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"The most impressive interviewers are those who can clearly articulate why they’re interested in our firm, with specific reasons based on research."
“Have a good answer ready when asked why you’re seeking to leave your current job.”
“Before your interview, look at your résumé and think of questions you’d ask if you were interviewing yourself. Then, have good answers ready for these interview questions.”
“The best attorneys are good researchers. You should research each attorney you’re meeting. I’ll never forget a litigator who took the time to read a recent opinion on which I was listed as the attorney of record. I want them on my team!”
“Don’t discount the importance of legal writing samples. Those that review your legal writing take it seriously. Make sure you’re providing your best possible work and triple-check for typos and Bluebooking.”
“Make sure your writing sample for a legal position does not contain confidential or privileged information. Also, don’t unnecessarily redact information that’s not confidential or privileged as this shows you don’t know the rules. If in doubt check the local rules.”
“If you’ve friends at our firm, call them to find out the inside scoop. They can give you helpful information.”
“Read the recent press releases on our website.”
“One of the most important interview tips you’ll ever get: Being late is the kiss of death. Assume the interview is going to begin 30 minutes before the actual time. Grab a cup of coffee if you arrive early.”
“Be polite and courteous to support staff such as secretaries, front desk receptionists, etc. They often have the ear of decision makers and will not hesitate to provide informal feedback on you, especially if you’re not respectful.”
"Turn off your cell phone. Get a haircut. For men, wear a dark suit, a white/blue shirt and red/blue tie. Take off that strange-looking high school ring. No one will appreciate your unique fashion sense. Don't give people something weird to remember you by two months later when they're trying to remember who you are and whether you deserve an offer.."
"Do not look at your watch during interview and turn cell phone off. Good eye contact is key."
"The more you are relaxed and at ease, the more the interviewer will be relaxed and at ease."
"If your hands tend to get sweaty, keep a handkerchief in your pocket. There’s nothing worse than clammy hands."
"For both men and women, a firm handshake and a winning smile is important. It’s your first chance to show confidence. I’ve written people off immediately after their limp hand shake."
THE INTERVIEW ITSELF
"Start a conversation with your interviewer before they have a chance to ask a question: Remember to keep it conversational. It’s not an interrogation or deposition."
“If you’re an associate, focus on impressing the partners but also focus on bonding with the other associates as friends. I don’t want to hire somebody who’ll make me look bad.”
“If you’re changing cities, you should be able to show your connection to the new city and your demonstrated interest in living there. For example, how many times have you visited, lived there, etc.”
“It is much better to preemptively bring up and explain any weaknesses in your background.”
“If you have received very good performance evaluations, it’s your responsibility to make it known to us because we may not want to ask and risk making you feel uncomfortable.”
“Remember that the easiest topic to ask someone (your interviewer) is about themselves—people naturally like to proselytize about their own accomplishments. Ask why we joined this firm, why we like it, etc.”
“You’ll be asked to talk about your prior experiences, so be prepared to discuss each and every detail of your résumé.”
“Some of us are not good interviewers and we get nervous as well. If necessary, it never hurts to take the lead and help carry the job interview with somebody that’s not doing the job well.”
“The more we laugh during an interview and the more we like you personally, the more we will overlook your weaknesses and play up your strengths. It happens all the time.”
“The more the questions relate to the interviewer’s personal experiences—as opposed to administrative-type issues—the better.”
“Be careful with asking questions that show the firm in a negative light. You can ask questions about things that you’re concerned about, for example a merger or practice group leaving a firm, but balance those questions with questions about things you feel are positive aspects of the firm.”
“Avoid questions that deal with money, vacation, part-time, billable hour minimums, etc. Find this out on our firm’s website or informally.”
“If you really don’t know the answer to a question just say, ‘I really don’t know the answer.’”
“Save your negative-type questions, such as ‘What do you not like about this firm?’ until after you receive an offer. That way, we can’t ding you for being negative.”
“Remember that partners are joint owners in the firm—when someone points out weaknesses in their firm, they take it personally.”
“Associates are more honest when they’re speaking with you outside the actual office.”
“Don't let your guard down at lunch.”
“Do not feel you need to over explain things you perceive as weaknesses about yourself…Have an answer ready, but don’t go on and on about it.”
“Assume that everything you say to each interviewer will be discussed and compared by each of the interviewers when you're gone and scrutinized for inconsistencies.”
“If an interviewer initiates a debate on a legal issue, don’t get too passionate and heated about defending your position. Remain calm, composed, and focus on making logical sense.”
“Realize that the law firm needs you as much as you need them: Don't come across as needy or having low self-esteem.”
“Unlike interviews during law school, remember that the firm really needs help because they can’t handle their workload.”
“The more you focus on how your skills and experience can help make our lives easier, the better.”
- See Interviewing Tips for more information
“In regards to post-interview etiquette, I recommend that candidates not call repeatedly when someone is not answering. We have caller ID and it’s ‘stalker-ish’ to see a person call 10 times in a row.”
“Don’t get too hung up on thank-you notes. If you want to write one, email is fine. Just make sure there are no typos and you don’t write the same thing to each person.”
“In a thank-you note, don’t say you think you’re a ‘perfect fit’ after an initial interview. It’s too early and questions your sincerity.”
“If you are anxious about a possible offer, don’t call to ‘check in’ unless you’ve a good reason for doing so, such as another pressing offer.”
See the following articles for more information:
- Top 23 Law Firm Interview Tips: How to Excel in Law Firm Interviews
- 21 Major Interview Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- The Best Way to Prepare for a Job Search and Interviews
- How to Talk About Other Interviews in Your Interviews
- How to Answer the Tell Me About Yourself Interview Question
- How to Answer the Do You Have Any Questions for Me Interview Question
- Had a Great Interview But Have Got No Response to My Thank-You Emails
- What Does It Mean if I Haven't Heard Anything Back from an Application/Interview in a Couple Weeks?
- What to Wear to a Lunch Interview?
- How to Effectively Interview Lateral Candidates: Pointers for Law Firms
- The Interview Post-Mortem: Don't Forget Your Thank You Notes!
- The Secret to Effectively Sharing Concerns about Your Current Employer without Committing the Most Common Interview Blunder
- How to Conduct Yourself During a Lunch Interview
- How to Excel at Second Round Law Firm Interviews and Get More Job Offers
- Interview Questions and Reminders
- One of the Most Important Questions You Will Ever Be Asked in an Interview as an Attorney
- Top Ten Interview Questions