Law School Discussion

Interview Questions

Interview Questions
« on: February 16, 2005, 11:08:49 AM »
I just learned I was selected for an interview for spring OCI.  Anyone who has already been interviewing, do you have any tips?  What are the typical questions you have been asked?  Will they look at my grades and question why I did better in one class as opposed to another?

Re: Interview Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2005, 04:45:32 PM »
1)What type of law do you want to practice?
2)Why do you want to work for us?
3)Do you have any questions?

Suggested answer template:

1)Something the firm does, preferably an area in which they need to recruit.  As in, "I'm interested in commercial litagation," (safe broad category at a large firm interview) as opposed to, "I want to do appeals level imigration cases," (unless you really do and the firm actually practices in that area).  It's okay if your not sure, you can add that you are excited to develop your interests more narrowly over the summer.  They know that most law students know nothing about the real work of the various practice groups.

2)The firm has a website.  Something on this website should catch your eye- just make it clear you have done your research and express sincere interest in working for them.  Number 2 in our class truly wanted to work at a small firm.  He did not get any callbacks for the firms he wanted because he didn't clearly articulate this desire.  The firms passed him up because they assumed with his rank, it was a waste of time to interview him b/c biglaw would snatch him up.  Meanwhile, sure enough, the big firms were happy to talk to him. 

3) Yes, you have questions.  Thoughtful insightful questions, not insipid inquiries you could have answered for yourself if you did your research.  My all-time favorite, "Tell me why you intially choose BigAss Firm, and why you choose to stay.  This gets the interviewer talking, hopefully you can keep a nice conversation going from here.  It flatters them because you express respect for their opinion and you learn something too.  In second interviews I always asked about firm culture.  I wanted to know more than the policy, I wanted to know what actually happened when a woman came back from maternity leave.  Did she get sidelined or was she back in the thick of things and promoted to partner.  This is even a good barometer for men to check if you care at all about your quality of life.

Also I would develop a well crafted sales pitch for why your background makes you a good fit and provided you with tangible skills that will translate into the legal field.  Anticipate the employers questions or areas of concern.  I was a theatre major.  One interviewer looked me in the eye and said, "I have to tell you, when I saw your resume, I thought it was bull that we were interviewing a person with this background.  But after five minutes you completely sold me and I will give my recommendation to the committee that you be hired."

Also of course, shake hands firmly, smile and make eye contact.  They want to know what kind of impression you will make on a client.

Re: Interview Questions
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2005, 09:07:49 PM »
Thanks for the great advice Rapunzel..  how uncompetitive and friendly of you :)

Re: Interview Questions
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2005, 04:15:54 AM »
your career center won't tell you this, so please take this into consideration:
on campus interviews don't mean anything.  They're not real interviews.

The big law firms have cutoffs, whether or not they tell you.  If you're not within the percentage, there's nothing you can say to get the job.  If you an undergrad in a hard science, the rules change.

some questions asked of my colleagues:
what is favorite color?
if you  were an animal, what kind would you want to be?
how did you get your scar? (that one was in the top 10% - she got the offer)

and yes - you might very well be asked about your poor grade.

I do recommend that you take these interviews seriously, even if you're in the unfortunate position that the interviewer does not.  But remember that it's really about your grades.  Seriously.

Re: Interview Questions
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2005, 05:12:33 AM »
one more thing.  I only listed those inane questions as anedoctal evidence of how meaningless the interviews are substantively, not to suggest that you will be asked those questions.  I was not asked any ridiculous questions at my OCIs.