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Sarah Tucker is the emerging talent specialist at DWF LLP, based in Manchester. She has been at the firm since December 2017.
How did you end up in law?
I worked as a legal recruitment consultant after university. I chose to specialise in law because I had considered becoming a lawyer myself and I thought it would be an interesting sector. I didn’t initially enjoy the sales aspect of the role, but I loved working with the candidates and learning about the different areas of law. Not long after, I obtained my first role in graduate recruitment at a ‘magic circle’ firm and the rest is history!
What are the most/least enjoyable aspects of recruiting?
I enjoy developing relationships with our candidates. We have a long recruitment process and it’s extremely rewarding to be able to help someone through their journey, from meeting them at an open day through to the final stage of our recruitment process.
What is the biggest challenge of the job?
While I enjoy the buzz of campus season, the travel can get quite tiring at times – particularly as we are a very small team.
What has been your most memorable moment in the job?
Making verbal training contract offers to candidates alongside our managing partner and CEO, Andrew Leaitherland, has been really special. It is so refreshing to have someone in that position so heavily involved in the recruitment of trainees. I think this is a real differentiator.
Do you socialise with your trainees/vac scheme students?
Generally speaking we are a very sociable business. We have various social events throughout our vacation scheme and we also host events for our future trainees so that they can get to know each other and the business before they start their training contract. For example, this spring we had a very successful bowling event. We also hold qualification dinners for our newly qualified trainees.
What are you trying to achieve at law fairs?
The purpose of our attendance at law fairs is twofold. First, as with all firms, they help us to increase our brand awareness. Second, they give students the opportunity to learn more about us before applying. A great outcome for us is leaving the fair feeling that because of our attendance we will have lots of applications from students that have demonstrated a genuine interest in DWF.
What's the best question you’ve been asked at a fair?
There are too many to choose from! That said, I would say that any question that demonstrates that someone has done some previous research into the business is great. For example, “I understand that a high number of your trainees undertake a client secondment. How does that process work in practice?"
How important is your vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?
Our vacation scheme is a critical part of our recruitment process. While it varies year-on-year, we tend to recruit the majority of our trainees through the scheme. We would therefore recommend that individuals apply for this route as opposed to the direct training contract route if possible. The vacation scheme is also the best way for candidates to find out whether we are right for them. Our students sit in two different practice areas during the scheme and they attend a series of practice group talks and social events, experiencing our work, values and culture first hand.
What is the most common mistake you see candidates making, apart from the obvious typos?
At every stage of the process we see candidates simply not answering questions, which sounds basic but is very true. We completely understand how nerve-wracking video and face-to-face interviews can be, but it is so important to listen to the question. Whenever we are giving candidates recruitment advice we always stress that it is absolutely fine to take a moment to think about what the question is asking before diving in with an answer.
What are the attributes you look for in a trainee that are particularly suited to your firm?
As an innovative legal business that is always changing, it is important that our trainees are commercially minded, embrace change and can demonstrate adaptability and flexibility. One of our values is “be better together”, so the ability to work well in a team is also crucial.
What is the biggest challenge facing would-be lawyers today?
I think the biggest challenge is keeping up with technology. At DWF, we embrace the move towards increased use of technology. Our connected services division offers a range of products such as DWF Draft, which is an automated contract drafting solution. We also recently launched a knowledge transfer partnership in conjunction with the University of Manchester, which will help us to strengthen our proposition in the realms of legal tech, machine learning and AI to enhance service delivery and develop further innovative solutions for our clients.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of joining the legal profession?
Get the most out of every experience. Maximise your knowledge by asking questions at every opportunity – whether that is at a law fair, an open day or an internship. You will never truly understand what a firm is like simply by looking online or at brochures.
What is one key fact that you expect candidates to know about your firm?
We brand ourselves as a legal business and not a law firm. This is due to our ability to offer a range of non-legal value add services through our connected services division, in addition to the traditional legal offering.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Crime fiction.View DWF LLP's details