Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Eleanor Beattie
Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Eleanor Beattie is the graduate recruitment and development manager at Trowers & Hamlins. She is based in the firm’s London office.

What do you most look forward to in the recruitment process?

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.

How important is your vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?

We run two schemes every summer at our London, Birmingham, Manchester and Exeter offices and recruit perhaps two 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 what they think of the firm. First-hand experience is the best way to get a sense of whether the culture, location and work are right for you.

What kind of work do candidates experience during the vacation scheme?

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.

What key skills does your firm look for in candidates when they apply?

We are looking for commercially aware candidates who are interested in the work we do and whose experiences demonstrate an ability to work with a variety of different people.

What is the most common way that candidates let themselves down in their applications?

People answering the question they want to answer instead of the question on the application. Another is generic answers to questions that give applicants the opportunity to differentiate themselves and stand out, and set out why they want to train at Trowers. In your application, tell us about what has drawn you to the firm, for example, a specific practice area or the firm’s focus on diversity.

What key things about your firm should any good candidate know and be able to talk about?

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.

What should candidates expect at an assessment centre at your firm?

Our assessment centre includes a numerical and verbal reasoning test, a group exercise, a written exercise and a case study. Commercial awareness, teamwork, communication and negotiation skills are key.

Before speaking to you at a law fair, how much should a candidate have researched the firm?

It varies, as many of the students we meet at law fairs are first years meeting people from 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!

What advice would you give to anyone interested in a career at Trowers & Hamlins?

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.

What is your dream job (other than this one!)?

I would be a child psychologist, as that is what I studied at university and I’m really interested in developmental psychology.

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