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How Can I Answer These 14 Law Firm Interview Questions?

Congratulations, you’ve secured an interview with a law firm! But how can you make sure you impress? Read on for our top tips on answering these common interview questions...

Most people find the interview process daunting, so if you are worried about it, don’t think you’re alone. But by preparing for your law firm interview, you can help to make sure you get the best outcome. Whether that’s being offered the job, finding out what specialism you want to go into or getting experience.  

One of the ways you can prepare for your law firm interview is by practising answering questions that you might be asked. We’ve put together 14 common law firm interview questions and how to answer them. Read on to find out more… 

1.  “Tell me about yourself”

Ok, this isn’t stuff you’d include in your dating profile. Your interviewer wants to get to know you, and you want to stand out, but make sure your answers can be linked to your career in law too. This doesn’t mean reciting your CV and application though; the interviewer should already know this information. 

Form an answer around the following questions:

  • Why did you decide to go to law school?
  • Why did you choose your law school?
  • What have you learnt from your previous training contracts?
  • Think about any big accomplishments you’ve had in your studies and career so far and how they link to what you like about the role you’re applying for
  • Your interests in the legal industry

2.  “Why did you choose law?”

We touched on this above in getting to know you, but interviewers might want to reiterate why you chose to study law and why you are looking for this particular career because the role of a lawyer isn’t for everyone. You should be able to give your motivations, your interests and ambitions as a lawyer. 

3.  “Why do you want to work for our firm?” 

Any interviewer will want to know your motivations and intentions for joining their firm. If you are applying for your first role, it’s likely that you’re applying to more than one firm and the interviewer will know this! But make sure your answer isn’t a generic, one size fits all answer. Make the reasons for applying for each firm as specific as possible.

Are you interested in one of their key practice areas? Do they share a value with you? Do you like the look of their office? Have you followed any of their cases?

4.  “Why should we choose you?”

This is your chance to shine! What is great about you, why do you fit the role, why would this firm be lucky to hire you? Here, talk about reasons that set you apart from your competitors – this could be university modules, your dissertation subject, experience in a specific area, key traits law firms are looking for and more.

5.  “How do you handle stressful work situations?”

It’s no secret that law firms are a high-pressure environment, and lots of lawyers suffer from burnout. It’s important to minimise conflicts and situations where you feel stress, identify the symptoms and have strategies in place if you feel like things are getting too much. So for this question, talk about ways you reduce and minimise stress.

6.  “Tell me about a time you…”

A law firm interview is all about giving examples and showing your strengths. So, you’ll have asked questions like tell me about a time you…

  • Worked in a team
  • Overcame a challenge
  • Were resilient
  • Had to manage someone’s expectations
  • Had to tell someone senior to you that they were wrong
  • Had to negotiate
  • Went above and beyond to deliver for a client

And it’s important that your answers are focused, go into detail and can be relatable to the role you are applying for, even if they aren’t necessarily from a law firm.

7.  “What are your biggest strengths?”

These strengths should fit with the desired personality traits of a law firm and the job description, and you should be able to give examples of providing all of the strengths you provide. Have a look at our blog post here for what traits law firms are looking for.

8. “How would you work with a difficult client or court member? 

Not every case is going to be smooth sailing! Therefore, you need to be prepared to deal with difficult clients and cases, and when things don’t go your client’s way. For this question, demonstrate how you have been able to keep calm under pressure and negotiate a good outcome for a difficult client, no matter the circumstances.

9.  “Why do you think attention to detail is important for lawyers?”

Attention to detail is a key skill for lawyers. The misplacement of a comma or a full stop could completely change the meaning of a contract, therefore, there’s no denying that attention to detail is important. Talk about why you think it’s important, times you’ve seen lack of attention to detail be detrimental and how you have shown good attention to detail.

10. “Tell me about any cases you have been involved in” 

Whether these are assignments at university, or in a previous role, it’s important to be able to show you have some experience in handling legal cases. Talk about the case as a whole, what you found, the outcome and what you learnt from the situation.

11. “How do you handle feedback?”

By taking feedback onboard and improving your knowledge, customer service and efficiency, you will help the firm to excel. So, it’s important to be able to give examples of times you have received feedback and have taken the comments on board to improve the outcome for a client, or a piece of work.

12. “Talk about current issues affecting law firms”

Commercial awareness is an incredibly important trait to possess as a lawyer, therefore you are likely to be asked to demonstrate this trait. One of the ways the interviewer might do this is to ask about current issues affecting law firms, or the challenges that are being overcome in the industry or any changes to legislation that have caught your eye.

To answer this question, you should keep up to date with industry, regulatory, economic, cultural and social issues through legal newsletters, local and national news and legal websites.

13. “What cases are you currently following?”

As above, this question might be asked to show how commercially aware you are, and how interested you are in following cases in law. Ideally, these cases would be related to the specialisms of the firm you are applying for, but if you are following timely, and large-scale cases these would be ok to use too.

14. “What area of law are you interested in and why?”

When answering this, it’s important to ensure your interests line up with the services the law firm you’re interviewing for offers. For example, if you are interested in criminal law, but you are interviewing at a conveyancing firm, the interviewer might question whether you have a long-term interest in their firm. 

It’s good to have a passion and a goal, but make sure you express that you are not closed off from trying other areas of law too.  

Ready to interview for your next law firm role?

Practising these 14 interview questions should put you in good stead for showing law firms your skills, knowledge and interests helping to determine whether you and the firm are a good fit.

Head to our jobs page to find out what vacancies are currently available.

If you have any top tips for answering interview questions for law firms, let us know in the comments below.