Thursday, October 18, 2012

Undergraduate of the year awards: the application process

2012's Law Undergraduate of the year winner, Robin Morris talks us through the application process and sheds some tips. (part one) 

This second blog entry is aimed at outlining in more detail the application process for the Law Undergraduate of the Year Award 2013. Where possible, I’ll also give you some tips on how to approach each stage.

Step One: Full registration (From 1 October, 2012)
Full registration for the award is now open! At this point you should be researching the firm and be considering beginning research for the three application questions. Complete all the required fields with information about your name, date of birth etc.

Step Two: The Application Questions (Before 31 January, 2013)
This is the first real stage of the application process. You will be faced with three questions – chosen particularly by the judges at Mayer Brown – which will require three answers of around 500 words each. Be clear and concise in your writing and provide reasons and facts to back up any reasoning. The questions may relate to the impact of a particular piece of legislation on the legal market; the reason why you feel you should be named Law Undergraduate of the Year; or be open-ended about asking what challenges may be facing law firms today.

My two top tips: take the time to research your answers to all three questions well. If you can cite statistics from reports or well-known cases in a particular market this helps to demonstrate your knowledge and your readiness to engage with subject-matter of the questions. Even if you don’t know what you’re talking about at least make a decent effort to pretend that you do!

My second tip is to allow enough time to answer the questions. You shouldn’t be finishing the answers a couple of hours before the deadline. Write them, leave them, come back to them and review them. Do make sure that spelling and grammar are correct!

Step Three: The psychometric tests (Before 31 January, 2013)
The psychometric tests are aimed at providing the judges with an insight into your natural linguistic, numeric and situational reasoning skills. They take the form of three or four multiple choice tests which require the candidate to choose either one answer or to list a series of answers according to importance. You will also have a set time in which to complete the tests.

My top tip: don’t try to second guess the psychometric tests. They have been designed specifically to spot people who are being dishonest. Several books claim to be able to teach people how to answer psychometric tests. Whether this works or not, I don’t know, but I really don’t think it’s worth the bother. Be honest and take your time.

Next week Robin will be giving us two more vital tips. If you are interested about the awards and think you have what it takes take a look here.