Top 3 Law Firm Interview Questions

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hey guys welcome to associate tribe this

is going to be a quick follow-up video

to the interview series talking about

OCI interviews and callback interviews

and in particular in this video we're

going to be talking about the three most

common questions that you will be asked

in a law firm interview so let's go

ahead and get started


question number one why did you go to

law school now the best answer to this

question is generally going to be a mix

of honesty but sort of an elaborated

version of the truth also hyping

yourself up and emphasizing professional

characteristics that a law firm is going

to be looking for so some people have an

absolute great answer to this question

and it's completely tailored to working

at a law firm but most of us generally

have to get a little creative with our

answers because it could be some version

of I don't really know or there were a

lot of different aspects or you know the

worst of the worst which is I had

nothing else to do so I decided to do

this or it's being paid for for me

something like that so you don't want

those to be your answers you want it to

be sort of a more substantive

well-rounded answer and so here are some

suggestions on how you can go about

forming your answer if you had an

internship or a professional work

experience where you interacted with

lawyers or you were exposed to lawyers

or you saw a lawyer in action then you

can say you know this is what I did

before this is what my contact with

lawyers was and I value the type of work

that they were doing and I saw that as a

really viable career path for myself if

you have family members who are lawyers

or family friends who are lawyers you

can say you know I grew up around

lawyers or I had a lot of contact with

lawyers and their work always seemed

really interesting and really

challenging and really diverse and so

that's how I initially got involved and

interested in law school if you don't

have something sort of concrete to point

to you can always say you know during my

years in high school or during my years

in college I was really strong in

reading writing and problem-solving

those are really strong areas for me and

I thought they'd be really well tailored

to law school and you know having been

in law school a year or two years I

really have found that those strengthen

that those interests have come in Hey

and I think that they would be really

applicable to a law firm as well so

again anything that hikes yourself up

ties it into a law firm and is grounded

in a little bit of credibility is gonna

be your best bet the answer would be

careful about giving is one that's too

altruistic so one that is you know I

went to law school because I wanted to

help people or I'm really interested in

in serving marginalized communities or

working with nonprofit projects things

like that because that's not

unfortunately how a law firm is run

that's not how they make money that's

not their business model and so if you

are too far on the altruistic continuum

you could be viewed as not a credible

match for the firm for not understanding

what it is they actually do there and

the reason I know this is because I gave

a similar answer and one of my callback

interviews I was asked why I went to law

school and I told the truth I told them

that I had gone to 6-week nonprofit

immersion experience in Nicaragua that

we had done different builds and we had

done put on different workshops and that

really solidified my decision to go to

law school and at the end of this story

the associate just sort of looks at me

and says you know that sounds great but

that's not what we do here are you sure

you want to work at a law firm and you

wouldn't be you know more appropriately

positioned in a non-profit or a

government role and I just remember at

the end of that callback interview day

it was sort of interview number six the

end of the day and I was I was

interviewing with a managing attorney of

the firm and by that time my answer that

I'd given at the beginning of the day

had gotten to her and she said you know

I heard that the reason you went to law

school was you know for these sort of

you know altruistic sort of nonprofit

purposes I don't know that you would be

a good fit for this firm I think that's

really admirable but again that's not

what we do here and I wound up not

getting a summer associate job offer

from them so you know if you are going

to go down the route of applying for the

summer associate clerkships and you do

want to work in a law firm you are going

to have to find a way to tailor that

answer to a more law firm appropriate

response and to show them that you're

interested in the business that they do

and you understand what that business is

question number two what practice area

are you interested in

this is the worst question ever law

students hate answering this because

you've probably been in law school a

total of one full year you probably

don't have any professional experience

really being able to credibly claim that

you're interested in one practice area

or another and law firms know this but

they're still gonna ask you anyway and

so you want to have an answer that

something other than I don't know

because that's what a lot of people are

going to say and you really want to take

this opportunity to stand out and so how

I would recommend answering this

question is to lean towards something

specific but then sort of back off with

the caveat of leaving your options open

and so what I would say is I'm still

getting to know the different areas of

the law I know there are a lot of

different practices out groups out there

that do a lot of different things but I

did see that you guys have an employment

and labor litigation group for example

and that is something that I think I

would be interested in I'm actually

looking at taking that class next

semester but of course I would love to

see what other practice groups here do

especially ones that are up and coming

and looking for associate help are

really growing within the firm and so

that sort of just like leads itself into

another conversation topic that you can

start talking about the different

practice groups and what's growing in

the firm but it also just gives a little

bit more substance a little bit more

well-roundedness to your answer other

than just litigation or commercial or I

don't know the one thing to watch out

for with these answers though is look

hung the law firms webpage to make sure

they have the practice group you are

planning to say so that even if it's

something general like litigation that

they actually have litigation groups

because not all firms do both question

number three why are you interested in

our law firm now this is also a question

that law students hate to answer because

the honest answer is probably because

you're willing to pay me straight out of

law school with zero legal experience

but you can't say that you have to humor

them and make them feel special so here

are various ways that you can go about

answering that question if you have a

family member or a friend or you met

with an alumni before the interview you

can say credibly that you have met with

someone who works with this firm that

they speak really highly of it that they

really enjoy their time there and that

you understand that that's really high

praise given what high demands working

in a law firm are if the firm has a

niche practice group that you're

interested in or how personal

experiencing or could incredibly talk

about then you can say I'm particularly

interested in this practice group and I

understand that not all firms have this

and I'm really excited about getting to

know the kind of work that you guys do

you can also say that you had a great

OCI interview with ex attorney or Y

attorney remembering their names is very

helpful and that they made you really

excited about the firm got you really

excited about the thought of working

there about being a part of the team and

about being a part of the culture that's

a really great answer too and if all

else fails just go with flattery it

always works the attorney is not going

to contradict you and you can say that

the firm has a great reputation the

legal community that you heard really

great things about the caliber of the

attorneys the interesting and

challenging work how they have a really

collaborative team structure how they

give great substance of opportunities to

young associates so go with flattery if

nothing else and it's not like the

attorneys gonna disagree with you and

say no actually this is a terrible place

toward none of that's true so whether

you've heard it or not that's a great

failsafe as well and the fourth bonus

question and that is not particularly

substantive that gets asked all the time

is who else have you met with and

generally speaking the attorney is not

trying to trip you up or put you on the

spot they really are just trying to have

a conversation starter and trying to

bond with you because the people that

you met with at OCI the people that you

met with earlier in the day during the

callback are people that they know

personally right they're friends with

them they're colleagues and so they're

just trying to find common ground that

they can start the interview with start

the conversation with and so it's not

going to crush you if you don't know the

names of the attorneys but if you happen

to remember them if you can jot them

down if you can remind yourself it

actually does look really really good

and so just keep that in mind as a bonus

as something to give you extra points

for your first impression that's it I

hope you guys found this video and all

of the videos of the law firm interview

series helpful if you did go ahead and

drop a comment let me know what worked

for you what in particular helped and of

course if you have any other additional

questions about interviewing at a law

firm and if you're interested in

learning more about law school about

working in a law firm about being a

lawyer in general go ahead and click

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out each week until then I wish you guys

the best of luck and I'll see you in the

next video