Apr 27, 2020

Written By Jack Denton

Which psychometric tests do law firms use?

Apr 27, 2020

Written By Jack Denton

Many law firms use psychometric tests to screen out candidates. Law firms report that they get 53 applications per place available, according to the Inside Student Recruitment 2019 report by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), and use tests to reduce the number of applicants down to a more manageable number. In the overall graduate space, around 60% of employers use some kind of test according to the ISE, so it’s more likely than not that you’ll come across them at some point.

What is a psychometric test?

Simply put, a psychometric test is an objective measurement of your skills, abilities and personality traits. You are typically scored against other people who have taken the test, so there isn’t a specific pass rate, but you are benchmarked against other people like you.


What sort of tests do firms use?

Loads! There are a lot of different tests that cover every imaginable way the brain works, and with many different names for essentially the same thing, it can add to the confusion.

The good news is that there are a number of more common tests and as an aspiring lawyer, you are most likely to come across numerical and verbal reasoning, logic and inductive reasoning, which might also include the Watson Glaser.

Why do law firms use psychometric tests?

It is a matter of resource. In an ideal world, law firms would like to interview far more candidates, but with small recruitment teams, ranging from just one to four people (some really big firms will have more), it simply means this isn’t possible.

If a firm takes on 40 trainees, that means they can expect 2,000+ applications. If you spend ten minutes on each application that is 20,000 minutes, 333 hours or 41 working days, which equates to around 2 months of just reading applications. Evidently, that isn’t practical and would increase the cost of recruitment hugely and firms would need to hire many more graduate recruiters. This is one of the key reasons that psychometric tests are used.

In addition, the tests are also based on strong evidence and the latest science and are a good way to screen out the weakest candidates. Now, we all know that any system has some flaws, but this system works for the most part, and psychometric tests are part of the process which has been developed over more than 30 years.

Am I supposed to practise?

The idea is that you should come to the tests cold, as that would be a true test of your ability, but that’s rubbish. Of course, you need to practise them! You need to get used to the format, and the way questions are asked. You certainly don’t want to practise on your first few applications. Especially, as people tend to apply to their favourite firms first.

You are in a huge competition with other aspiring lawyers and you can bet that a large proportion of those candidates who get training contracts didn’t see their first psychometric test the first time they applied for the firm they now work for!

What if I have any special requirements?

If you need more time or have any other special requirements, most firms and their test partners will have steps in place which allow them to adapt the test to give you more time or make other adaptations that meet with your particular needs.

It is always important to let the firm know before you take the test if you think you need any adaptations made so that the results are a fair reflection of your skills and abilities.


Selection & Assessment