Last Updated: 20 February 2020
The application and interview process at DLA Piper is as follows:
Note: the above applies to Training contract positions in England. Candidates applying to positions in Scotland will not have a first interview and will advance directly to the assessment centre.
Summer Scheme Route
Candidates who complete a Summer Scheme with DLA Piper are automatically considered for a Training Contract. To secure a summer placement, candidates will complete the online application form, and will then be invited to either an interview or a mini assessment day, depending on the location. During the second week of the Summer Scheme, students complete the Assessment Centre activities, just as those applying for the Training Contract directly. Successful candidates may secure a Training Contract by the end of their Summer Scheme placement.
In addition to standard biographical details and education/work history, the DLA Piper application form asks a series of specific free-text questions designed to see if you have what it takes to become a part of the firm. These include questions about why you want to work as a lawyer, why you chose to apply to DLA Piper, why that location in particular) and also questions about your own experiences (describe an unusual situation you have found yourself in, what are your hobbies or interests)
You will also need to include 2 references (one academic, one work-related), and a complete breakdown of all marks for all the modules and courses you have studied.
Note: DLA Piper does not begin screening applications until after the deadline has passed.
This interview will last about 30 minutes and will be mainly competency based
This interview is your opportunity to show the Partners how well you have researched the company, and how commercially aware you are. Brush up on the firm's global or high profile clients, large mergers or deals that they have been involved in, and fundamentally key principles or ideals that underpin the business. Know about the structure of your firm, senior partners, CEO's or chairmen, and finally, learn about any initiatives or key projects that have run in the given catchment area, e.g. commitment to corporate social responsibility (fund-raising, sponsorship, etc.). All this research will indicate a commitment to the firm, which combined with your personal attributes, is what they are looking for.
At some point during the day you will complete two written exercises. These are unique to DLA Piper and will likely test your professional writing skills and ability to process information under pressure.
You will also be asked to prepare a three-minute presentation on anything of your choice. Speak clearly and confidently, and make sure that your presentation has a logical structure to it despite the short length of time.
TIP: The point of this exercise is to test your communication and presentation skills, and not your knowledge of any particular subject. It is not necessary to try to impress interviewers by choosing something that you think they want to hear about. Pick a topic about which you are knowledgeable and passionate, and this will help you give a more engaging presentation.
You will also have lunch with current employees; a chance to do some networking and find out how you would fit into the company, and you will be given an individual tour of the office by a current graduate trainee, during which you will be able to ask any questions you may have at this stage.