrated in the way you engage with these interview questions. Even within the written application, we are examining valuable skills such as attention to detail, the ability to conduct relevant research, and prepare effectively.
Finally, remember we are excited to meet you, so be engaged and enthusiastic!
Weil is not a Firm where you can go with the flow and hideaway.
Weil will not be the right fit for every candidate. It is important to remember that the application process is an opportunity to determine if Weil will support your career aspirations and interests. At Weil, we have a smaller trainee intake, giving our trainees greater exposure to high-quality work and supporting faster development. As a trainee, you will begin the work of understanding how clients operate and think. You will start to learn the elemental building blocks of how processes fit together, be that on financing, disputes or deals. You will move from focusing on the micro problems to beginning to understand the broader picture of how our work supports our clients’ goals. At Weil, we put our lawyers in the spotlight and have invested significantly in ensuring that our trainees are well supported to take on this responsibility.