The kind of interview you’ll have to face when applying for a legal job will depend on the company and the job you’ve applied for candidates can typically anticipate interviews via phone as well as a video-based interview as well as the Panel interview that could occur through a mix of fee-earning colleagues.
Jack Yusuf, trainee solicitor at White & Case explains the three kinds of questions you’ll be thrown against during a job interview:
- Questions about motivation – in which the interviewer asks you to give your personal reasons why you are an attorney for commercial law and applying to the specific firm that you are interested in.
- Compelling questions Interviewers will ask you to present examples of how you possess the necessary skills for an attorney in training.
- Questions on commercial awareness are questions about commercial subjects to help you know your level of awareness.
In the course of interviewing for training contracts, you may also be asked to present the scenario of a case study where you’ll go through a variety of documents and present to the panel members on the risk and opportunities that could be faced by the prospective client.
As with every job interview it’s important to be ready. Look over the following sample questions and find out how you can answer these questions.
1. What are you looking to gain by aspiring to become solicitor?
It may sound like a straightforward opener, however it actually throws several candidates off their feet.
In your answer, think about the kind of company you’re interviewing with. Commercial law firms want you to see that you have an interest that is genuine and particular working in the field of commercial, not only general legal work”, says Jack. Interviewers require proof that you are knowledgeable about the job’s requirements are.’
Check out the company’s main website, not only their recruitment site, since it is often filled with useful information on the various industries the company is involved in.
This question could be phrased in a variety of ways, including:
- Why should you choose to pursue a career in law?
- Why have you decided to apply for our services?
Make sure you are specific and personal in your answer. Provide instances of events that have led to your current interests. Conversely, avoid general descriptors (e.g. “intellectually stimulating” or “fast-paced’) that could apply to many other fields”said Jack.
Concerns about the reasons you choose the kind of legal practice you’d like to practice are frequent, so make sure you are prepared to justify your choice.
Be sure to highlight your wide range of your legal experience and pinpoint the key factor prompted you to choose a career path in your field of interest and the reasons. Detail the work experiences you’ve gained in the field you’re interested in and explain what it has done to increase your passion for this particular field of law.
Vacation programs don’t have to be the only one that is worth your time, so be certain to mention any the duration of your shadowing program as well as other activities that are relevant to your academic. For instance, you can utilize your time volunteering for an organization that promotes victim’s rights to show your love for criminal law, or your leadership role as a captain of a sports team at your university team to demonstrate your interest in sports law, or your design and management of a local occasion like an event for fashion or music or arts festival to demonstrate your commercial acumen.
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2. Have you submitted your application to other companies?
This isn’t a trick or a snitch. Be truthful and precise in your response.
Give three or more companies you’ve submitted applications to, and give a similar reason – for example, they share a similar philosophy, or offer every trainee an international secondment. This will show that you have a consistent approach to your application. It shows employers that you’re dedicated to your profession and are determined to establish a successful career in a specific field of practice.
Don’t be afraid to refer your application to a rival company. If you are able to impress your other aspects of the interview, this could be in your favor since employers are less likely to choose an outstanding candidate to work with the competitors.
3. What did you find that attracted you to this company?
Interviewers want for evidence that you have done your research and really would like to work there”, says Jack. Make sure you are specific about the company and show your interest by demonstrating any relevant experience. For instance did you meet with one of the firm’s representatives at a fair held by the university? Participate in an open-day? Connect with someone on LinkedIn? Did you go to an event in the legal field that the firm attended an event?
You can also draw upon your experiences, including insight days or any other work experience which proved that they were the right company for you.
Are there advantages, initiatives, employee networks or programs exclusive to the company that differentiate them from other companies? Be aware that a response like “Because you pay more wages to trainees’ isn’t likely to be a big hit with.
Also, demonstrate your understanding by citing a few recent instances of interest, or express your desire to collaborate with specific clients.
You might also be asked to:
- What do you know about our company?
- Why should you choose to join us over our rivals?
Find out about the best UK law firms and then look for jobs in law.
4. How do you be different as a trainee?
In the area of the training contract concern, there are more applicants than spots and this is the perfect chance to showcase your unique advantages and explain the value you can bring to the company.
Find your key strengths and experience with real-world examples. Do not just claim you’re a brilliant problem solver. Instead, explain to the interviewer the way you showed this ability during a mooting contest for students. Try to choose examples from a variety of situations, such as your studies at university as well as legal experience in work, or other extracurricular activities,’ suggests Jack.
