Eleanor Beattie is the graduate recruitment and development manager at Trowers & Hamlins. She is based in the firm’s London office.
We are busy all year round so there is never a dull moment, but there are two aspects of the job that I find especially enjoyable. It is always lovely when the new trainees start each September and March – it’s a satisfying feeling as a recruiter to see people looking excited as they start their careers.
Another highlight is having enthusiastic, keen students come into the business for the summer vacation scheme. When candidates tell me that the reality has matched their expectations, it’s a good feeling. There is always a buzz in the office and the scheme really showcases what is great about the firm.
We run two schemes every summer in our London, Birmingham, Manchester and Exeter offices and recruit around 85% thirds of our trainees this way. We welcome direct applications too, but the vacation scheme is also important from another perspective, in that it is a two-way street that enables the candidate to decide whether we're the right firm for them. First-hand experience is the best way to get a sense of whether the culture, location and work are right for you.
The scheme is designed to show what working as a trainee is really like, so students are involved in live work most of the time, plus a handful of other exercises that provide a wider sample of the types of work that the firm does.
We're looking for commercially aware, dynamic candidates who are motivated by working with a variety of different people and have the drive to succeed.
We recruit individuals. We understand that everyone is unique and there is no blue print for the "perfect trainee", so we encourage you to tell us what your strengths are and what you think you can bring to the firm.
Candidates often don't answer the questions properly. Although lots of firms have similar questions, there will be slight nuances between them, so make sure you're answer really answers the question. Don't give a generic answer that isn't tailored to us.
One thing we don’t want candidates to do is reel off facts about the firm to show they have done their research. It goes without saying that researching a firm before applying is vital – how else would you become interested in working somewhere? We want to see that you have explored the work that Trowers does – again, not just in general terms. For example, is there a specific deal that we were involved in that you found interesting? A particular partner at the firm whose work you enjoyed reading about? My advice is to start with our website, but then look more widely at articles we have published, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter. I expect candidates to understand the firm's culture, the type of work we do and have an appreciation of the industries our clients work as a minimum.
Our assessment days are of course a formal part of our recruitment process, however we still want you to gain further insight into the firm. You'll hear from fee earners, graduate recruitment and have a trainee buddy for the day. You'll take part in a group task, written exercise and interview.
It varies, as many of the students we meet at law fairs are first years meeting firms for the first time, which is exactly what they should be doing. We don’t expect anyone to be an expert, but it makes for a much more beneficial conversation for the student if they have done a few minutes’ basic research into the firm and its main work areas – even if it’s out in the corridor before you come to our stand! Ideally I’d like students to ask us the questions that they wouldn't find out on our website.
Try to come and see us on campus or at an event we are hosting – there are quite a few throughout the year. Meeting people at the firm and getting first-hand information will make a huge difference to your application form.
I would be a child psychologist, as that is what I studied at university and I’m really interested in developmental psychology.