Holly Wray is a future trainee solicitor at Pinsent Masons. You can view her Linkedin here.D

How did you make yourself stand out in your Pinsent Masons application?

‘Not everyone would have had your experience with the firm and that relationship is what makes you different and memorable. I first encountered Pinsent Masons as an A Level student, and as they were the first firm I had encountered they shaped my idea of law firms.

It is important to show the firm how you fit their ethos. Pinsent Masons really care about who you are and why you would make a good addition to their team. Most of my experience was not in the legal sector, yet I was able to use these skills to show Pinsent Masons how I was an example of their core values. I knew that Pinsent Masons championed equality (they are the top firm in the Stonewall Equality Index!) and coming from a non-traditional legal background, I was able to illustrate to Pinsent Masons that I would fit their vision of the future.’

‘It was paramount that I showed to the firm that I had pursued them for some time…’

How did you show Pinsent Masons that you wanted to work for them over other firms?

‘This was particularly hard because I did not do a vacation scheme with the firm but applied directly for the training contract and had done a vacation scheme at another firm. I had to highlight how I had a more meaningful relationship with Pinsent Masons and that I was genuinely enthusiastic about the work they did, including what they did in the community. Pinsent Masons are advocates for diversity, which was important to me as a regular participant and mentor in widening participation schemes.

I had also taken part in a Pinsent Masons Deal Perspective Competition and attended many of their events. It was paramount that I showed to the firm that I had pursued them for some time and had taken the time to show a real interest in the firm, rather than just applying to lots of firms.’

‘It was far more casual and relaxed than I had expected from such a top tier firm. ‘

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What was the biggest misconception you had about the Pinsent Masons interview?

‘My biggest misconception was that the interview would be quite intimidating and that they would try to catch me out. However, this could not have been further from the truth. During the numerous interviews and case studies there were some tough questions, but all levels of management, from the partners to the trainees and even human resources, were genuinely interested in my ideas and well-being.

I felt that there were no such things as silly questions and what I thought would be an interview with was much more conversational than I had expected. From the moment I walked into the firm I was met with friendly faces. It was far more casual and relaxed than I had expected from such a top tier firm.’

What one piece of advice would you give aspiring lawyers who want to land a training contract at a firm like Pinsent Masons?

  • BE YOURSELF: You never truly know what a firm is looking for, just be true to who you are because you will present yourself much better than if you try to channel a persona. Equally, this is a two-way process – you are interviewing the firm as much as they are interviewing you. 
  • RESEARCH: Do research! I was asked an array of will business like questions such as ‘what is an institutional investor?’ and ‘how would a company build capital?’, so it is good to have a general overview of the common terms used in business.
  • EXPERIENCE: Pinsent Masons partners really wanted to know about me; such as why I went to Denmark for my year abroad and what I learned from hosting children’s parties. So always reflect on your experiences and show why everything you have done would make you a good lawyer, you will be surprised how your qualities can translate to the legal world.’