Linklaters ditches traditional training contract application to save students time

By on

New online skills assessment will slash submission time from five hours to 90 minutes, says magic circle firm

Linklaters has today announced it has done away with its standard application and selection process, following feedback the firm received.

Links’ traditional training contract and vac scheme application form will instead be replaced with an online skills assessment that the magic circle member claims will cut submission time down from up to five hours to under 90 minutes. The redesign, which was made in partnership with assessment provider Capp, is being rolled out across the UK and Asia and is now live for winter vac scheme applications.

The firm says the new approach will test applicants’ critical thinking and future Linklaters lawyer potential from the first stage of the recruitment process. It is hoped the tech-driven platform will widen and diversify Links’ pool of applicants by taking the emphasis off traditional assessment criteria such as education and background.

Candidates will work their way through six “realistic scenarios” and “behavioural skills-based” tasks called “tiles”. Each tile will have a different set of information and questions associated with it, giving the applicant insight into the type of work they would likely undertake as a trainee. Projects will range from supporting different deals to completing training with new colleagues.

A screenshot of Linklaters’ new online skills assessment
The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Commenting on the new initiative, Alison Wilson, graduate recruitment partner at Linklaters, said:

“We want to recruit the very best candidates from any location and to do that we have switched the focus on to asking applicants, from the very first step in the selection process, to show us their ability to take on the typical challenges of a trainee lawyer and demonstrate their critical thinking.”

She added: “We are looking for team players with the raw talent to think creatively and demonstrate an aptitude for answering legal questions rather than the typical focus on education and qualifications.”

This isn’t the first tech-infused initiative led by Linklaters. The global firm, which offers 100 training contracts each year, more than any other UK law firm, revamped its training contract offer letter earlier this summer in a bid to gain an edge over its graduate recruitment rivals. Linklaters graduate recruitment partner Finn Griggs said there had been “an uplift in the speed of response to the new offer letters” at the time.

Today’s news follows the firm’s recent “virtual reality” legal internship aimed at giving students free insight into the life of a magic circle lawyer.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub



Is a training contract application not worth a few hours of focused writing?

If the length of the application form puts you off, commercial law might not be the best career option.



Linklaters don’t care how committed you are. It’s a process factory long as trainees stay until 1PQ they are fine.



Agreed. Links is a sweatshop white collar factory where the only thing that counts is the leverage ratio of gimps to equity partners. As long as the underpaid gimps churn the work, the partners stay fat and the circle of life continues. Most NQs stay around for 12-24 months, then fuck off.


Honest, reasonable man.

Whilst it definitely is a bit sweaty, it offers something like 100 training contracts a year. It keeps 75-90% of them PQ. To turn around and say that ‘most of them fuck off’ at 1PQE means that you’d have around 40 of the 80 or so Linklaters trainees leave after only one year, every year. This isn’t the case. At all.

Goodness me, the quality of the comments here leaves a lot to be desired.


Former paralegal

It is true actually. Most do tend to fuck off mostly at 3PE-5PE however. I used to paralegal at Links


Well, seems like not enough people have the psychopathic desire to work 14 hour days forever.

The spice must flow



Next measure: closing down the firm to save everyone’s time



Should do the same with your uni tbh



Or apply to a US firm, quick cover letter, turn up and have a natter with a couple of partners and then do a vac scheme.



Bar a handful of US firms with a very small London presence, that has not been the process for US firms for years



It’s one hour after the Cherry judgment has been handed down in Scotland. How does LC not have a report on this yet? LC tries to be a legal news website……but fails once again.



What’s the NQ salary for a Scottish judge?


Judicial Applican't

And have the Scottish judicial appointments board hired a marketing agency to improve the visual appearance of their offer letters? Have they streamlined the whole process so it can be completed on an app with nominal effort? These are the big questions.


Great lad

So stupid. Links playing all these games because they can’t compete with the US firms for top grads anymore



Exactly. Linklaters is recruiting like its a bloody summer camp or something. God knows what trainees will end up there.



This is exactly the sort of thing which will work to the advantage of humourless careerists whilst disadvantaging rounded individuals with a personality. The ability to perform basic professional tasks is something which should be expected of someone who has gone through a two year training contract; it should not be a prerequisite for finding people with the aptitude to go through that training contract.





Links Associate

What a joke. Not sure WTF HR/graduate recruitment are doing lately – they clearly have too much time on their hands and money to waste. The “realistic scenarios” and “behavioural skills-based” tasks in the online assessment are so contrived and require absolutely zero legal or commercial thinking to complete – you don’t even have to read the scenario or understand it to answer the questions…

I’m already instructing far too many dud trainees. This will only increase that.


What’s the current pay at Shook Hardy & Bacon? I crave to join their private funds team.


Truth speaker

Slaughters must be laughing at these games. Quite clearly Links is failing to attract the top graduates they desire by traditional means and so are resorting to these games. Quite sad really.


Legal beaver

So many bitter ppl on here yes law is hard and boring at times but why make it misreble for the newbies let them have their own experiences.u ppl Gona turn out to be miserable old men and women. Wait scratch that u already are.


Penis Pump

Just to clarify – if you pass the test, do you go straight to interview?

Or do you then have to fill out an application form etc.

Mischons does the latter



Posting your CV with a short covering letter takes much less than 90 minutes and is just as effective on both sides (then followed up by an interview if they like what they say). Why not just revert to that? It worked for over 100 years.


On a gap yaaaahhhhhh

Imagine if they had this to get into Oxbridge. Scenarios would go something like

1) How to toady up to firms at law firms
2) Pennying at formal
3) Chatting out your rear in supervisions
4) Spotting quality drugs

Ad infinitum, etc etc



Thats what I thought too. What if, for example, I am good at logical thinking and other elements of their test, but dont know much about the firm and its clients and applying there just for the sake of applying? Or what if I am not the right cultural fit based on my career aspirations? These things most likely will be spotted at the interview, but isnt the point of this new process to reduce the number of unsuitable candidates?


Comments are closed.

Related Stories