Might as well answer this post too! I applied for and interview at Linklaters last year (2008). I had two interviews after the application - first interview with an associate and second interview with a partner.
At both interviews questions concentrated on:
- Why Linklaters?
- Which other firms have you applied for?
- Why turn to law now? (I have had year out since graduation)
- What makes Linklaters different from other magic circle firms?
- Do you think international growth is important?
- What attracted me to Linklaters?
Both interviews and interviewers concentrated a lot on Linklaters. I think that they were trying to make sure that I really wanted them above all other magic circle firms.
Overall the interviewers were all very friendly - in fact, everyone I met was friendly. Everyone put effort into making sure that I was as relaxed as possible, seemed genuinely interested in why I wanted to work for Linklaters - they seemed outwardly proud of the firm’s achievements.
The second interview (With partner) included a critical thinking exam. I had 20 minutes to study info before the interview. During the interview the partner tested my understanding of this fictional case study situation and asked me to consider the commercial ramifications and make suggestions to a partner as to what we should do if presented with this case. He then asked me what I would invest in if I had 5 million. We discussed my time and university a little and a bit about my subject. He picked up on some things I mentioned I had seen in the papers recently and we talked about them. Generally felt more formal than the 1st interview.
I was also asked a couple of tough, thought provoking questions at interview:
Q1. If you were the managing partner at Linklaters and the interest rate increased, how would this affect your management of the firm?
(Answer focused on allocation of resources to different departments within the firm. Low interest rates generally leads to higher borrowing costs, possibly less Merger & Acquisition, most likely less IPO deals, more litigation, possibly bankruptcy, negative equity situation in HK economy etc. Give reasons with logical economic analysis)
Q2. If 2 planes crashed over certain airspace, what types of legal issues would arise?
(Answer included areas in criminal law, tort, and contract and in particular insurance policies etc. Being a commercial firm, tailored answer to focus on parties which would seek claim and parties capable of paying damages and legal costs as they are most likely potential clients of the firm)
The main thing they seemed to want to know at both interview was: would I be presentable to a client, would they want to work with me, and did I have commercial awareness.