Applying for a training contract with Fox Williams begins with an application for our vacation schemes, as this is the only way we recruit our trainee solicitors. We believe this is an important process for us as well as any prospective trainee solicitors.

Kicking things off

You must first complete our online application form which can be found here. Each application is carefully read and considered on its own merits. Supporting our commitment to creating a more diverse workforce, we also use a contextual grade rating system when reviewing academic performance, developed by our social mobility partner upReach, called REALrating.

We will then ask successful candidates to complete an online verbal analysis assessment.

After reviewing both the online application scoring and verbal analysis results, we will select candidates to complete an online video interview, which will be assessed by senior lawyers.

When all of the above stages are complete, we will invite a final highest scoring group of 12 – 14 candidates to join one of our one-week vacation schemes. While we hope these will be in our office, we may need to change to our virtual format.

You must be available to take part in all elements of our selection process to be considered for a training contract.

Vacation scheme

Typically, our in-person vacation schemes are a week long and our virtual vacation schemes last for three days. Both will give you an insight into what it is like to be a trainee solicitor with us. The vacation scheme is a friendly process where you will be exposed to different elements of the firm and work with your fellow vacation schemers to complete various projects. You will sit in two of our departments and get an opportunity to speak with your potential colleagues as well as our current trainees who have sat exactly where you are.

Following the vacation scheme we will decide who we will be offering training contracts to. However, whether successful or not, we want to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors has a fantastic experience that they can learn from. Your feedback following the scheme will be concise, and hopefully, helpful for your journey.

What next?

If you have been successful and have been awarded a training contract, we will be in constant contact ensuring that you feel a part of the firm, until you join with us full-time. This is primarily through regular social events, however our graduate recruitment team will be an email/phone call away if there is anything you need.

My Application Experience

Claire Bowler
Applications, applications, applications

My journey to applying to Fox Williams for a vacation scheme was a long one. When I first started to pursue a career in law, I just applied to all the law firms to which my friends were already applying. This meant my applications were under-researched and impersonal. Over time I started to actively think about what kind of law firm I wanted to work at and what I most wanted to prioritise as an applicant:

I came across Fox Williams in my research and discovered that its smaller size meant I would get more responsibility and one-to-one training as a trainee whilst not sacrificing high-calibre work and highly interesting clients. I also had a keen interest in IP and more niche sectors like fashion law, which made Fox Williams an ideal firm for me. Outside work, I play hockey and teach spin and the firm really understands the importance of your life outside the office and actively encourages it.

The application process

I applied for the vacation scheme at Fox Williams whilst I was still studying the LPC in January 2020. This involved answering three questions around what makes me stand out, current awareness, and the firm’s culture.

My top tips:

  • Look at what makes you different and how that relates to Fox Williams and its Values;
  • Look for individual insights into the firm’s culture (both to demonstrate your interest in your application but also to see if the firm is right for you); and
  • Ask your friends to proofread your application and to gain insight as to how you come across in your answers.

If you are one of the top 40 applicants, the next stage is a verbal analysis test which tests your ability to analyse bodies of text of varying lengths and complexity and answer simple questions around their content. Take your time on the questions and make sure you do some practice tests in advance (there are so many  available online). I’d recommend immediately doing a test before taking the real one to get your brain thinking analytically.

The next stage (pre-Covid) was to meet the Partners at the firm in a more informal setting for drinks and a get-to-know-you chat. However, I received my email saying I had got through to the next stage the day after the UK went into a national lockdown, so this was somewhat off the table!

Vacation Scheme

Fast-forward to January this year, the pandemic and the firm’s business had settled down enough for me to be invited to a virtual vacation scheme alongside some of the other top applicants from the same pool.

This involved a jampacked two days ( a necessary adjustment due to lockdown restrictions, typically these are 1 week long and in the office)  involving departmental tasks, insights into the firm and meeting the partners.

Departmental tasks: we were set tasks by two different departments which replicated the type of work we would do as a trainee. For example, for my Dispute Resolution task I had to mark up a court form and answer questions around court processes and for my Corporate task I had to research what corporate authorities were needed for a specific transaction. We had a day to spend on each of these and were given plenty of reference tools to help with our research. The current trainees were really supportive and were happy to assist with any questions or clarifications. My top tip: use the legal guidance tools!

Insight talks: these ranged from (virtual) tours of the office from the firm’s facilities manager to talks from two associates on what an average day looks like for them. For me, these talks showed just how friendly and down-to-earth people at Fox Williams are and cemented my knowledge that Fox Williams was the right fit for me.

Meeting the partners: instead of drinks with the partners we did a ‘speed dating’ session whereby we had 10-minute sessions to chat with a partner one-one-one. This is a vital part of the vacation scheme as it is an opportunity to really show your personality and your interest in the firm. My top tip:!Forget the nerves and be yourself.

Mock arbitration tribunal: we were given this task the day before the vacation scheme started so we had a few evenings in which to prepare. This involved reading through a large bundle of documents before presenting our argument on the last day to the head of arbitration, Peter Ashford. I found this prospect slightly terrifying – but I prepared and practised extensively and was pleased with my performance on the day. My top tip: know the contents of the documents – you will be asked questions outside of the argument you have prepared!

All in all, I found the vacation scheme challenging but informative and it left me wanting to work at the firm even more.

The results are in

The following week I received a phone call from the HR team to give me some feedback on my performance in the vacation scheme and at the end of this phone call, I was offered my place on the training contract starting in March 2021.

I duly accepted (and tried not to cry and/or scream before hanging up) and ran around the house excitedly for the next hour before ordering pizza and fizz to celebrate!

I have now been at the firm for nearly eight months, and I am currently in my second seat. It’s been a whirlwind of a year but one I’m really glad happened, but most of all I’m really glad I clicked send on my Fox Williams application way back in January 2020.


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