Yohanna, Early Careers & Development Manager shares her top tips for securing a vacation scheme (4 min read)

The vacation scheme application is your first opportunity to demonstrate your interest, enthusiasm, and potential for a career at Weil. Yohanna, Early Careers & Development Manager, shares her advice on applying for a vacation scheme at the firm…

Prospective candidates often ask how they can stand out in their vacation scheme application – the answer is research!

You are in the spotlight at Weil. As a trainee, you will typically be taking on client work in a lean three-person team, with just an associate and partner. We are looking for applicants with the skills and engagement to thrive in a culture that emphasises responsibility and exposure, within an environment that is tirelessly supportive. Our team takes on both recruitment and trainee development, so you will receive consistent support from your first careers fair to the end of your training contract.

In your vacation scheme application, it is essential that you:

  • Submit a tailored application explaining why you want a career in commercial law, and why you want to work at Weil specifically. You will only achieve this by taking time to carefully research the firm, our practice areas, culture, and approach. Successful applicants demonstrate that they know Weil well and are committed to a career in law.
  • Demonstrate that you have the skills to be a successful trainee. During your research, try to identify the core skills that our trainees use in their day-to-day work. It is important to include all your experience. Law-based work experience is great, but part-time work, university societies or online work experience, such as our virtual experience programme, equally demonstrates your potential.
  • Show off your commercial awareness. Weil lawyers become trusted business advisors with an understanding of the commercial environment and industry that their clients operate in. Our trainees develop an international understanding of trends in the legal, economic, technological, environmental, and political spheres which implicate a client’s business. Of course, we do not expect you to have this level of understanding yet, but we are looking for a demonstration of interest and engagement in how global trends could impact the work of Weil’s lawyers and clients. 

There is no one type of Weil trainee; we want to recruit diverse people and personalities.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give is to be yourself. We are committed to finding the best and brightest talent, and that means diverse people and personalities. This commitment is embedded in our foundations. We honour this legacy today in our work to build an employee-employer lifecycle, from recruitment to progression, that is inclusive to all.

Breaking down the vacation scheme application…

Stage 1: Online application form

Double-check that you have fully understood and answered every question. As described above, tailor your answers to Weil and include all your work experience. Accurate spelling and grammar are essential, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to proofread.

Stage 2: Pre-recorded video interview

This is where the enthusiasm comes in. You will be asked two questions - one motivational and one commercial. Prepare for a video interview in the same way as a face-to-face interview; make sure you can recall your work experience, have researched the firm, and have engaged in developing your commercial awareness. Dress smartly and make sure your background is appropriate. We recognise that a pre-recorded video interview is not the most natural thing to do. If you lose your train of thought, do not panic! This happens in conversations all the time, take a second, collect your thoughts, and carry on with the interview. It is about the quality and content of your answers rather than how you come across on camera. Finally, before you start the video interview you will have the chance to complete a practice question, which you can use as many times as you like.

Stage 3: Virtual face-to-face interview, an in-tray exercise and trainee Q&A

The types of questions you can expect in the interview are motivational, competency-based and commercial. You will also want to consider the key skills a trainee needs and how you can demonstrate these through your previous experiences. You should keep up to date with relevant news as you may be asked about current trends within our industries - or significant deals that Weil is, or has recently been, involved in. We would also recommend preparing a few questions you would like to ask the interviewers. After your interview, you will be asked to complete a short in-tray exercise that assesses some of the key skills we look for in our trainees. These essential skills include working under pressure, good written communication, time management, prioritisation, and attention to detail. You are not required to prepare for this in advance as full instructions will be given on the day. After your interview and the in-tray exercise, we will arrange for you to meet one of our trainees, giving you the chance to ask questions. Finally, we want to get to know you throughout the interview, so be yourself! If you are successful after the interview and in-tray exercise you will be offered a vacation scheme placement.

The vacation scheme is a fun, well-supported insight into what trainee life is like at Weil, with hands-on experience, real trainee work on live deals, and the chance to grow your professional network. You will also take part in a number of assessments and be interviewed for a training contract position.

Additional support and adjustments

If you need any additional support or require any adjustments to be made to help you perform at your best, please speak to a memeber of the team at early.careers@weil.com or on 020 7903 1000. A few examples could include, providing the application form in a different format i.e. a Word document, conducting your pre-recorded video interview over Zoom or the telephone or allowing extra time to complete the in-tray exercise.

The Early Careers team will be running a number of application workshops throughout the year. CLICK HERE for more information and to register to attend.

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