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Lawyer Talk: Tips for Interviewing for a Legal Job

June 8, 2022 0 Comments

Rather than be nervous for your upcoming job interview, be prepared, genuine, professional and consider these tips.

After the hard slog of a Law degree, the next major challenge is successfully nailing your interview for your first legal job. Or you might be ready for a change, but haven’t interviewed in years, so feeling a bit rusty.

Just as with any interview, you’ll need to bring your A-game to outshine other candidates and be the last person standing to land the role. Here are some before, during and after tips for interviewing for a legal job that you’ll find useful.

Before the big day: Prepare the brief

Briefs are the ‘meat and veggies’ of what many legal jobs are all about, so treat preparing for your upcoming interview in the same way you would a brief and do your research. The deeper the understanding you have of the law firm during the interview process, the more it will help you make your case for why you should be hired, while also illustrating how invested in working with the firm you are.

Once your job interview is locked in, do some solid research on the firm, starting at the ‘About us’ page for a general overview, the clients/speciality areas of law to be across what the firm does best, and also their ‘news’ page if there is one.

Next, look over the ‘Staff’ page to discover the kinds of professionals the firm hires, which might also give you a basic feel for whether you would be a good fit for the firm.

Let Google be your friend and do a search for both the firm – and its partners and lawyers – to pick up useful news or press about cases it’s been involved with and for digging up reviews about the firm to discover how past clients feel about it. And don’t forget LinkedIn where you might find blog posts, shared links/posts or other information that offers more clues about both the firm and its partners, lawyers and general staff.

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to prep for the kinds of questions you will be asked, which might include:

  • Recent employment history (not just legal jobs or volunteering – think outside of the square on this as other roles you’ve held might be useful to discuss, particularly important if you’re a grad without much law experience)
  • Why you’d be a good fit
  • Career objectives
  • Soft (interpersonal) skills
  • Salary expectations
  • Personal interests

You might also be asked some hypothetical legal questions, so maybe look back over some of your course notes or pull out examples of these to practice with.

Finally, have at least a couple of questions you’d like to ask in the interview. For example, what are their expectations of you? What is the management style? What does the next 1/2/5 years look like at the firm?

Gorilla Jobs Blog Tips For Interviewing For Legal Job Group Of Colleagues Discussing Work In A Board Room
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels

On the day: Dress (and chat) to impress but keep it real

It may seem a no-brainer, but your presentation on the day of the interview is critical and the best way to approach this is to dress as though you’re heading in for a day at the office or to a client meeting.

On your way, try to remain calm and either arrive a little early or, if it’s a remote interview, get set up with all your tech checked and working. Once the interview starts, even if you’re nervous (which is fine, remember to breathe…), keep your tone and how you answer questions both courteous and professional. Even if the ice is broken early and you feel a rapport with the interviewer/panel, don’t get overly familiar.

Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t show them something of your personality – while they will be looking for the most credentialed candidate, giving them a small window into who you are (not just what your CV or Uni results say) allows them to assess you for cultural fit and offers insight into how clients might find you once you’re practising.

What this effectively comes down to is to be genuine, authentic and don’t lie. If you get stuck on a question, be honest about it rather than fumble your way through with a fib of some kind to try to impress. These are lawyers, remember, so they will pick it up quickly.

And, at the end of the interview, without being obsequious or fawning, thank them for the opportunity and leave with a warm smile and handshake if appropriate.

The day after: Thank them again but keep it brief

Within a day of the interview, send through a thank you email that expresses your gratitude for being considered for the role, that once again confirms your interest in working with them and which offers to provide any further information they might still need.

Don’t forget – these are busy professionals who get a tonne of emails a day, so the shorter and more succinct, the better.

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We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!