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70 Law Firm Interview Questions You Should Prepare for Now after Graduating Law School
by Amanda Griffin
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Summary: Know what questions will be thrown your way during interviews when you are fresh out of law school and later in your career so that you don’t look unprepared.
During an interview right out of law school there are a number of things that you need to be ready to address. No will have a perfect application, so you need to know your weaknesses and strengths that overpower those weaknesses.
Take a look at your resume. Are there gaps between your schooling and work? Did you suddenly change careers or receive poor grades? You can bet that interviewers will notice these weak spots immediately and question you about them during the interview. Do not be apologetic, defensive, or insecure. Instead, you should be open to discussing the weaknesses briefly. Life happens, so explain why something happened and then move on. For example, you may have had the flu the day of the final exam, so your overall grade suffered as a result of the poor grade you received on it. Even after you have been out of law school for several years, make sure your resume is still up to date and that you are prepared to address any weaknesses law firms may ask you about.
Turn your negatives into positives by stating what you learned from the weakness and how you are moving on from it. Be straightforward and acknowledge the problem, but don’t dwell on it. Take time before your interview to think about how you will answer some of the common questions below so that your answers sound natural and not overly rehearsed. Many of these questions also apply to attorneys several years out of law school as well, so feel free to practice your answers to these questions before every law firm interview.
Examples of personal questions:
Tell me about yourself.
How would others describe you?
What is the latest non-legal book you have read?
Why did you choose law?
What are your hobbies and interests?
What is your biggest accomplishment?
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Why would you be a good trial advocate?
What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?
How well do you work under pressure?
How strong are your writing skills?
What one thing are you most proud of?
What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished?
How do you build a trusting relationship with a client?
Are you a team player?
What things do you think help a person become successful?
What is important to you?
What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?
What does success mean to you?
How do you feel about representing accused child abusers?
Is there any crime you would have trouble defending?
How do you feel about accountability versus reconciliation?
Examples of resume/transcript questions:
Why did you leave your prior job?
Why did you choose to work at these specific organizations?
What type of responsibilities have you had in prior jobs?
What did you like/dislike about that work?
Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
What did you do between college and law school?
Why did you choose the law?
What extracurricular activities have you participated in?
What was the issue you argued in Moot Court?
What clinical work have you done?
Tell me about your participation in (insert something from your resume).
Tell me about your thesis.
Do you think your grades represent your academic achievement?
Examples of questions on your knowledge of the organization/position:
What do you know about the organization?
Why do you want to work here?
Which practice area are you most interested in?
What is it about our practice setting or issues that interests you?
What qualifications do you have that make you a good candidate for this job?
What is the greatest drawback of this job?
Why should we hire you?
How are you prepared to work with others that are different from you?
What few things are most important to you in a job?
What kind of training or supervision do you expect in a job?
Explain your ideal job.
Examples of questions on your commitment to public service:
Why did you switch from the private sector to public interest work?
How committed are you to serving the underrepresented?
What interest do you have in service to the public?
What are your practice interests?
How much experience do you have in your field of interest?
What other fields are you interested in?
What kind of experience do you have with public interest organizations?
What community service work has allowed you to have the greatest impact?
What has been the biggest challenge in your volunteer efforts?
What are your long/short term goals?
How do you plan to achieve your goals?
Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
Where else have you applied?
Examples of questions about legal reasoning/thinking:
What did you like about law school?
What was the most challenging thing about law school?
What was your favorite class? Explain.
Who was your favorite professor? Explain.
What qualities does a good lawyer need?
Tell me about your legal writing sample.
Tell me about a legal memo you have written.
Tell me about your hardest law school exam question.
Tell me about a complex legal issue you worked on.
If you were a court, how would you rule on…?
What recent Supreme Court case did you disagree on? Why?
See the following articles for more information about law firm interviews: