Lynne Walters - Bird & Bird
What is your job title?
Head of graduate recruitment and trainee development.
Where do you work (geographically speaking)?
Fetter Lane, London.
How did you end up in law?
I qualified as an HR professional and moved into law as HR manager at Bird & Bird.
What are your main responsibilities?
Trainee management and managing trainee transition to associate level.
Who is in your team?
We are a team of three - me, our manager, and our graduate and trainee assistant. A professional, energetic and happy team!
What are the most enjoyable aspects of recruiting?
The most enjoyable part is seeing someone progress from student to trainee, and then flourishing as a qualified lawyer and partner. The whole process is very engaging and there is never a dull moment!
What is the biggest challenge of the job?
Making sure we continue to review our processes to ensure that all applicants are considered fairly.
Do you socialise with your trainees/vac scheme students?
Yes, very much so. It's a great way for them to get to know us and vice versa in a more relaxed setting. In addition to the organised summer placement scheme events, the future trainees are invited to all the firm's social and sporting events that are going on prior to their joining the firm. The summer students are also invited to all the firm's social and sporting events during their placement.
What has been your most memorable moment in the job?
Seeing the first intake of trainees I'd recruited become partners!
Do you attend law fairs? Why is it important for students to attend?
For us, it's a great way of promoting the firm and talking to students about Bird & Bird. For the students, it's really important because they can meet members of the firm, including trainees. It is an excellent chance to get a feel for a firm, through talking to the people who actually work there and experience the work and culture every day.
What's the most annoying question you're asked by students?
When a student has no questions! If they are well prepared they should have two or three questions. If those questions have been answered during the interview, they should be able to ask secondary questions!
What do you look for in a candidate?
Our people are the single most important asset of the firm and the work is technically challenging, so we look to take on trainees who have diverse skills and experience and who have an interest in developing that experience further. They should consider themselves good team players who enjoy working together and are willing to get stuck in. They need to display tenacity and rigour, along with the ability to think creatively in order to respond to the challenges faced by the firm.
What is the most common mistake you see candidates making?
Typos and poor grammar. The best thing you can do is to get a fresh pair of eyes to look at your application. It is also important to be succinct and interesting. Remember that the firm receives a high number of applications firms and we have to review them all.
How should candidates approach you for feedback after an interview?
After the assessment day, we call everyone to let them know whether it's a yes or a no, and always offer to set up a separate phone call to give feedback to those who have been unsuccessful. The majority of people take us up on the offer and it's worth it to improve your assessment day and interview techniques for the future.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of joining the legal profession?
Think about your skill set and whether it is a good match for the legal profession. Think about what is important to you and then consider which firms would be a good match. Understand what being a legal professional will involve.
What makes your firm stand out from the rest?
What really sets us apart from other global law firms is our deep industry knowledge and international reach. Our lawyers are motivated by the challenging nature of the firm’s work and the enjoyment that comes from a diverse team working together.
If you could do something completely different, what would it be?
What's your guilty pleasure?
I have two - red wine and chocolate!View Bird & Bird's details