Every law job interview should be treated as an opportunity to present an arsenal of your most important skills, achievements, and strengths. But in the highly competitive legal sector, preparation is key. So, go over your resume and be prepared to talk about specific experiences and why you want to work at a particular firm.
The following guide, which condenses our extensive knowledge about the most prevalent law firm interview questions, will help prepare you for your next chat with a potential employer and ensure that you’re never caught off guard.
Common Law Firm Interview Questions
While there is always a chance you could get an off-the-wall question, recruiters typically stick to certain routines during job interviews. This is done for a variety of reasons, one of which is to ensure a level playing field for analyzing all potential employees.
By using standardized interview questions, a law firm tries to narrow down the selection of candidates. Of course, these aren’t always phrased in the same way, but they’re centered on the same general idea. Being well prepared to answer these questions can make the difference between getting the job and being shown the door.
Here are some law firm interview questions that you’re most likely to hear:
Why do you want to practice law?
This is a frequent opener. Recruiters ask this question to try and get a better sense of the candidate's interests. It can also be rephrased in the following ways:
- Why did you choose a career in law?
- Why do you want to work for us?
Likewise, you might be asked why you’re interested in a specific type of law. Whatever the wording, this will undoubtedly be one of the first law job interview questions.
Although it may sound simple, many candidates are easily thrown off by this question, especially if they never thought about specific elements that led them to pursue a career in law. On the other hand, well prepared candidates can easily turn this question into a great opportunity to make a good first impression. Here, it’s important to highlight the experience you’re after and how this fuels your interest in law. You can also talk about specific situations that led you down this career path. Ultimately, it’s about showing passion for the job and interest in the type of law the firm specializes in.
What can you bring to the firm?
This law firm interview question isn’t your cue to start bragging about your general skills. Instead, you should talk about very specific qualities and experiences that are relevant to the job. You should also use this moment to show that you’re knowledgeable about the firm you’re applying to. Bring up a recent case and explain how you could’ve helped.
Also, make sure to avoid bashing any of your previous employers. This is a common mistake and one that will make you look very unprofessional. Of course, this is one of the most common sample interview questions and one you should definitely anticipate regardless of the firm you choose.
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
This isn’t exactly a question from left field, but it can catch some people off guard. Remember not to dwell on pointless weaknesses. No one wants to hear about how much you hate waking up in the morning.
Instead, try putting a positive spin on your answers. Talk about being too detail-oriented, and if you have trouble getting organized, shed light on the tremendous number of activities that you pack into your workday.
These aren’t just small law firm interview questions. You can get asked about your strengths and weaknesses almost anywhere you apply for a job. When it comes to the former, make sure to identify your key strengths by using examples that are relevant to your potential employer.
Which law would you like to change and why?
This is another question that frequently pops up in interviews. You can also be asked what law you would bring into force and why?
The question serves several purposes. First, it tests your knowledge of the legal system and the judicial branch. Moreover, it offers valuable insight into your critical thinking abilities and opinions. Just like our advice on previous law firm interview questions and answers, we recommend that you tread carefully here. You don’t want to come off as too controversial.
The best option is to choose a law that can somehow be beneficial to the firm you’re applying to. This will allow you to show off your extensive legal knowledge and your familiarity with your future employer.
Describe your courtroom approach.
The list of attorney interview questions always involves topics related to the courtroom and your approach to representing clients. Describe your thought process, how you would prepare for trial, and your attitude during the court proceedings. It’s best to stick to a checklist in order to make sure you don’t leave any important steps out.
How would you solve a legal issue?
This is another one of the more common circumstantial or situational interview questions where you’re expected to show problem-solving abilities as well as present your knowledge of the law.
It’s helpful to read up on the law firm’s recent cases before the interview, as it’s quite common for interviewers to use them for this question. The question will likely be tailored to your expertise, so the wording depends on the type of job you’re applying for.
How well do you handle stressful situations?
Stress is an inevitable part of every lawyer’s career, so it’s natural that lawyer interview questions often include something related to stressful situations. Nobody’s perfect, but you’re expected to keep your cool and handle difficult clients.
You can fall back to something you wrote in your cover letter when applying for the job or explain your process through an example. The goal is to show you’re able to remain calm and professional even when situations appear unmanageable.
More Examples of Law Firm Interview Questions
There are many more questions an interviewer may ask during a job interview. This depends on the type of law you’re practicing, the job position you’re applying for, and of course, the interviewer’s level of expertise. Some questions are designed to analyze your experience and skills, while others are intended to throw you off and see how you react.
Here’s a sample of interview questions that tend to pop up at law firm interviews:
- How do you handle feedback?
- What is your biggest accomplishment in your law career?
- Why did you leave your previous job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Who is a role model in your life?
- What was your favorite subject at law school?
- Which historical figures would you invite to a party?
- What qualities do you think a good lawyer should have?
- How do you build trust with a client?
After the Job Interview
After the potential employer goes through all the legal interview questions, the tables turn, and it’s time for you to start asking questions. Most interviewers will ask whether you have any questions for them. This is a perfect opportunity to come off as curious by asking open-ended and substantive questions about the job and the firm.
Picking the right questions to ask during a law firm interview can be difficult. You don’t want to sound arrogant, but at the same time, it’s in your interest to learn as much as you can. After all, you won’t get a better opportunity to gain valuable insight into the inner workings of the firm.
Here are some questions to ask an employer during an interview:
- What kind of cases are you usually working on?
- Who would supervise my work?
- How would you describe the work atmosphere here?
- What kind of clients are you usually working with?
- What do you like most about this firm?
- How is work distributed?
- How will my work be evaluated?
Write a Thank-you Letter
It has become common practice to send a thank you letter after the interview is done. While most employers don’t explicitly expect anything more than basic interview questions, a letter shows that you’re passionate about this profession, and it’s a sign of good manners.
People with good handwriting should absolutely send a handwritten letter. A letter that you personally wrote and signed will definitely make you stand out, showing that you also put a personal touch on everything you do. Keep in mind that it may take several days for such a letter to arrive, so if you’re working within a certain timeframe, consider sending it via email.