At Ascendo Resources, our award-winning team of industry experts know exactly how to prepare our candidates for successful legal job interviews. Whether our candidates are seasoned professionals or just starting out, strong interview skills and preparation can take the stress and worry out of the process and get them well on their way to make the best moves for their career.
Whether you are interviewing in person or virtually, these tips will help you land your next legal career! Here we share with you our insight for a successful legal job interview:
Be Aware – Market Developments in the Industry
Regardless of the industry, it is important to know the market developments as you head into your interview, and this is especially true when preparing for your legal interview. There could be any number of developments relevant to your prospective employers, and you can stay on top of all the latest issues and important matters. Joining online forums is a great way to stay up-to-date, plus it also increases your network connections.
Dress for the First Impression
You’ve likely heard the expression, “You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression.” It’s true, and your interview is your chance to make a first impression that matters. Dress professionally and appropriately for the position and the firm with which you are interviewing. It is important that you always appear for your legal interview in appropriate business attire:
- Professional matching suits in dark neutral colors – navy blue, black, and grey
- For ladies, a skirt suit or pant suit are both appropriate – skirts should be to the knee
- Keep jewelry and makeup simple – nothing too extravagant
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many interviewers have been turning to virtual interviews on Zoom or other webcam services. Whichever way the employer chooses to interview you, you should always dress business professional in order to make a good first impression!
Be Prepared – With Questions and Answers
You’ll want to have applicable questions ready for your interview, as asking questions can show your interviewer that you are not only serious about the position, but also ambitious. Equally important to the interview process, are the answers to your questions, especially if your questions are designed to make you appear intelligent or clever. Always be prepared with answers to your own questions in case the interviewer redirects it back to you.
Here are a few common legal interview questions your interviewer may ask:
- Why did you choose to study law?
- What did you do between college and law school?
- Tell me about your paralegal internship last summer.
- What qualities do you think a good lawyer should have?
- What would make you a good trial advocate?
- How would you build a trusting relationship with a client?
- Which of our practice areas are you most passionate about?
Here are essential questions you should ask your interviewer:
- What kind of cases are you currently working on?
- Could you tell me more about what practice areas you specialize in?
- How would you describe the office environment?
Showcase Your Successes
Your curriculum vitae is your first opportunity to sell yourself to the potential employee, making it crucial to highlight your career success stories. For example, highlight the time when you interned at a law firm. Add successes to your CV, offering up key points, emphasizing your experience and qualifications. In addition to selling yourself, doing so allows you to further develop your personal brand and demonstrate to hiring managers you are the person with whom they want to work.
Know the Details
Obviously, you can’t list all your professional history details on your CV, which means you have to know the details of your significant successes and be well-prepared, and able to articulate them clearly and concisely when asked about your previous roles. Here are a few examples:
- Briefly mention your work routine when interning as a paralegal during undergraduate/law school
- Highlight your role responsibilities in any law school clubs or organizations you were involved in
- Explain why you were selected to receive any awards or recognition that are listed on your CV
Frame Your Experience
Framing your experience is describing your experience in a positive way so that it is tailored to the role for which you’re applying. Framing your experience can also be utilized as a way to communicate to potential employers your desire to take on more responsibilities. For example, it is important that you mention how your strengths and experiences from undergraduate/law school or a past legal job can apply to your new legal position. Detailing your professional history as shown above, will essentially help frame your experiences in a positive way. Don’t forget to mention your passion for the legal industry and how you hope to keep learning and growing with the new firm.
Keep in mind, it is best to avoid any negative remarks regarding your current or former employers, plus it offers no benefits to the new position you’re applying for.
Highlight Your Soft Skills
Balance is everything, including the delicate balance between hard and soft skills, which includes not only your technical skills and legal expertise, but also your ability to partner with team members and handle a variety of stakeholders skillfully.
Top soft skills you want to highlight in a legal interview:
- Oral and written communication
- Great client service
- Time management
- Attention to detail
While knowing the latest industry trends, having answers and questions prepared, and dressing your best is essential, it is always important to relax and remain level-headed during your interview. Always remember to be open and engaged during your interview. You will be most successful if you can build a good rapport with the interviewer; whether they are a hiring manager or senior partner in the firm.
Finding the Ideal Fit with the Help of Ascendo Legal
Ascendo Legal delivers tailored project and staffing solutions to corporate legal departments and law firms to meet each entity’s unique needs. Our professional team is overflowing with legal expertise, including exceptional knowledge regarding complex issues, time and budget constraints, and clients-specific needs. Ascendo’s full suite of legal services includes project solutions, permanent placements, and temporary staffing.
Leveraging their experience and expertise, Ascendo Legal partners with clients and candidates to make perfect matches with great effectiveness and success. Some legal positions we staff include:
- General Counsel
- Associate General Counsel
- Attorneys (partners and associates)
- Legal and administrative support staff
- Law firm administration (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, as well as administrators in Accounting, Billing, Human Resources, IT, or Marketing)
For more information on partnering with Ascendo to discover a great new position or to find the most qualified candidate for a legal role, contact us today!