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Interviewing as a lateral is very different from interviewing as a law student. As a lateral, unlike when you were trying to secure a summer associate position, you must be prepared to field difficult questions about why you want to leave your current firm, provide detail – often a lot of detail – about your experience, and have savvy questions that demonstrate your career objectives.

Lateral Interviewing Techniques

Why Are You Leaving Your Current Firm?

Often the first question that a lateral has to field is "Why are you leaving your firm?" Sometimes this question is rephrased as “Why are your considering our firm?” Regardless of which question is posed, your answer must respond to both inquiries, and interviews often succeed or fail on your answer.

First, you must be positive about your current employer; have a solid reason for making a move; and an equally solid reason for considering the particular firm where you are interviewing. Your answer should be short and to the point.

For example, your answer could be something like "I have had a terrific experience at my firm and I have great relationships with both partners and associates. However, my firm does not allow associates to specialize, and I am increasingly interested in capital markets. I am particularly interested in your firm because you have one of the best capital markets practices in the country, allow associates to specialize in particular areas, and have an excellent reputation for associate development.”