interview advice for legal jobs

This specialist interview advice, specifically for our candidates within legal jobs is designed to help you prepare for the tougher interview processes in the current market.

On the back of your CV application, your interviewer will quiz you to assess if you have the right knowledge, skills and experience needed for the position.  Your interviewer will also want to make sure that you’re the right cultural fit for the company/firm and team, while determining if you’ll be a valued and productive addition.  Therefore, you need to sell yourself according to the requirements of your potential employer – and meet what they’re looking for in a successful applicant. Concentrate your answers towards their needs, rather than focusing on your own.

Show your interviewer that you’re better than the other applicants interviewing for the position - that you can bring more and give more to the role, team/department and company/firm than your competition.  Focus on the interview, don’t worry about any external factors that are out of your control (e.g. the number of applicants being interviewed). 

Typically, as the interview closes, you’ll be asked a few questions on the company/firm and the position in question.  Research the company/firm and be prepared, the more you know about the company/firm, the greater your interest and enthusiasm for working there will seem. Be aware of their products, services, reputation, business principles, mission statement, competitors, culture and history.  Look up the countries that they operate in, divisions and news on deals they’ve recently closed. 

Sample legal Interview questions

  1. Why law?
  2. Why did you chose to go to your particular firm?
  3. Why did you qualify into your particular area of law?
  4. Please give an overview of the type of work you have been doing qualification?
  5. What sort of clients  have you acted for?
  6. What is the most interesting transaction you have worked on and please talk us through it in some detail.
  7. How well have you been supervised?
  8. Have you had much experience in overseeing the work of more junior solicitors/paralegals?
  9. Give an example of a technical point of law you have recently learnt?
  10. Give an example of where your advice has assisted your client's commercial needs?
  11. Why have you elected to be a contentious/non-contentious lawyer?
  12. How much involvement have you had in the firm's business development activity?
  13. Have you been involved in pitching for new work for your firm and if so, please talk us through it?
  14. Do you regard yourself as more of a legal technician or a rainmaker for the firm?
  15. Give some practical examples of what you can do as an associate to promote your firm and potentially attract business?
  16. Give examples of any cross-selling credentials you may have; instances where you have capitalised on an opportunity to assist other areas of the business?
  17. What are your billing/ utilisiation targets at your current firm and to what extent have you met with these?
  18. Where do you see your career going over the next five years?
  19. Do you see yourself becoming a partner and if not, what is your ultimate career aspiration?
  20. Why are you seeking to make a move?
  21. What does our firm offer that you are unable to find at your current firm?
  22. What do you like to do outside of work?
  23. What is your greatest weakness?
  24. What development points were highlighted during your most recent performance review?
  25. How do colleagues get the best out of you?
  26. What motivates you?
  27. What are your passions in life?
  28. Who do you admire most?

After the legal Interview

  • If you are interested in the position do convey your interest and enquire about the next interview stage if applicable.  If the interviewer offers the position to you and you want it, again convey your great interest - if you wish for some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for the time.  Set a definite date when you can provide an answer
  • Don’t be too discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed.  The interviewer will probably want to consult with colleagues first or interview other candidates before making a decision
  • If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don’t let your discouragement show.  Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction
  • Thank the interviewer for the time spent with you.

Make sure to ring your consultant as soon as possible to let them know how you found the interview, if you’re interested in the position and if you’d like to work at the company/firm.  Let your consultant know how this role ranks against others that you’ve interviewed for, if there was anything about this job that you wouldn’t want to do and if there was anything that you wanted to ask your interviewer, but didn’t get the chance to. 

Your interviewer will often call your recruitment consultant after the interview to find out your feedback.  With your feedback your consultant will be able to reinforce your interest in the position and keenness to start.  Your consultant will also be able to answer any queries that your interviewer might have that were possibly not addressed fully during the interview.

Try to tell your consultant your feedback as soon as possible – any delay might be looked upon negatively by your potential employer.

Finally, good luck!