Your Guide To Crack That Law Firm Interview
The interviewee seat is more stressful than anything else. An interaction you have while sitting there can make or break your impression. It can land you that job/internship or you’ll move on to another place, tackling another interview. That said, everybody does not have smooth experiences at interviews and people often don’t know how far they’ll be able to go. Fret not, we have combined a list of tips and tricks that will help you crack that Law Firm Interview like a breeze? Did we promise a lot?
Well-versed with CV
You should be very careful as to what you put on your CV as that is what breaks the ice. You should be able to be answerable for everything you show on your resume/CV as you can be asked any number of questions from there, crafted in any manner. You would have to answer questions about any inconsistent academic record, about gaps in your student or professional life, about your internships and/or previous work experience. Do not put anything on your CV which is not true or something that does not hold relevance. For example: Participation in a religious procession preparation – do not include something like this because it is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for.
Know A to Z of the firm
You’re not being asked to stalk social media profiles of the partners, but here’s the thing – know EVERYTHING that you must know as an outsider of the firm. You must show interest in the firm you are applying to, or they will not have interest in you either. You must have details like the size of the company, the number of partners, senior partners, the specific area of legal services they offer and if you can, also find out about their most important and well-known clients. This not only gives you confidence on various levels, it also improves your impression in the view of your interviewers. You must also know details of how many facilities/offices they have and where they are situated. While they will not take a General Awareness Quiz on this, these are details you should know like the back of your hand.
The kind of questions they will ask you
You should be generally aware of the questions you’re likely to be asked. You can try your hand at practising these questions in front of the mirror (if you have no siblings around to make fun of you). How reasonably and calmly you answer these questions will decide your fate. We have also given our guidelines on how to broadly answer these questions:
Why are you applying for this particular position in our firm?
To give a suitable answer to this question, you must be able to know all the functional roles in the firm you’re interviewing with. This will help you come to point of why this particular role is more attractive to you than others. You also have to indicate your interest in this. You could also mention that other people working in similar profiles have given you a fair idea about the position. Additionally, your contacts in the same firm can be useful to give you a more realistic view of what really is like, to function in this kind of profile.
Why do you wish to apply in our firm?
You need to smartly answer this question. Find out about the landmark cases that this firm has taken. Do not just rely on outsider information, but also ask the actual employees of the firm as to what is the most remarkable feature of the firm. You must actually speak to these contacts and not just make stuff up. You might get caught otherwise. You must know in advance, whether the firm deals in cases that interest you and how you differentiate this firm from some other firm that exists, which you didn’t apply to. Now, while you’re enumerating all the goodness about this firm, you must NEVER speak ill of your previous employer. The previous firm did teach you a lot, and you must highlight the vital experiences you had there. Even if you got into an ugly fist-fight with your supervisor in your previous firm, always maintain that you had a great time there and you wish to grow in your career graph, which is why you are choosing to apply to this particular firm. Your personal grudges and limitations must never be mentioned in your interview, otherwise it can impede your chances of making it. No firm wants to hire a person who lacks integrity. Always come off as a positive personality.
What do you know about the functionality of this particular role that you have applied for?
This question requires serious preparation. Not just generic, but specific questions must be prepared for. You must get in touch with your seniors and find out about a typical day in their shoes. You must know what are the interesting features of this role, and also the professional benefits. While answering your question, you can quote one of the existing employees in this position and tell your interviewers as to what you found most appealing about their role. Don’t only explain the benefits. There are always two sides of a coin and you should be aware of the challenges associated with it as well. This will show you as a realist, who understands that if there are hits, there are also some misses. However, you cannot appear to be bothered by them, rather present these facts as factors that will enhance your professional experience and how you plan to address these. There should never be a point when you’re appearing as a weak and unprepared employee.
In addition, there are high chances you will be asked to demonstrate a negotiation, a deposition, mention any random part of the formats of any of the deeds. You may be asked to give an example of how you handle stressful situations as a lawyer and how you manage your time effectively. From the above questions, you can expect a question on your learning outcomes from such situations and the end result too. Just be prepared to present it all in good light and show what a great lawyer is sitting in front of the interviewers.
The kind of questions you may choose to ask them:
- Who is going to assign you work? Will you have to approach them yourself or they will depute work on their own?
- Do only partners handle the litigation and associates do the spade work?
- Will you be allowed to work on some projects autonomously? What is the extent to which they have to seek approval?
- How are the departments divided? Are they on the basis of function or seniority?
- Do most lawyers handle the cases with similar type of factual backdrop?
- Does the firm take pro bono cases? Are associates allowed to be a part of them?
- Will you be allowed to work across departments? Can you expect work assigned from the head of the department that you aren’t part of, on paper? (Your department does not include the department you spend time with, drinking coffee during your break hour)
- Are associates allowed to pick the cases they wish to work on? Or are they assigned cases based on what their supervisor likes?
- Is there a probation period? If yes, then what are the terms and conditions of making an employee permanent?
- What amounts to “progress” of an employee?
- How are appraisals made and who assesses them?
- Are there any capacity building programs that the firm conducts?
- Can the partners be approached for guidance (you mean troubleshooting)?
- Where do they expect to see the firm in the next 10 years?
- How many years does it take an associate to become a partner? What is it that makes or breaks one’s chances of making partner?
You must not throw an unending volley of questions at the interviewers, but you can express your genuine queries. Keep it in mind to not have concerns from the very beginning. Understand that concerns and queries are two different things. If you already show that you have concerns about the way the firm operates, in general and specific, the interviewers will be sure that you are not sure. That is not the kind of impression you’re looking to give.
You know who you are. Nobody knows better than you as to what your strengths are, as a person and as a professional. Do not wait for the last moment and start documenting them before-hand. Have them all listed on a piece of paper and also mention examples alongside them. You must be able to justify why you’re so good at something. The interviewers will ALWAYS ask you for proofs or examples. If you can’t present the right ones at the right time, or can’t remember them, interviewers can pass that off as made-up stories. For example, if you mention resilience as a trait, you must be able to explain the situations that you withstood and were successful emerging from them. This is the question where you can completely sell yourself to the interviewers. Since you’re a positive person, let me already call them your future bosses. Don’t try too hard – just appear well-prepared. Make sure you practice your justifications well in advance so that you can already predict any trap questions that can follow. It is not so difficult to sell yourself. We do it all our life. To get into a renowned High School, at the time of your Law School application process, and also the previous job that you had taken up. If you have internship experiences, you will possibly be more seasoned at handling this situation. Just think of this as another such opportunity, where you’re asked by a new friend “What’s interesting about your life so far?” Yes, it is THAT easy.
- Do not initiate the discussion on salary and benefits until the interviewers ask you. They’re ideally the ones who have an upper hand and the decision making capacity here. You MUST NOT steer the discussion in this direction on your own.
- Do not show yourself as weak or indecisive. It gives a negative impact.
- Always refrain from discussing about a situation where you were trapped and hastily made the decision without weighing in all factors – this shows you in poor light.
- Do not wear untidy or informal clothes to your interview. Look polished and neat, but no flashy accessories.
- Do not appear to know better than your interviewers.
- Do not say that your grades were poor because you didn’t study. You have to have a more genuine reason than that. Nobody wants an insincere candidate.
So go all out and crack it! There’s nothing stopping you!