Never, ever, underestimate the importance of your law firm job interview! If you have gotten this far in the process … congratulations … you have your foot in the door (literally) and an offer in well within your grasp. If you have been invited for an interview it means you have made the cut in terms of grades, law school, prior work history, etc. What matters now is that you come to the table prepared and in all respects interested and engaged in the process of meeting the firm’s lawyers and becoming the newest addition to their team.
Here are some interview questions that often come up. We recommend that you know the answers to these questions. Some people find it’s helpful to write the answers out. Others practice saying the answers out loud to a friend or the bathroom mirror. The idea is not to stress out or write an autobiography or memorize answers. The idea is to think about the questions so you can answer truthfully and succinctly and with a fluidness that only comes from preparation and practice.
This is your time to SHINE! Having answers at the ready to each of these questions will impress your interviewer and help ensure that both of you enjoy this experience so much that the next time you meet is on your first day of work!
Tell me a little about yourself.
How did you end up at your current firm?
Tell me about your experience there.
What have your reviews been like? How about your billable hours?
Why did you join a smaller firm after practicing at a large firm?
You mention that you moved to your current city for XYZ reasons. What is your connection to our city?
Why are you looking to move to a new law firm now?
What are at least two positive things about your current firm?
How do you see your practice changing if you move into a law firm like ours?
If I were to ask your associates/colleagues about you, what would they say?
Tell me about your experience and work at prior law firms.
Tell me about an obstacle you’ve encountered and how you’ve overcome that obstacle.
What is one of your weaknesses? How are you working to turn that weakness into something positive?
Give me three of your best qualities that make you a good candidate for this firm.
Do you think that your past experiences will help you practice in a law firm like ours?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Ten years?
Why our firm?
Why our city?
Tell me about your practice.
Why did you choose that particular practice area?
How have you seen that practice area change or evolve?
Tell me more about your technical experience.
What can you bring to the table that others may not be able to do?
Where else are you looking?
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
If I was to call your boss, what would he or she say you need to work on/improve on?
Tell me about a particularly exciting project and the role you played in it.
Tell me about three projects you worked on in the last year.
What have you accomplished in law so far that you are most proud of?
What are your salary expectations?
If we were to extend you an offer, when would you be able to start?
What would an associate at my level be expected to do as soon as they begin at your firm?
What are associates in my class doing right now at your firm?
How is work assigned? Would I be working directly for certain partners? At what level would I be managing associates more junior?
Why are you hiring for this position? Is it for a specific client or transaction?
How will I know that I’m doing well? Is there a formal review process?
How does your office interact with other offices in the firm? Would I only work with partners in my office, or firm wide?
Will I be staffed on a wide variety of matters or do you prefer associates to specialize in an area?
What have you enjoyed most in your legal career?
While you must never let your guard down, please remember that interviews are organic situations. At a basic level, you are just having a conversation with a fellow person and attorney. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and to give your interviewer the chance to be his or herself too. If you see something around the office that strikes your interest (and it seems appropriate at the time) – a photo, a book, a piece of sports equipment, an antique desk, or even a view from a window – go ahead and bring it up. You’ll both probably enjoy things more if you add a little genuine rapport to your interview.
And be your prepared … awesome … seize the day and get the job self!!!
Learn why attorneys usually fail law firm phone-screening interviews in this article: