After sending your legal resume and cover letter, you’ve been invited to a first-round interview for a paralegal position. As a professional paralegal, you need to demonstrate knowledge, organizational skills, and personal values when applying for a legal job with demanding deadlines and a crucial role in the justice system. We have compiled a list of the most common paralegal interview questions to prepare you for the meeting, which should help you leave a positive impression and get you a step closer to landing the job. Since law firm interview questions cover the same basics as those for company legal teams, you’ll be prepared for both.
Paralegal Interview Questions and Answers:
- What experience do you have in the paralegal field?
- Why do you want to be a paralegal?
- What does the average workday look like in your current position?
- How do you deal with a problematic client?
- Which areas of law interest you the most?
- Why did you apply to work at this company?
- How are your legal research skills?
- How do you deal with confidential information?
- What are your career plans?
- How do you stay up-to-date with regulatory and legal changes?
1. What experience do you have in the paralegal field?
If you are not applying for an entry position, this is one of the first paralegal job interview questions you will need to answer. Its purpose is to get you to summarize your work experience briefly. This includes information such as where you worked previously, what type of law was practiced there, and any notable cases you may have participated in.
2. Why do you want to be a paralegal?
This question is common in interviews for entry-level positions. You should take the opportunity to mention your legal work experiences like vacation schemes, law firm open days, and any other relevant practice you may have had. You should also express what motivated you to take an interest in the profession. People pursue a career in law for various reasons. This is an excellent opportunity to show your interest in a specific field that the company or firm you are interviewing for covers.
3. What does the average workday look like in your current position?
This is one of those paralegal interview questions that explores what specific tasks you have experience with, responsibilities your role covers, and how autonomous you are in your current position. When answering this question, check the requirements listed on the job ad and see which of your everyday duties suits the job you are applying for. Make sure to point those out when answering this question.
Hard skills such as knowledge of procedures, legal documents, or processes are just a part of the know-how you need to demonstrate in this question. Furthermore, this is also a perfect opportunity to show that you have important soft skills such as teamwork, communication, flexibility, problem-solving, and other relevant traits.
4. How do you deal with a problematic client or a stressful situation?
Most paralegal interviews will include a version of this question as interviewers want to see how you handle pressure and manage your emotions in such a situation. As paralegals are often tasked with updating clients on their case or claim progress, you should point out that you have good communication skills. It’s best to mention an example from previous work experience where you managed to diffuse a situation with a frustrated client in a professional manner.
Deadlines can lead to stressful situations, and in a paralegal job interview, you need to show that you are reliable and task-oriented. Knowing how to stay calm under pressure and prioritize work properly is vital for a paralegal.
5. Which areas of law interest you the most?
Paralegals are in charge of legal research. You need to show interest in the field of law you would be practicing at the company should they hire you. If you are applying for a job at a company that handles bankruptcies, you shouldn’t focus on your enthusiasm for environmental law.
6. Why did you apply to work at this company?
Some interview questions for a paralegal position are unavoidable regardless of your experience level. This is one of those. You need to show your knowledge of the company’s business, services, history, products, and values when answering it. Take some time to study the firm you are applying for because the person interviewing you will know if you have done your research.
Thankfully, most businesses maintain websites or social media pages with information that will be helpful for your interview.
7. How are your legal research skills?
Considering that administrative and research skills are of utmost importance for a paralegal, interview questions focusing on them are to be expected. You will do a lot of legal research in your position as attorneys have to focus on other tasks usually.
You need to be familiar with the legal process and know where to look for required information. If you’ve used or had experience with relevant paralegal software, this would be the perfect opportunity to emphasize what you know or that you are willing to learn.
8. How do you deal with confidential information?
Both senior and entry-level paralegal interview questions will cover the handling of confidential information since it’s a significant part of the job. You will need to point out how you store and secure both physical and digital documents as they are both equally important.
9. What are your career plans?
This answer will be different for each interviewee. Depending on your ambition, you might want to continue your education and go to a law school, or you are already content with your paralegal certification. Regardless of your career plans, you should prepare for this question as the paralegal job interview will most likely cover it.
Take this question as an opportunity to showcase that you are eager to learn more and develop further. Employers are not keen on hiring candidates that have no ambitions.
10. How do you stay up-to-date with regulatory and legal changes?
As you might expect, a certain level of legal knowledge and regulations is required from paralegals. When answering, refer to appropriate law journals and publications you read to stay updated. Attending conferences and webinars is also a great way to stay updated about the latest laws and regulations.
Paralegal Interview Tips
Besides preparing for interview questions, there are a few extra steps you can take that will help you land the job:
- Wear professional or business attire.
- Don’t put on too much cologne or perfume, and don’t wear too much makeup or jewelry.
- Turn off your cell phone.
- To give a well-thought-out answer, take a moment before answering.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer, but don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
- After you’ve finished the interview, it’s good practice to write a brief thank-you email or letter.