It’s also a great occasion to show that the values and culture of the company align with your personal values. Are there any charitable or social events you’d like to participate in? Are there any sporting organizations or teams you’d like to be part of? Would you like to take on an active role and leave your mark on networks of employees like LGBTQ+ and women’s or ethnicity groups? Do you see any gaps in the company’s social services that you could be able to fill?
5. If you had the power to make any law effective, which one would you choose, and the reason behind it?
Another variation on the question is “which law would you prefer to alter and why? These types of questions are a test of your knowledge about legislation and provide insight into your judgments on the law. Your answers will highlight the areas of law that you are interested in.
Be wary of anything that is controversial. A law or topic that is currently featured in the media is a great option since it proves that your legal expertise is current. Or, you can consider introducing an act that could directly benefit the company or its customers.
6. Provide an instance of when you made use of your skill to bargain.
In a law-related interview, showing your knowledge of the company is great however, you’ll also have to demonstrate that you’re ready to be hired. This is the point where the strength or competence-based inquiries are crucial.
The questions ask you to present specific examples of instances where you’ve demonstrated the essential skills and capabilities They are a typical aspect in the majority of interviewing for jobs.
When you can, draw inspiration from your work experience in a legal capacity However, don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from your time at the university, in extracurricular activities, gap year experiences or work that is part-time.
Utilize the method of STAR (situation or task, result, and the result) method to organize your answer.
Other questions based on competence and skills are:
- Let us know about the time you worked in a group.
- Please give an example of when you faced conflicts and the way you dealt with the issue.
- What are the achievements you’re most satisfied with?
- What would your friends say about you?
7. In a meeting with a client, your supervisor makes a mistake in giving advice. What should you do?
Similar questions include:
- It’s a quiet office and a customer calls you for immediate advice. What should you do?
- Would you be able to do when three of your friends each came to you with work they needed to be to finish before 5pm?
- How would you respond if a customer demanded you to do something which was legal but morally unsound?
When questions that focus around a question may be difficult for you to respond, these questions are posed to test your judgment in a particular situation.
The most effective way to prepare for the type of questions you will be asked is to study the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Code of Conduct which stipulates that solicitors and trainees should act with integrity and be in the best interest of every client. It also says that you must provide an acceptable level of service to your clients and conduct yourself in a way that is consistent with the trust the public has in the person you represent. Anything that goes against the rules of conduct requires the taking of action.
8. Could you explain to us an issue that is currently affecting law firms?
Legal recruiters claim that commercial awareness is among many of the crucial abilities that candidates can have.
Your answer must demonstrate that you are aware of regulatory, industry and economic, cultural, social issues as well the company’s identity and organization.
To answer questions about commercial awareness, watch on the news, and then read daily newspapers. Join legal newsletters and set up notifications alerts to your mobile to be informed of the latest business information. Visit the official websites of the company as well as follow them on their official social media profiles.
You could also be asked to:
- What are the biggest problems facing law firms in cities in the present?
- What recent legal developments you have been reading about? And what is the state of their implementation?
9. What three historical figures you would suggest to attend a dining celebration and what would be the reason?
Some candidates do not come up with off-the-wall issues, but certain companies use these questions to help them make sure they know the candidate better and to determine how well they think on their feet.
In the majority of cases there’s no correct or incorrect answer, so don’t be afraid. The recruiters are simply interested in hearing your thoughts on the problem.
You should think through your responses to show logical thinking and ability to converse. Then back your answer with a reason.
Similar types of questions comprise:
- If you were on an island in the desert, which five things would you bring and the reason for each?
- Define religion.
- How many cars can you find within the UK?
Tips for Law Firm Interviews
A great way to wrap your interview is to take the chance to ask inquiries of your own. You should ask questions that reflect your enthusiasm for progress and establishing a long-term career within the company. For instance, you can inquire about the type of job that trainees are given, the abilities that the interviewer discovered to be important in past trainees, and any plans that the firm may have to expand or invest in the coming years. If you are looking to ask more general questions.
The most effective advice is to remember that interview are about people. This is your chance to find out if you’d prefer to join the firm and the interviewer wants to determine what you can contribute as an part of their team. The interviewer is trying to determine whether they’d like to work with you. They’re trying out whether you’re worthy of the investment. Are they willing working with you all day? Are they able to put you before a potential client? Don’t be afraid. Be confident and authentic.