Exclusive: Felt virtual assessments would not offer applicants same level of insight into trainee life
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has postponed its assessments for training contracts until early next year.
The US firm yesterday confirmed to Legal Cheek its decision to defer assessments for training contracts in its London office “until early 2021” in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Applications for its August 2022 training programme close in a fortnight, on 29 May 2020, and applicants were informed this week of the firm’s decision.
“We are very proud of our training programme in London and it is paramount that we get the best possible opportunity to meet and assess trainee applicants,” the firm said in an email seen by this website, and sent by online application portal Apply4Law. “Whilst we did consider moving to virtual assessments, we felt that these would not offer applicants the same insight into life as a trainee here, nor would it give applicants the best opportunity to demonstrate the skills and qualities that we look for in our trainees.”
The email was sent to students in the process of submitting an application to the firm so that they could plan accordingly. If they choose to continue ahead with their online application, “we will keep your application on file for review later this year”, the email explains, adding: “Alternatively, you may choose to apply for one of our 2021 Open Days, for which applications will open in October 2020.”
Orrick offers 12 training contracts in its London office each year. It does not offer vacation schemes, with candidates instead encouraged to apply for its open days.
Orrick typically runs four open days in the spring. A spokesperson said this year’s had been postponed in March due to the coronavirus. They added that the firm is looking to reschedule these days for the autumn, with assessments for direct training contract applications resuming shortly thereafter. Legal Cheek understands Orrick open days include a first round interview for a training contract at the firm.
Law firm assessment centres are typically conducted in-person to assess prospective trainees’ performance through interviews, as well as written and group exercises. Legal Cheek understands that some law firms have now moved their assessment centres online amid the virus pandemic.
A number of law firms have also moved to virtual vacation schemes. Four out of five of the magic circle quintet, for example, have switched to online offerings that aim to mirror the in-office experience but will be shorter than originally planned.
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