Preparing for Your Lawyer Interview Questions (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 20, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As in any job interview, questions that are put to lawyer candidates by their potential employers are to verify their knowledge of legal practices, their ability to build confidence in clients, and to determine how they handle caseloads. Making a great impression on the interviewers depends on how well prepared you are to respond to the questions asked. Being able to respond clearly and with confidence increases the chances of being hired. In this article, we learn how to get ready for lawyer interview questions, explore some common questions asked, and provide a list of example questions and answers.

Getting prepared for lawyer interview questions

Preparing for lawyer interview questions is not just about making sure you have adequate copies of your resume, certificates, and references. You may benefit from finding out more about the law firm and also have any information about yourself you like to share. Here's how you can prepare for your interview:

Find out about the law firm

It's a good practice to research the firm and its office culture before you present yourself for an interview. Consider reading up on a few cases the law firm has handled and also find out about its standing within the legal community. Being well informed helps you respond clearly to questions regarding your knowledge about the company, its culture, and why you think you are a good fit for the position. As well, think of some questions to ask the interview panel. These could, for instance, relate to job duties, vacation policy, or staff training.

Have examples of your work handy

Your future employer may want to learn about your writing skills to ensure you know how to explain your case well. They need to know you can express yourself clearly and concisely. Have examples of any research papers you wrote while in law school or documents and memos you put together during your internships or previous employment.

Make a note of the different cases you worked on, including those that challenged your views, those where you had to work with difficult clients, and also those cases that were not too difficult. During an interview, it's always possible to forget some important information, so having a note to jog your memory helps.

Stay calm

Employment interviews, though mostly formal, usually take on a conversational tone. Even though you have prepared well and thought out the answers to questions, there is always the possibility of an interviewer asking a question you may not have considered. If that happens, take a minute to collect your thoughts and respond calmly.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

Common lawyer interview questions

These common questions are for the interviewer to get to know you, to determine your interests, and whether you are a good fit for the firm:

The basic questions

These are examples of questions an interviewer may ask to get a basic understanding of you as a person:

  • What are your interests?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • What action do you take to improve your weaknesses?

  • When you have several cases to handle, how do you prioritize?

  • What do you do when faced with stressful situations?

  • Give us some examples of how you reached a goal you set for yourself.

  • How do you respond to feedback?

  • In five years, where do you see yourself?

  • Name some of your accomplishments.

  • How do your supervisors describe you?

  • What did you choose law for a career?

  • Why do you want to work for us?

  • Why do you think you are a good fit for this firm?

Questions on your experience and background

Questions asked in this part of the interview are to help the interview panel determine how your experience and education fit the position you are being hired for:

  • What area of study at law school did you find most interesting and why?

  • During law school, what societies and extracurricular activities did you involve yourself in?

  • Have you been the lead in a case assigned to you? Tell us the process you followed.

  • Can you give us an example of a complex case you handled and how you managed it?

  • If a court case did not lead to the result you hoped for, what did you learn from it?

  • Tell us about any legal papers you have written and the feedback you received. How did you handle the feedback?

  • Have you worked pro bono?

Related: 40 Interview Questions To Ask About a Company

Probing questions

Probing questions are a way to find out how you build trust, both with your clients and the legal team you work with:

  • What action do you take to ensure your client trusts you?

  • How do you handle a difficult client?

  • How do you keep your client updated on their case?

  • How do you handle a situation where another member of the legal team is being difficult?

  • If there is a conflict of interest in a case assigned to you, what action do you take?

  • When a ruling is not what your client hoped for, how do you handle the situation with the client?

  • A case assigned to you is against your values or beliefs. How do you handle such a situation?

  • Do you have any suggestions that might help make the legal system fairer?

Related: Probing Questions to Improve Communication (With Examples)

Example questions and answers

These questions and answers give you an idea of how to prepare your responses for an interview:

Why did you choose law as a career?

This is when you tell them why you find law interesting and why you see it as being of service to others. You can even mention a case that caught your interest when you were young or about a legal personality whose work drew you to the legal field.

Example: "When I was young, I followed a very interesting court case that got me thinking of law as a career. I feel strongly about ensuring there is justice and fairness for everyone. I believe that being an attorney gives me the opportunity to uphold those core values."

What are your weaknesses?

This is a question most interviewers ask. You can talk about one or two of your weaknesses and what you are doing to address them. By telling the interviewers that you are actively working on managing the problem, you can give a positive response to the question.

Example: "For some time now, I have struggled with prioritizing my work. I know it's important as a lawyer to be mindful of how I handle my caseload. Of late, I have been shadowing a colleague who has excellent organizational skills and am learning how to prioritize my tasks."

Related: List of Weaknesses: 8 Things To Say in an Interview

Tell us about your experience working with a team.

This question allows you to describe your experience of being a team member and how well you adapt to such an environment.

Example: "Teamwork is important because it helps to get through all the aspects of a case faster. We can help each other with tasks and cover all angles of the case. It was amazing to see how well the team supported each other to cover all angles when we had a tough case."

How do you build trust with your client?

Here, the interviewer wants to know about the steps you take to build a good relationship with your client. Keep in mind that the support and advice you give your client and how you conduct yourself with the client impact your employer as well.

Example: "I want my client to know that I am their advocate and that I will always put their interests first. I will let them know about the likely outcomes of the case and how I plan to approach the different aspects. I will tell them that the outcome is as important to me as it is for them."

Tell us about your courtroom experience.

This question allows you to describe how you handle yourself in the courtroom. Be sure to give a detailed answer and describe how you prepare for the day in court, how you present a case, and how you are ready to face any challenges from the opposing legal team.

Example: "I spend the day before the case comes up for hearing, going through the notes, making sure I have covered all aspects. I confirm the witnesses know the time and the courthouse they must be at. During the hearing, I pay close attention and make notes of what the opposition is saying, so I am ready with counter-responses."

Why do you want to work with us?

This is your chance to make a strong case for yourself. Talk about how much you appreciate the work the firm does and how your interests in the legal field and the cases they take on are a match.

Example: "I have watched with interest the cases you take on and how well your team presents them. My interests are also in the same field of (mention area) law, and getting to be part of your team gives me the opportunity to sharpen my skills. It's also a privilege to be part of a team that is valued in the legal community."

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