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How To Ace a Law Firm Interview as a Law Student

published May 06, 2022

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Every year, most law students currently in a law school have a wonderful chance of experiencing the law firm job interview process on their own in the comfort of their school. Law firms visit law schools to interview law students in short 20-minute interviews that can decide the further course of the students' careers. Some of them will be able to secure summer associate positions in prestigious firms while others might not be able to get a single call-back interview. It is no surprise that many law students are anxious before this on-campus interview process and need some tips to successfully handle it.


The Best Law Firm Interview Tips for Students


When the economy is booming, law firms are hiring a ton of people, students included. In those times, students really cannot do a lot to hinder their chances in firms. If they do not really answer the law firm interview questions with disregard or do not show any real interest in the legal industry. However, when the situation of the financial legal markets is not as good and when several practice areas are slow, law firm interviewing at schools is much more difficult. Only the best of the best get offers and most students get disqualified. That is why it is important to know how you can impress the interviewers and convince them that you can become a great practicing attorney.
 

Do Not Underestimate the

 

Although you might think that it is just a short interview so you will be able to wing it just with your experiences from your law school, it is not like that. Each law firm interviews dozens of students a day during the on-campus law firm interview season and they do not want to hear about the law school experience of everyone. They will only remember you when you are capable of demonstrating that you were born to practice law, not just by passing through law school. You should always invest some time before the interview into reading through major and local legal news to get familiar with current interesting legal topics you can mention.
 

Try To Come up With Something New and Interesting To Talk About


When you decide to talk about a current event and how it is related to the legal field, it is always best to bring in something new and not just the main headlines and theories that are mentioned on the news every day. With so many students graduating and becoming practicing attorneys every year, interviewers have heard all of the main topics countless times. Bringing something new and looking at it from the position of a lawyer will definitely make your interview memorable.
 

Read the Interviewing Attorney

 

Every interviewer is different and your success in law firm interviews depends on how well you are able to connect with the interviewer and impress them. So you really have to pay attention to the interviewer and their body language to try to put yourself in the best position possible.

Depending on the time of the day and how many interviews they have already led that day, they might be more or less interested in what you are saying. If you feel like they are not paying attention, change up the topic and try to bring their attention back to you. If you do not understand what they are asking, do not just act confused and defensive. Rather use your communicative and social skills that are so needed in this profession to turn the interview in your favor.
 

The Interview Is a Performance


How you act throughout the interview is what decides the outcome. Regardless of what is happening in your own life or what has happened to you right before, you have to leave all of this behind you and focus on the interview at hand. With only 20 minutes and so many students to interview, the interviewer will not care about why you have a negative attitude, they just see that you do and that you are probably not the best person for them. So, even if you are not feeling your best, find it in you to keep your best attitude.
 

Avoid Negativity

 

Even when you are not absolutely convinced about your law school or practicing law in general, a legal job interview is not the place to air your concerns. You must make the impression that you feel positive about the industry even when you have some doubts. Of course, toxic positivity is a thing and the interviewer will notice if you are insincere and overdoing it. However, the overall tone of the interview should be positive and show your interest in the legal work.
 

Interviewers Are Not Interested in Students


The whole point of these on-campus interviews is that law firms find talented future lawyers. They are not looking for law students but for people who will become experts in their field. That is why you should not focus only on your past school accomplishments if you went to law school right after college. Try to focus on the future and how you will be able to function as an attorney.
 

Do Not Focus on Your Past Professional Life

 

Many students start law school after they have already lived a life and had professional success in a different industry. If this is your case, try not to focus your whole interview on what you have achieved in the other profession. Although it might be interesting, it is not what the interviewer is interested in. They want to find out whether you are cut out to practice law, they can read about your past work on your resume.
 

Show Them You Are Committed


Interviewers want to find out whether you are committed to the law industry. If you have worked in a different industry and show that you might want to go back to it if the law firm's work does not pan out, it almost automatically disqualifies you. Law firms want to hire only those who are passionate about the law and are serious about it.
 

Learn From Your Mistakes

 

It happens to all of us - sometimes you just do not have your day and come out of the interview knowing that you did not do your best. The obvious tip in this is not to dwell on it too much. You have already made the mistakes and there is probably nothing you can do to rectify the situation at hand. However, you should not just forget about this. It is the perfect opportunity to learn from the mistakes and do better next time. So, what you should do is talk about the interview with someone you consider a mentor in the legal industry who can give you tips and help you not make the same mistakes in your next interview.


The Second Interview Is Not Just a Formality


If the firm likes you and you get a call-back, it definitely feels great and you feel like you already have it in the bag. However, do not underestimate it. If you say something the firm does not like, it can still disqualify you and can cost you your job offer. Be careful about what you say and keep doing what made them interested in you in the first place.
 

Conclusions


On-campus interviews are a normal part of second and third-year students in law schools. Although it might seem like 20 minutes is a short time and that you will be able to talk through it without any big issues, preparation is the key and can help you be memorable and get a job offer. You always want to connect with the interviewer and stand out from all others to be able to secure a summer associate position in a law firm.


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