Have you ever worried that you would walk in to an interview and be asked a question that you didn’t know the answer to? Or that you would give the wrong answer? It’s happened to tons of people. Your interviewer will know that you will be nervous, and will want to see how you handle it. The interview is your second big chance to impress an employer (the first is when they review your resume and have enough of an interest to call you), and it’s your first real chance to see if you are a good fit for the firm (Remember, the interview is for both sides). So, how do you prepare for your interview to ensure you get the most out of it? Think about the following
- What types of questions you are likely to see?
- What questions should you be asking?
- What should you bring?
How to Research the Company You Are Interviewing With
Your first step is to research the firm. This research forms the basis of the questions that you will be asking, along with getting an idea on what questions you might be asked. You never want to ask a question that you should know from a quick glance at the firm’s website (e.g. What does your firm do?). You also want to make your conversation be as natural as possible and ask intelligent questions that show you’re engaged and interested in the job. Here’s how to research a law firm.
Step 1: Look at the Firm’s Website
Go to the firm’s website and look at the following areas and find the answers to the following questions:
- The profiles of each person you are interviewing with and find out:
- What specific areas are they practicing?
- What accomplishments do they show?
- What prior positions have they held?
- What News or Publications have they recently been in?
- Firm News/Blogs
- Are there any recent developments to an area that you are interested in?
Step 2: Check what the News Is Saying About Your Prospective Employer and Your Area of the Law
Next, has the law firm you are interviewing with been in the news recently? Has the individual attorney that you are meeting with been in the news, or won a recent case? A few sources for finding news about the firm or specific attorneys include:
- The Firm’s website
- Google News (Where you can set up news alerts on the firm)
- Law360 (for more of the major cases, etc.)
Don’t just stop with the news, take a deep look into how your skills relate to those news developments. Are they working on a big case/project that is in the news? Does it require some sort of skill set that you have on your resume?
Step 3: Have there been any recent developments in the area of law for the job you’ve applied to?
Next, check news websites to see if there are any recent developments in the law that are going to impact the firm’s practice and know how to discuss your opinion on it. This will show two things:
- You are keeping abreast of recent developments
- You can carry on a conversation about the topic
Know the Interview Questions You Will Be Faced With.
Being prepared for an interview means not just knowing what you will likely be asked during the interview, it’s knowing how you will respond to it. Below are some standard questions that you will likely be asked, along with ways you can best be prepared to answer it.
Question: Would you walk me through your resume?
- Response should be tailored to the position
- Highlight accomplishments that relate to what the position requires
- Make it seem as though you were bred for this job
Tell me about yourself
Use this as an opportunity to bring up your primary selling points for the position as well as explaining why you are a natural fit for the job.
- Who you are
- Your expertise that fits the position
- End with why you are there (not just for the money)
What are your career goals for the long term?
- Be specific, and explain how they incorporate into the position that you are applying for.
What are your weaknesses?
Everyone hates being on the receiving end of this question, and most people try to use a standard “I’m a perfectionist” or, “I work to much” answers. Think about providing a real weakness that you have, that won’t exclude you from the job. Better yet, explain exactly how you are working to improve yourself to overcome it.
Read more on answering the weakness question here
What else can you do to prepare?
See what other people have been asked in their interviews. This method is a little bit harder to do because not every firm or company has sufficient information that you can find (it also doesn’t guarantee that you will be asked the same questions. However, if you want to be as thorough as possible you can look around the internet and see what you come up with. There are two really good ways to find this information:
Glassdoor: Glassdoor has a wealth of information about companies and law firms including what other people have said about working there, interview questions, and salary information. For example, you can see what other people that have interviewed at Latham Watkins are saying about their interviews (https://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/Latham-and-Watkins-Interview-Questions-E3263.htm).
Reddit: Reddit /r/lawschool is another great place to not just find questions that have been asked, but to also ask others what they have been faced with during the interview process. It is also a great community that covers all aspects of law school and career choices for lawyers. Check it out. Here’s two specific threads that were created to help applicants with their interviews:
- How do you tell your supervising partner, they’re wrong on the law?
- Questions Around Interviewing with DA
Think about what Questions You Want to Ask
When asking questions, the big thing you want to make sure is that you do not ask questions for answers that can easily be found on the website. Doing so shows you’re unprepared and have not done your homework. Further, it will make the interviewer wonder how your research skills will be in actual practice. Questions you should be asking should demonstrate that you are interested in the position, and that you can relate to your interviewer. Questions to include would be surrounding the culture of the firm, how feedback is given, and how you would develop as an individual at the firm.
Also, think about finding ways to incorporate what you have learned through your research to the questions you are planning on asking (e.g. I see that you are currently working a slip-and-fall case resulting in a wrongful death suit. Can you share with me how the discovery process is going? Is that typical for the case?)
Think About What to Bring
Lastly, when it comes to going to an interview, go light. You shouldn’t have more than -3 copies of your resume (on resume paper ), your writing sample, and transcripts. Keep everything in a simple folio (Note, both are affiliate links to Amazon). There is a question on if you are just out of law school, you should have business cards or not. Overall, the benefits outweigh the problems with it. Think of it as a tool that you can keep in contact with the person you are interviewing with.
Now that you’re done and ready to prepare for your interview, signup to receive other postings.
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