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Case Study

Hello! It is so lovely to see so many of you getting to the assessment centre day of the application process. I regularly get messages for tips and help on the various components that go into an assessment day and this blog is going to talk you through the case study. You check out blogs on the interview and group exercise components here:

The case study can take many forms and can vary from firm to firm and year on year. So, this blog does not specifically refer to one type of case study for one particular firm. Instead, from my various assessment days and case studies that I’ve participated in over the years, I will give you the skills you should think about engaging in the case study, tips for succeeding and some do’s and don’ts.


As you might imagine, there are different forms in which a case study exercise may be presented to you. The most commons ones are:

  • You are given a commercial scenario. You are asked to analyse the scenario and provide a summary/presentation at the end.
    • For example – Company A is thinking of buying either Company X or Company Y. Based on Company A’s brief and requirements, which company would you recommend?
  • You are given information. Highlight the legal and commercial implications to the client and how this firm could assist the client.
  • You are given information. The objective is to distil the large volume of information into a written or oral summary/presentation.
  • You are given various sources of information. The objective is to decide on a course of action (the ‘in-tray exercise).

Please note, these are just some of the most common case study exercises and the case study at your assessment day may be a mix of different types.

What skills are NOT being assessed?

Before we look at what is going to be assessed, I’m going to preface something for the non-law applicants reading this. It is common for non-law applicants to convert into law – more so in England I’ve found given the popularity of the GDL in comparison to the Scots equivalent of the accelerated LLB. Firms are aware of this and from all of the case studies I’ve completed, none have been a pure legal analysis of the law. For example, none of them provide you with a copy of legislation X and ask you to apply it to a scenario. They have always been more commercial/commercial awareness-based. Whilst the case studies may have some legal slant, it is generally in a way that is obvious and not disadvantageous to non-law applicants.

So, what skills are being assessed and how can you build these skills?

  1. Analysis. You will have had some analysis experience, whether in university or other work, so be sure to think analytically and critically during the case study.
    • Pay close attention to detail.
    • Don’t regurgitate and recite the information you’ve already been given.
    • Think about the purpose of the information and what relevance (if any) it has to your task. There may be red herrings!
  2. Commercial awareness. This is an absolute given. You will need to keep up your commercial awareness and how movements in markets, sectors and industries will affect the scenario at hand.
    • Keep up your reading! You can read my blog here on developing commercial awareness which contains links to various resources HERE.
    • Make sure to apply your knowledge to the scenario at hand.
    • There may also be an element of applying business and common sense.
  3. Ability to follow instructions. Your case study will have instructions and objectives. Make sure you follow the instructions to the dot.
    • If the scenario says “provide any other information that you think is relevant” then it is fine to include.
    • BUT – if there are very specific instructions on the content that is to be presented at the end, for example, be sure to read the instructions carefully and not to digress.
    • Read the instructions carefully!
  4. Presentation skills. You may have to present your findings in some way (orally, written or both). It is important to think about the following points:
    • As above, when presenting, make sure you have followed the instructions.
    • Be concise – you may have been given a large quantity of data to summarise and distil, be sure you’re not just copying and pasting, but rather pulling out key points and presenting them in an effective manner.
    • Don’t use complicated legal jargon.
    • Think about structure – does your presentation require an introduction or can you launch straight into your points? Time constraints may dictate the answer to this.
    • What are the best ways to split up your key points in order to convey them effectively in your work?
    • Present confidently!
  5. Curveballs! Watch out for these, you never know when, how or where a curveball may creep up!
    • This will assess skills such a time management, prioritisation, and agility.
    • Stay calm, the assessors are looking at how well you handle pressure and your ability to adapt in the event that things don’t go as smoothly as planned.

Some do’s and don’ts


  • Think about what the task is assessing and how you can demonstrate the required skills.
  • Think about time constraints and time management.
  • Remain level-headed if unexpected things happen.
  • Re-read the instructions carefully.


  • Use complicated legal jargon – it is unlikely to be effective.
  • Rush into the exercise without identifying what the instructions and task is assessing.
  • Regurgitate passages of text already given to you.
  • Go off in a tangent and provide unnecessary information.

Good luck!

To get to an assessment centre is already an amazing achievement – well done! I wish you all the best of luck in your assessment centres.

As always, I am happy to answer any LinkedIn messages or emails via the contact page if you’d like further assistance.

Good luck!


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