Jessica Morgan (she/her) is the graduate recruitment adviser at Hogan Lovells. Jessica is based in the London office and has been at the firm for two years.
Last year’s milkround was a great experience. It was a bit of a baptism of fire because I’d come from a relatively small firm and Hogan Lovells has a considerably bigger cohort of trainees. Milkround comprises a number of events and it’s really enjoyable to get to know students from around the country. We have about 15 target universities but overall, we do more than 100 events virtually and in person each year.
We run three vacation schemes – two three-week summer vacation schemes which take place in June to July and July to August. We also run a two-week winter scheme that normally takes place across the first two weeks in December. These schemes are now all in person and we have around 20 to 25 students on each one.
The vacation schemes are important because we recruit the majority of our trainees through them. We get to know the students really well throughout their time at the firm. It’s also a great way for candidates to get a understanding of the firm, helping them to make a more informed and confident decision when it comes to accepting a training contract offer.
That said, we do offer a direct training contract route too – around 15% of our training contract offers go to direct training contract applications.
The vacation schemes involve a real mix of activites, including workshops, case studies and networking opportunities with trainees, associates and partners.
The main focus of the scheme, however, is to get vac schemers involved with live work. They’ll have the chance to experience two practice areas across the two torthree weeks and will be allocated a trainee buddy for each group, as well as a supervisor and partner who will give them their work. Our vac schemers are fully integrated into their teams and are regularly invited to team socials and involved in real-life work within the team.
There are several key skills that we’re looking for during the application process and on the vacation scheme. One of the biggest skills we want to see is sound commercial awareness – clients want their lawyers to be trusted advisers and so it’s important that candidates are comfortable speaking the language of the clients.
We’re also looking for communication and personal skills. Candidates must show that they can integrate well into a team, talk to supervisors and trainees, and get the most out of all conversations. Good verbal and written communication skills are key to being a successful lawyer.
Hogan Lovells wants excellent team players and people who can build relationships. There will be opportunities throughout the vacation schemes to work on presentations and group projects, which is a great chance to showcase these skills.
Candidates must also showcase resilience. We don’t shy away from the fact that a career as a lawyer can sometimes be difficult and we recognise that to be successful, candidates must be resilient.
We, along with five other firms, are part of the City Consortium and will be introducing the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) from September 2022. As such, all future trainees will take the City Consortium training programme to prepare them for the SQE assessments, as well as for a career in City law and at Hogan Lovells.
We have a separate diversity and inclusion (D&I) function which reports direct to the firm’s CEO. Our D&I strategy is focused on accountability, processes, recruitment and retention, culture and clients.
In terms of our recruitment process, we want to ensure a diverse stream of applicants and trainees. To do this, we have several methods in place, including the Rare contextual recruitment system. We also participate in various widening access schemes, which involve reaching out to school, college and university-age students who wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in law.
In terms of firm-wide D&I initiatives, we have various diversity networks which aim to ensure we are delivering on our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
It’s easy to think we’re looking for specific examples on the competency-based questions, so candidates often fall into the trap of writing what they think we want to see, as opposed to mentioning examples that are relevant to the question.
My advice, even if candidates think that the example they have is slightly unusual or doesn’t relate to law, is to include it if it answers the question. Some of our best answers are from students who have more unusual
At the application and interview stage, it’s incredibly important for us, that candidates have researched the firm. On the flip side, it’s also crucial that candidates research the firm for themselves because it’s somewhere they might end up spending a large chunk of their time, so they need to be sure that we’re right for them.
Candidates aren’t expected to know everything about the firm but by the interview stage, they should be able to confidently discuss the practice areas they’re interested in and why they want to work for Hogan Lovells.
Yes, our assessment centres include a partner interview, situational interview and networking opportunities with trainees. The assessment centres for vacation schemes are run virtually through TopScore.
Yes, we’ll be attending our target university law fairs and our main aim is to meet as many students who are interested in Hogan Lovells as possible. Due to the pandemic, there’ve been a few years where we’ve been unable to meet people in person and we’ve really missed that aspect of law fairs. The feedback from students is that they’ve missed it too so we’re really looking forward to meeting people again.
I’d encourage candidates to research the firm to make sure it’s the right place for them to develop their career. Secondly, if you’re really committed to a career at Hogan Lovells, try to attend as many events as possible. We have a separate section on our application form that’s designed to give candidates the space to list all the events they’ve been to, which will help to showcase their interest in commercial law. These events, which include insight days, workshops, law fairs, are great opportunities to meet the firm and find out as much as you can ahead of submitting your application.
Dr Who or Stranger Things.