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Meet the recruiter

Denise Wright

Denise Wright

Denise Wright (she/her) is the early careers lead at Weightmans. She’s been at the firm for 14 years.

What are the most/least enjoyable aspects of recruiting?

It’s lovely to see people starting in their trainee roles and completing their induction, especially since we’ve been engaging with lots of the people throughout the process at open evenings and law fairs. We welcome our new cohort of trainees in September.

Does your firm run a vacation scheme?

We do run a vacation scheme but it’s different from most. Our paid in-person placement runs for one week in June, and applications are open to first year students onwards. Therefore, it isn’t tied into the trainee solicitor recruitment process, instead providing an opportunity to learn about the firm and gain some useful experience. The week includes training sessions on areas such as commerciality, innovation and finance, along with shadowing lawyers in the business.

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

We’re looking for focused and passionate individuals who can work well within our teams to deliver a fantastic service to our clients. When reviewing initial applications, we’re looking for a well-structured and in-depth answer that demonstrates a good level of commercial awareness. We blind mark applications and we don’t review areas such as work experience or extracurricular activities to make our recruitment process as accessible as possible. We don’t score A levels for graduates, as secondary education can be very dependent on where students go to school. We don’t look at the institution students go to for their degree for the same reason. Therefore, on the initial application, the only academics we score is the predicted or obtained degree mark.

How important is diversity and inclusion to your firm?

We place a large focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) at Weightmans with dedicated strands and champions throughout the business, including many of our trainee solicitors. We ensure our policies and procedures are inclusive and promote diversity through a whole calendar of training and events throughout the year. We want to ensure people can perform at their best, bringing their whole selves to work. From a recruitment perspective, D&I is at the centre of our application process, ensuring our roles are as accessible as possible. We want to cast our net as wide as possible to ensure we’re not limiting applications so we can keep finding fantastic candidates.

How important is commercial awareness and how can candidates show they have this skill in their applications?

Commercial awareness is very important. Our future solicitors need to understand how a law firm operates as a business, and to demonstrate this in the initial application. If you’ve reached the interview stage, we expect you to know about Weightmans – so that means finding out about what kind of business we are and the type of work we do and clients we have. Rather than reading the latest Economist, we’re looking for how people answer questions and if they assess situations with a business perspective.

Does your firm run an assessment centre?

We run online interviews with a partner and a member of the early careers team. If you’re successful at interview stage, you’ll be invited to an assessment centre at one of our offices.

You’d be with us for up to three hours and complete two activities − a group exercise and a written task. In the group exercise we assess how people interact and approach a problem together. We’re looking at how students work in a team, influence others and work together to achieve an outcome. The written exercise is in exam conditions and the topics will vary each year, but we’ll be assessing how you process information and construct an answer.

We provide online briefing sessions before the assessment centre so that you know what to expect on the day and how you can prepare. We want you to be as relaxed as possible perform at your best.

Does your firm attend university law fairs in the autumn term? What is your main objective when you go to a law fair?

When we go to law fairs, we’re not taking notes on the students we talk to; we’re there to answer questions. Of course, we attend law fairs to promote the business and our roles, but they’re a great opportunity for you to ask us questions and speak to our trainee solicitors. We want you to identify whether Weightmans is a firm that you’d enjoy working with.

At every law fair we go to, we’re committing to offer at least one place on a vacation scheme to someone we talk to on the day. It’s going to be our environmentally friendly version of a giveaway. At law fairs, we’ll be giving people we speak to a code that they can then put into the website when they apply for a vacation scheme.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in a career at your firm?

We run a lot of events, such as open evenings and law fairs, where we give prospective applicants the chance to engage with our people. I’d encourage you to make the most of those opportunities – ask questions and get a feel for the firm, so that you can decide whether Weightmans is the firm for you. You’ll always do better in the application process if you’ve got a good value alignment with the organisation. I’d also advise you to dedicate a good amount of time to writing your application and get someone else to read over it too. A lot of applicants lose marks for reasons that are avoidable, such as punctuation and grammar. Take time answering the open question, do your research and include your opinion because it’s heavily weighted.

What’s your favourite way to unwind from work?

I enjoy walking in North Wales at the weekend with my children.