Mona Rangar is the recruitment manager at Ropes & Gray. She is based in London and joined the firm in Spring 2019.
Although I have 10 years of experience in legal graduate and lateral recruitment, I’m still relatively new to the graduate recruitment team at Ropes & Gray and I have enjoyed the opportunity to be creative with partners, associates and current trainees in how we approach trainee recruitment going forward as the firm hits its 10-year anniversary this year.
As part of our evolving strategy, this year we will be doing a series of targeted talks on campuses, geared toward encouraging students to apply for our vacation scheme.
We made the decision last year to recruit exclusively from vacation schemes. This is because we want all candidates to be subject to the same robust process and be assessed against the key skills and competencies we are looking for in our trainees. Attending a vacation scheme also allows the candidate to gain a real understanding of the culture and what it’s like to be a trainee at the firm.
Commerciality, critical analysis skills and a strong work ethic are all important qualities. We are also looking for candidates who demonstrate their collaboration and teamwork skills, which requires impeccable communication, decision making and emotional intelligence.
Absolutely, any non-legal work experience will serve you well. It always involves key transferable skills, whether that be client service, teamwork or working autonomously – all are examples that reinforce your skillset.
It is very important. Trainees are given responsibility and encouraged to manage their careers from day one, which explains the great care we take in our selection process – and we expect candidates to take it seriously, too. We are looking for candidates who are clear about wanting to join us and have clear reasons for doing so.
Commerciality is all about thinking holistically. What does a client’s legal problem or transaction mean on an economic and financial level? A key aspect of the entrepreneurial mindset that we look for – and which our clients expect – is an interest in the bigger picture – the economic, financial and political context. That doesn’t mean we expect you to have all the answers, it’s more about showing that you are interested and always learning. Regularly reading the FT, for example, is a good way to start placing law firms and their clients within a wider context.
We are looking for trainees who are excited to build something new and who are motivated to learn new things and gain new experiences. That means being adaptable as the firm goes through a period of sustained growth, so my advice for candidates starting out in their careers is to try to be flexible and open-minded about where your path will take you once you begin your training contract. It is also good to keep in mind when you are applying.
Colombia – I would love to see Latin America.