Interview with William Cummings, Recruitment Manager at PwC

William Cummings is a Recruitment Manager at PwC. Here, he highlights the aspects of training at PwC Legal, and also the social side of working with the firm, with “drinks after work on a Friday not uncommon" (nice!). Read more below to find out what PwC expects from vacation scheme and training contract applications. 

  • Last updated Feb 11, 2018 9:06:10 AM
  • By Billy Sexton, Editor, AllAboutLaw.co.uk
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Unique Aspects

How many trainees do you take on a year at PwC? Do you take groups on yearly or every six months? What is the retention rate?

We take on 16 vacation scheme students each summer, who look to convert to a training contract, of which we have a maximum of 20 at any one time.

Do you offer international and/or client secondments at PwC? If so, which other countries can applicants head to for a seat?

We offer internal secondments to PwC LLP internationally, and within PwC Legal we offer seat opportunities in Dubai; client secondments are not as big a feature at PwC Legal.

What does PwC do to support and guide trainees?

All trainees are given a buddy when the training contract commences, who will act as a go to person for any query or guidance required. In addition, all trainees are allocated a People Manager who is responsible for their continuous development and with whom they can raise any concerns. Within each six month seat, trainees are also allocated a supervisor to aid progression within their discipline.

What kind of social programmes and facilities are in place with PwC?

PwC is an extremely sociable firm, and PwC Legal is no different. PwC Legal trainees hold social events each month, with a different trainee allocated to organise the venue each time. The PwC Legal team as a whole also has an annual Summer Party. Drinks after work on a Friday are also not too infrequent!

How is your work unique compared to other firms?

The relationship that PwC Legal has with PwC affords its trainees a unique training experience, whereby we can offer the opportunity to work with the largest clients on key business issues, often in teams alongside other specialist advisers. This provides a great insight into how businesses actually use legal advice, which in turn allows our trainees to become well-rounded commercially minded lawyers.

 

What the Firm Looks for in an Applicant

How important is a legal background?

This is not at all a pre-requisite; of more importance is a clear and keen interest in commercial law.

What kind of academic record and qualifications does PwC expect from applicants, and are extra languages looked upon favourably?

We require at least 320 UCAS points (or equivalent) and a minimum of a 2:1 degree (or at least on course for this). We also require a C or above at GCSE English Language and Mathematics.

If you do not meet the UCAS points, but have at least 240, then we can still consider your application if you are on course for or have a first class degree.

We also take account of mitigating and extenuating circumstances that may have impacted exam results.

Can you state the importance of commercial awareness, and recommend ways to develop it and show it off in an application/interview?

Commercial awareness is of the upmost importance, but especially so at PwC Legal given our one-firm approach to business solutions and the likelihood of working collaboratively with other areas of the PwC network. Candidates need to ensure they’re up to date with key business developments and pick a few topics that they are comfortable discussing in more detail, and most importantly, can provide their own opinion on.  This is important in both the interview stages and the initial application form career focus questions.

What personal qualities do you look for in an applicant?

All applicants must show examples of displaying the PwC Professional attributes (Whole Leadership, Business Acumen, Technical Capabilities, Global Acumen, Relationships) in order to be successful throughout the process.

Is extracurricular activity worth mentioning, for instance non-legal work experience?

Absolutely. We want to hear about experiences outside of your academics. We’re looking for well-rounded candidates.

Is there anything else an applicant can do to stand out from the crowd?

It’s not really about standing out, rather performing consistently well across all exercises. Those who end up being made an offer have an ability to both grasp complex problems and communicate them in a clear and concise manner.

 

Types of Client

What calibre and kind of clients does PwC tend to work with?  Do you have a diverse portfolio of clients, or any consistent/returning clients that you support?

PwC Legal’s client portfolio is extremely diverse, ranging from individuals looking to migrate to the UK, through to the tax litigation for multinational corporations.

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