Maria Volkova is the legal talent recruitment adviser at Cooley. She joined the firm in September 2019.
We run Meet Cooley insight days twice a year. One takes place in December (which will be virtual in 2020) and is aimed at students interested in and at the right stage to apply for the upcoming summer programme. We also have an event for students at an earlier stage in their studies, which normally takes place in the Spring.
Our summer programme consists of two two week-long placements with five places available on each, so the groups are relatively small. On the programme, candidates experience real trainee tasks across a variety of practice areas in both the business and litigation departments. We also provide valuable feedback so that candidates get the most out of the work they have done, and there are workshops and presentations to help participants connect to a wide range of Cooley lawyers and get a feel for the wider firm.
We also want people to create their own experiences and encourage students to actively seek out work and approach lawyers in practice areas that interest them. Our lawyers are happy to talk to participants and share more about their department over a coffee.
Yes, because we have a very small intake of four trainees a year, we recruit exclusively through the summer programme. Training and qualifying with us is a commitment for both the candidates and the firm, so it is important to make the decision based on first-hand experience.
There is a section in our brochure called ‘Are you Cooley?’ which I recommend people interested in the firm read and consider carefully, ensuring that their application form reflects these qualities. Among other skills, we are looking for a mix of initiative, problem solving ability, evidence of collaboration and lots of enthusiasm.
Absolutely, not least because the ability to successfully balance studying with a job demonstrates a good work ethic and good time management, as well as other transferable skills. Extracurricular activities should also be included – it is great to see that candidates have actively contributed their valuable time to a wide variety of other pursuits at university in addition to studying.
It is important to dig deeper than our brochure and the homepage of our website if you want to stand out. But don’t do impressive research for your application and then forget about it – or simply copy and paste a quote from one of our partners. If you have written about something in your application, be prepared to talk about it at the assessment day.
The assessment centre is part of the process of gaining a place on the summer programme. It takes place over a half day and involves opportunities to network as well as a case study with potential interviews in the afternoon with a range of lawyers at the firm.
Campus law fairs are a chance for students to find out information that is not necessarily available online. Think about what you really want to know about the firm. As law fairs go virtual in 2020, my advice is to make sure your video and sound set-up is ready and tested and try not to hide your camera screen - we still want to meet you!
Be aware that being part of a small intake means that trainees are exposed to more responsibility and are likely to experience more client interaction than might be the case in a larger intake. You will need a can-do attitude and a willingness to get involved.
Binge watching true crime series on Netflix.