Danielle White is the senior graduate recruitment and development manager at Mayer Brown. She is based in London and has been at the firm for almost five years.
Yes, we are attending a number of events including the Legal Cheek and AllAboutLaw law fairs. Students should visit our website to see all the events that we will be attending. We will also be running a number of virtual events throughout the year.
There will be both a spring and summer vacation scheme in 2021. Although we ran a successful virtual summer vacation scheme this year, we are hoping that we will be able to run the 2021 vacation schemes in person.
Helping people develop is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. In five years at Mayer Brown, I have recruited great trainees whom I’ve watched go on to qualify at the firm, and to see that ongoing development is so rewarding. Offering training contracts to candidates at the end of a long recruitment process is an equally brilliant feeling.
All the assessments, bar a final 20-minute interview, take place before the vacation scheme starts, meaning that candidates can focus on getting involved in real work while they are here. Live work matters form the heart of the scheme, which we supplement with personal brand training, networking breakfasts and evening activities that help candidates get to know people at all levels of seniority across the firm. This broad exposure enables candidates to get a sense of what Mayer Brown is really like and whether it is right for them.
We understand that a vacation scheme is not an option for everyone, so we also provide the option to apply for a training contract directly. This year we will be running our assessment centres for training contract and vacation scheme applicants in parallel, so there is a level playing field. All assessment centres in 2021 will take place virtually.
However, I urge interested candidates to apply for the vacation scheme if they can. Our supervisors understand that the vacation scheme is an incredibly important part of the recruitment process for both the candidates and the firm, and work hard to ensure that candidates gain exposure to live work and the reality of being a trainee at Mayer Brown. For all these reasons, we often recruit 70-80% of trainees through the vacation scheme. However, this is not a fixed quota. Our recruitment is always dependent on the quality of applications coming through both routes.
We can train candidates in all the technical skills, but what we cannot teach is attitude. We are looking for people who are driven, hardworking and effective team players. Our lawyers work in small teams and trainees take on work directly from partners, so strong collaborative skills are important. Resilience is also key – being a lawyer is a rewarding career, but no one will tell you that it is easy.
Depth and substance. When candidates come to an assessment day, I can always tell when someone has scanned the firm’s website but has not made the effort to dig deeper, for example by speaking to people at the firm to understand the work that we do. In such a competitive field, this really matters.
I recommend doing some basic research into the firm before you speak to us at a law fair. Many of our conversations with students revolve around basic information about the firm and the kind of work it does. If you come to a law fair with a couple of specific questions, having already read up on the basics, such as which work areas the firm is strong in and the size of its trainee cohort, you will get much more out of the interaction. What's more, the person at the firm is more likely to remember your conversation.
A night on the sofa with my daughter, watching a Disney film.