Interview with a Law Firm—and Ace It

Spring interview time is coming, and with it comes a slight, but noticeable, uptick in legal hiring. After employers review the inevitable flood of resumes, they will want to talk to the candidates behind the paper. While a solid law firm interview can bring you closer to getting hired, a bad one will doom your chances.

Make sure you ace the interview.

Prepare for the law firm interview

Winging it during a law firm interview may sound like fun, but it is a dangerous interview strategy. Review the job posting, including the desired qualifications and job responsibilities. Try to find additional information about the employer and, if possible, the interviewer. Look over your application and be prepared to talk about anything you mention. Develop three or so questions that you can ask that demonstrate your interest and thoughtfulness. Also, if possible, try to do a mock interview with someone who can give you frank feedback.

During the interview, listen

Every question from interviewers is an important one. What do they want to know? What are they not asking you? Answer the questions you are asked, not the ones you wished you were asked. If you need time to respond, ask for a moment to compose your thoughts. Keep a mental checklist of things you want to make sure you mention. If there is time remaining, take a few moments to mention anything of importance that was not discussed.

Be professional throughout the interview

Although you want to create a connection with the interviewer, when in doubt, err on the side of formality. Try not to use slang and keep tabs on crutch words, such as “like”, that undermine your seriousness.  Also, remember to dress appropriately. Generally, regular professional dress (business suit) is safest.

Take full advantage of the opportunity to make your case in person. Law firm interviewing can be a fun and enlightening process if you approach it with a sense of possibility, as opposed to dread.


  1. I like this – concise and excellent advice for anyone attending an interview. I always get my clients to see each question in the interview as an opportunity to ‘sell’ something good about themselves. Go ready with examples of what you have done – inside and outside work – which demonstrate that you have the skills, knowledge and personal attributes to succeed in the job.

  2. Avatar Francis Barragan says:

    This is pretty good. I would also add,

    *keep your answers fairly short. In other words, don’t ramble.
    *and try to be yourself. This is fairly classic as a piece of advice, but the thing is, the market is currently overflowed with candidates, I would think that if you are natural and seem at ease with the people, this can sway the interviewers into your direction.

  3. Avatar Ryan says:

    You have some good tips here. I like the tip about watching yourself use the “like” word. Many people use it when they are nervous and can’t find anything else to say.

  4. Avatar Avocats says:

    What’s OCI? I ask as someone who passed the bar 30 years ago. On-campus interview? It would be helpful to define the term at least once.

Leave a Reply