How to prepare for a legal interview - A Junior Lawyer's Guide
Being a lawyer can be challenging and securing your first full time legal practice role is an important milestone in your career. However, the first step towards this goal is facing the interview process. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare for an interview as a junior lawyer.
Research the Firm, Company, or Government Department
Before stepping into the interview room, it's crucial to understand the enterprise you’re applying to and the specific legal practice group. Conduct thorough research on the areas of practice, recent matters, clients, and any notable achievements. Familiarise yourself with the enterprises’ culture, values, and ethos. This knowledge not only demonstrates your genuine interest but also helps you tailor your responses to align with the enterprise’s strategic and operational goals.
Know Your Resume
Be prepared to discuss every aspect of your resume, from your academic achievements to your relevant experiences and skills. Anticipate questions about any gaps in your resume and be ready to explain them. Overall, context matters - what is your story and how well can you articulate it?
Understand the Legal Landscape
Stay updated on recent legal developments, especially in the practice area relevant to the group with whom you’re interviewing. Be ready to discuss significant cases, legislative changes, or emerging trends. Think about the broader policy context. Demonstrating knowledge of current legal affairs showcases your ability to link ideas and identify solutions, as well as your interest in and commitment to the profession.
Prepare for Behavioural Questions
Interviewers often ask behavioural questions to gauge your soft skills and assess how you handle different situations. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses. Be ready to provide specific examples from your experiences that highlight skills like teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and communication.
Practice Common Interview Questions
Rehearsing responses to common interview questions can help you articulate your thoughts clearly and confidently. Questions like "Why do you want to work here?" or "Tell me about a time you faced a challenging situation" are likely to be asked. Check out this short video for simple steps to help with your interview preparation.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
Prepare (but don’t over prepare!) insightful questions to ask the interviewer. This demonstrates your interest in the business and your eagerness to learn. Ask about the enterprises’ expectations for junior lawyers, mentoring opportunities, and the kind of work you can expect to be involved in.
Choose your interview attire wisely. Opt for professional, business-appropriate attire. Dressing respectfully for the occasion and in a way that makes you feel confident, continues to matter.
Arrive Early and Be Courteous
Punctuality and courtesy go a long way in making a positive impression. Arrive at the interview location with ample time to spare, and treat everyone you encounter with respect, from the receptionist to the interviewers.
Preparing for a junior lawyer interview requires a combination of research, practice, and professionalism. By familiarising yourself with the enterprise – be it law firm, corporate in-house, or government legal practice - showcasing your skills, and demonstrating a genuine passion for the legal profession, you increase your chances of making a lasting impression. Remember, confidence, authenticity, and a genuine interest in the role will set you apart from the competition.