Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer

Be ready to address weak areas of your resume, such as gaps between jobs or schooling, sudden changes in career direction or poor grades. Everyone has weak spots hidden within his or her resume. Experienced interviewers will quickly mark those areas for questioning. Avoid appearing apologetic, defensive or insecure and be willing to talk about these areas briefly and openly. 

If, for example, you received an "LP" in Property, then say so and provide a brief explanation, such as you were not feeling well on the day of the exam or that you enjoyed the class but realized from your post-exam discussion with the professor that you had misunderstood what he was looking for on one of the essay questions. Emphasize your good grades and the subjects that you loved and leave it at that. Most employers will not push you any further about these areas and being straightforward about them enables you to preempt any negative inference that the employer may be forming. You may also wish to turn a weakness or past mistake into something positive by speaking briefly about how you have changed or what you have learned from the experience. 

Most of the tough questions you might face during an interview will fall into the categories noted below. Take time to anticipate the types of questions likely to be asked in your interviews. Think through what your answers would be without "scripting" them or making them sound too rehearsed. When you are composing an answer to a question, it is helpful to consider the interviewer's reason for asking it. The interviewer may pose hypotheticals or questions about substantive areas of law. By asking these types of questions, interviewers are trying to evaluate how well you reason and analyze and how clearly you think and speak. Your ability to articulate your response is often more important than coming up with the right answer or being an expert on the relevant case law.

Career Goals

  • What are your short/long term career goals?
  • How are you planning to achieve these goals?
  • What two or three things are most important to you in a job?
  • What kind of training/supervision do you want?
  • How would you describe your ideal job?
  • Where do you see yourself five/ten years from now?

Job Specific

  • Why our office/organization?
  • To what other offices have you applied?
  • Why are you looking at this area of specialization?
  • What qualifications do you have that will make you successful at this job?
  • What would the greatest drawback of this job be for you?
  • Why should we select you over all the other candidates?
  • Why this city, town or area? What ties do you have here?      

Personal

  • What is your greatest strength/ weakness?
  • How would you describe yourself as a person?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Are you a team player or do you prefer to work on your own?
  • What is the most difficult/rewarding thing you've ever accomplished?
  • What are your outside interests and hobbies?
  • What is the latest nonlegal book you have read?
  • What is your idea of success?
  • What is important to you in life?

Education

  • Why did you go to law school? Have your goals changed since then?
  • What courses in law school did you enjoy most/least? Why?
  • Who is your favorite professor? Why?
  • What clinical work have you done in law school?
  • In what extracurricular activities have you participated?
  • Why did you choose your undergraduate major?

Work Experience

  • What type of responsibilities have you had in prior work experiences?
  • What did you particularly like/dislike about that work?
  • What tasks are you especially strong/ weak at doing?
  • What major problem did you encounter on a job and how did you handle it?
  • What have you done that shows initiative and creativity?
  • Are you a self-starter or do you prefer guidance on projects?
  • How do you work under pressure?
  • How strong are your writing skills?
  • Why did you leave your prior jobs?
  • Why have you switched from your previous field to law?
Last modified: December 13, 2011

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