Oct 26, 2023

Written By Nandini Jadeja

5 Mind-Blowing Hacks for Nailing Law Firms' Written Assessments Every Time

Oct 26, 2023

Written By Nandini Jadeja

Of all the stages in an application process, the written assessment is one of the most daunting. However, since you will be writing day in and day out as a lawyer, it is important for law firms to assess your written skills at some point during the application process, and the competitive nature of applications means that they are assessed to a high standard. By following the hacks revealed in this article, you will be a written assessment pro in no time!

Hack 1: Understanding the assessment criteria

Not enough aspiring solicitors understand the importance of looking at the assessment criteria. Knowing the criteria upon which law firms will assess you is the first step to doing well in the written assessment, as you can keep in mind what they will be assessing you on. Common assessment criteria include legal research, critical thinking and effective communication. This criterion reflects the skills required of trainees, and so it is important that you get it right to show the firm that you are aware of what trainee solicitors are required to do, and that you can do it well.  If the firm doesn’t provide you with the assessment criteria, email graduate recruitment and ask.

You should also look at the firm’s website, so that you are aware of their values and what skills they are looking for in their applicants, and can include this in the assessment by displaying the skills they have outlined (e.g. clarity, attention to detail etc). 

Hack 2: Research techniques for written assessments

Your research should be detailed and comprehensive to ensure that you are not missing any aspects of the question(s). You should start by identifying the scope of the question, and thinking about if there is more than one way to interpret it. 

Once you have familiarised yourself with the question, you can turn to consulting a secondary source. It is usually better to start with a secondary source, which are materials that discuss, explain, analyse and critique the law. These sources can often point you in the direction of primary sources (statute, common law etc), and you should ensure that you look at both to provide a well-rounded answer. Ensure you are using reliable websites and databases, and that you make clear when something is a quote (from a particular statute for example). 

Make sure you answer every aspect of the question. If the question requires you to consult a particular source, make sure this is detailed sufficiently in your answer, and that you have paid enough attention to it. 

Keep an eye on the time! There is nothing worse than writing a well-developed answer, only to run out of time and not finish it. Ensuring your research is focused will help manage your time. 

Hack 3: Structuring your response effectively 

Many aspiring solicitors underestimate the importance of structure when attempting written assessments. A precise and clear structure can have a powerful effect on your writing, by making it easier for the reader to follow and allowing you to organise your points more effectively. 

You can create a structured response by drawing up a quick plan before you begin writing. Prioritise your points, starting with the most persuasive, and work your way down, jotting down which examples you will use in each paragraph. You can also organise your time around this plan to ensure you leave enough time at the end for a strong conclusion and have enough time to proofread and polish before you submit! 

Hack 4: Writing with precision and clarity 

As many aspiring solicitors undergo the application process while at university, there can sometimes be a tendency to write in an academic style. However, bear in mind that lawyers have to adapt their writing style depending on who they are writing for, so avoid jargon and use plain language instead. Writing clearly can also enhance the quality of your response to demonstrate that you are able to write succinctly. Ensure your sentences are short and do not contain too many clauses, and always include in-text citations. 

Writing with precision also means sticking closely to the question throughout your writing and not veering off to discuss something else, unless you can relate it back to the question. 


Hack 5: Proofreading and polishing

Always leave time to proofread and edit as the final step in the writing process. Typos and spelling errors are especially fatal in a written assessment as the firm will get an impression that you don’t double check your work, or pay attention to detail. If you are able to, re-read your answer out loud as this can help you check for errors. Alternatively, break it down and proofread it in chunks to spot mistakes. Polished writing reflects professionalism and attention to detail, which you should be striving for in a writing assessment. 

To summarise, the key takeaways to bear in mind are: understanding the assessment criteria, researching effectively, structuring your response, writing with precision and clarity, and leaving enough time for proofreading and polishing. By applying these to your written assessment, you can enhance your performance and confidence during the process, and ultimately your chance of success. 


Selection & Assessment