Big Law Wants Me!! How Do I Prepare for a Law Firm Interview?
You finally got the attention of the Big Law Firm of your dreams. Congratulations! Now you must focus on the next big steps, one of the most important being your interview. After all the work you have done to receive top grades at law school or to network your way into a lucrative position, it would be self-sabotaging not to prepare for what lies ahead in the interview room. While interviews can be somewhat unpredictable as every interviewer approaches the exercise differently, most tend to follow a couple of recognizable patterns for which you can study. In this post, we will look at some of these ways you can prepare for your law firm interview.
1. Impressing the “Trained Interviewer.”
This type of interviewer tends to have extensive experience in talking with a hopeful candidate and gauging their experience and levels of interest. As a result, interviewers of this variety will most likely ask you traditional-sounding questions. For instance, they might ask you what you think makes a good attorney to determine what you value and if your values align with those of the firm; and they might ask you in what practice you take the most interest. Furthermore, with these interviewers, you can expect someone to ask, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” These questions require some planning, thought, and a lot of honesty. With these questions, the interviewer seeks to learn if you have goals set for yourself and if you can commit yourself long-term to your endeavors. With these things in mind, prepare to answer these questions wholly and genuinely. Contemplate what you hope to get out of your career, write down some of your goal (or draft up some new ones if you have them) and review them so that when it comes to speak of them, you can do so with confidence and authority.
You might also expect behavioral interview questions such as “Tell me about a time you faced a challenge at work and how you faced it” or “Tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.” To answer these questions fully, you will want to think about what you have done in past jobs and other commitments and what issues you faced. Do any obstacles in particular stick out to you? Were you ever recognized for an exceptional achievement on the job? If so, be sure to highlight these things in your answers!
2. Knowing the “Resume Reviewer.”
Interviewers who simply ask you questions regarding items on your resume might seem a little more predictable than others; however, you should not underestimate the risk of being put on the spot and not having an adequate answer to explain in greater detail why you have done what you have done and what you have accomplished from it. Fortunately, preparing for such an interviewer is relatively painless. Make sure you know resume better than ever before going into the interview. Have answers for why you chose the institutions you did through your career in higher education, the specific experiences you gained from internships, and on. That way, you can give your interviewer a clearer picture than what can be gleaned simply by reviewing your resume.
3. Getting on the good side of the “How can I tell you about X Firm?” interviewer.
This interviewer is one of the main reasons that researching the firm extensively and understanding its culture and values are such important steps in the job hunting process. If you are able to show that you are knowledgeable about the firm to such interviewers, you reveal interest. This is good if you want to sell yourself as someone who is the right fit for the firm.
To be sure that you are truly prepared for this type of interview, make sure that you study the firm’s website religiously. Go beyond its “About Us” and “Mission” pages. Look at the images posted throughout the site. Do these images show colleagues smiling and working together? Or is the focus more on the client-attorney relationship? To succeed at this interview, understanding how to approach the firm’s culture and where you fit into it is key.
4. Coping with the “Aggressive Interviewer.”
While these interviewers’ unsettling methods may seem mean-spirited and off-putting, their intentions might be perfectly sound. Try not to be too intimidated by the aggressive interviewer. In most cases, these interviewers simply want to challenge you and to hear the most honest and thorough responses you can give. Therefore, when you are asked seemingly accusatory questions such as “Do you really think you have it takes to be a lawyer?” or “What happened at X Internship?”, do not recoil in fear. Instead, tackle the question with the confidence, authority, and poise of someone who is not even fazed by the confrontation. Remain professional and stoic.
5. Appreciating the “Chatty Interviewer.”
The chatty interviewers tend to try to connect with their candidates on a more personal human level. They might note that they attended your university and ask you about your favorite professors or classes. They might see that you are originally from a city with which they are familiar and ask you what your favorite restaurants and attractions are. This interview may be enjoyable and not as stress-inducing as the others as nobody is grilling you or putting you on the spot; instead, you are asked to speak from the heart. Take advantage of this setup. Show who you are as a person and how this shapes you as a professional. Make sure that between the idle chatter that you establish, albeit subtly, why you are right for the job and why you fit in perfectly with what the firm seeks.
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Do your law firm interview skills pass the test? Do you need some assistance in improving your law firm interview persona? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.