The online application process for ‘Future Lawyer of the Year’ was fairly similar to a normal vacation scheme or training contract application process. The assessment process was carried out by the award’s sponsor, Allen & Overy. Apart from the usual personal details on application forms, there were two written questions. The first focused on testing commercial awareness and business acumen. The second was about applying a personal experience to general world problems. Both questions were fascinating and the short word limit meant you really had to get to the point while presenting a concise, coherent argument. Following this there was a situational judgement test and a personality-based scenario test. Both are fairly short, yet impossibly cryptic when it comes to working out how well you have done!
If you are successful, Allen & Overy offer an assessment day exactly as you would expect when applying for a vacation scheme or training contract. I think this is what is so good about the award – it is an unorthodox way into the notoriously prestigious and challenging Allen & Overy assessment day. I can assure you that this day lived up to its reputation!
The assessment day began with meeting some of the other candidates, of which there were four (the other five were being assessed at a different time). The day consisted of a commercial interview and a personality-based interview. The commercial interview was unlike anything I have experienced before and very hard to prepare for. The sheer amount of information and the limited preparation time made for a difficult hour. It was hard to assimilate and articulate my opinions within the time frame; I came out of the interview with a feeling reminiscent of many a worried online reviewer, whose assessment day feedback I had read before attending. Conversely, the inability to judge the outcome of the first interview was strangely comforting. In part, this is what gave me the confidence for the second interview, which followed a more ‘traditional’ structure. The day finished with an amazing office tour that really blew me away. Meeting people around the office and viewing the incredible facilities really made me want to work there.
After finishing, we went home to await the awards ceremony, which was some months later. I absolutely loved the experience but felt nothing would come of it. I had made the final and I was very proud of that. However, just a couple of days before the awards, a partner from Allen & Overy phoned me to offer me a training contract with the firm. As I later remarked to the partner, I must have come across like a rabbit in the headlights upon receiving the news!
The awards day was really good fun. We had some great food and got to meet lots of different people. Sitting next to an Allen & Overy partner at lunch, while also getting to talk to trainees from the firm was thoroughly enjoyable and informative. It only fueled my desire to get started at the firm. It’s safe to say this award was one of the best experiences of my life and something that will define my future.
My advice would be to simply give it a go. There is literally nothing to lose from doing this. At the very least, it is great practice for future assessments and the best-case scenario is that this will be the last legal assessment process you do. I cannot thank the TARGETjobs team enough for their determination in getting people to finish their applications. Almost everyone I have told about the award has said they will apply next time and I urge readers to do the same!