.

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
desichhori
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:56 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby desichhori » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:21 pm

Do wait-listed candidates who've been asked to discuss their questions over the phone consider this as some sort of an interview? Should such candidates approach the phone call any differently than traditional admissions interviews?

User avatar
luuma
Posts: 246
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:04 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby luuma » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:18 pm

You are GOD SENT!!!

kappycaft1 wrote:By the way, I thought I should mention one thing about my interview with Northwestern because it seems pertinent to all interviews. I remembered that my off-site alumnus interviewer for Northwestern had a form that he was filling out during our interview, so I did some Googling and found an entire handbook that contains the form that interviewers submit as well as how to judge the criteria for each applicant.
The form can be accessed here (or in case it gets removed, I've uploaded it here (LinkRemoved) as a back-up).

Just to cite some of the key criteria on the form:

Northwestern wrote:INTERVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
The Admissions Committee relies on the personal interviews to evaluate ten criteria about the applicant: Maturity (“M”), Sincerity and Concern for Others (“SCFO”), Listening Skills (“LS”), Intellectual Ability (“IA”), Career Progression (“CP”), Project Management (“PM”), Career Focus (“CF”), Extracurricular Involvement (“XC”), Leadership Potential (“LP”), and Motivation for Northwestern (“NUM”). A description of each of these criterion and examples of what might constitute an “on par” rating in each category is provided beginning on the next page of this Handbook.

The interview report form asks you to rate how the candidate compares to other interviewees along each criterion. You are also asked to provide your overall impression of the candidate’s interpersonal skills based on the interview as a whole. The Admissions Committee is particularly interested in how each candidate compares to other people you have interviewed, and you are asked to indicate whether the candidate is stronger, on par, acceptable but slightly weaker, or significantly weaker than other interviewees.

Ideally, you should compare each candidate against current Northwestern Law students or other Northwestern Law applicants you have interviewed. If you have not interviewed many Law School applicants, please use other professional interviewees as your reference point. In addition to completing the scoring grid provided on the first page of the evaluation form, please use the second page of the form to write descriptive comments for each evaluative criterion.

Where possible, please try to provide specific examples of things the applicant said or did during the interview that influenced your evaluation. Although we need the scoring grid for recordkeeping purposes, it is quite often the case that the interviewer’s written comments are far more helpful to the Admissions Committee’s substantive evaluation of the candidate’s interpersonal skills than the scoring grid.

EVALUATIVE CRITERIA
Maturity (M) - Look for a healthy self-confidence and a sense of strengths and weaknesses. Most applicants are able to appear poised, under control, and polite. Stronger ratings should be reserved for those candidates with an outstanding presence and a dynamic personality. Weaker ratings should be given to those candidates who are outwardly nervous, fidgety, or show other signs of immaturity or lack of composure.

Sincerity and Concern for Others (SCFO) – Most candidates likely will fall into the “on par” category here. Candidates who are extremely self-centered or who display excessive egos should receive weaker ratings in this category. Stronger ratings should be reserved for those candidates who have demonstrated a strong commitment to assisting others (oftentimes through extensive community or other public service).

Listening Skills (LS) - Weaker ratings should be given to those interviewees who are longwinded, who try to control the interview, or who fail to answer the specific question you pose. An “on par” candidate is a decent conversationalist who provides responsive answers of an appropriate length. A stronger candidate might be an active listener who is able to relate answers to earlier parts of the conversation.

Intellectual Ability (IA) – This criterion focuses on the applicant’s ability to handle the academic rigor of a Northwestern Law education. To the best of your ability, indicate how likely you think the applicant is to excel at Northwestern Law. You can consider the difficulty of the applicant’s college major, whether the applicant successfully completed substantial writing projects in college and/or at work, the applicant’s ability to think on his/her feet, how clearly the applicant articulates his/her thoughts, etc. Please note that you do not need to solicit the applicant’s GPA or LSAT score; that information is available to the Admissions Committee through other means. You are free to ask the applicant for such information if you like, but you may also rely on qualitative factors instead of quantitative measurements when evaluating the candidate’s intellectual ability.

Career Progression (CP) – This criterion evaluates the length and quality of the candidate’s work experience. Over 95% of past entering students have worked for at least one year prior to beginning law school; over 80% have had two years or more of work experience. Applicants who are college seniors generally have had at least two professional business or legal internships. Stronger ratings should be reserved for applicants who have two or more years of quality postcollege, career/business-related work experience (it need not be legal experience).

Project Management (PM) – Here, we are trying to gauge the extent to which the applicant has had to plan, organize, and manage resources in order to accomplish an assigned task or reach an identified goal. An average candidate will have managed one or two substantive projects, preferably in a professional environment.

Career Focus (CF) - The average applicant can state one or two areas of interest within the law (i.e., environmental law, intellectual property, etc.) and can articulate specific reasons for wanting to attend law school beyond family influence. Stronger ratings should be reserved for those applicants who have very clear goals, related experiences, and passion for their career interest(s). Applicants who seem to be choosing law school without particular areas of interest within the law or as a “default” option should generally receive weaker ratings.

Extracurricular Activities/Breadth (XC) - The average applicant has participated in at least one academic, one volunteer, and one recreational extracurricular activity. Look for well-roundedness, and ask yourself if this person is likely to get involved in and contribute to student life.

Leadership Potential (LP) - Average candidates in this category have held minor leadership positions in extracurricular activities. Weaker candidates have been members of extracurricular organizations but have not taken any leadership roles. Stronger ratings are reserved for those candidates who have held major leadership positions in extracurricular activities or at work or who have personalities that show potential for strong leadership.

Motivation for Northwestern (NUM) - An applicant’s interest in Northwestern Law should go beyond just the school’s reputation, location, and size. The applicant should be able to articulate a specific interest in the Law School, such as the strength of a particular program, the work of a faculty member, or an aspect of our student environment. Stronger ratings are for those who have researched the law school and its programs and are outwardly enthusiastic about Northwestern.

Overall Impression – There are several questions you can ask yourself when formulating your overall impression of the candidate, the answers to which will be extremely helpful to the Admissions Committee. Consider whether or not the applicant is a good “fit” for the Northwestern Law community. Would you have enjoyed having this person as a classmate? Does the candidate have good reasons for applying specifically to Northwestern Law? You should also ask yourself whether you would be willing to hire this candidate for your organization. Does the candidate handle himself/herself well in formal, professional situations?


The handbook also contains a list of sample questions that the admissions committee members at Northwestern often ask during on-site interviews:
Northwestern wrote:INTERVIEW FORMAT AND SAMPLE QUESTIONS
The interview should begin with small talk to allow the applicant a moment or two to get comfortable. You can explain to the applicant that the purpose of the interviewing program is to learn about their interpersonal skills and to provide them with a chance to discuss anything they feel did not or will not come out in their paper application. Let the applicant know that you will leave time at the end of the interview for them to ask any questions they have.

Start the interview with easier questions that focus on the applicant’s background, then work your way toward motivational or forward-looking questions. For instance, you might start by talking to the applicants about why they chose their college or major and their extracurricular activities before asking them questions about why they are pursuing law school and where they see themselves five or ten years from now.

What follows are some examples of questions typically asked by Admissions Committee members during on-campus interviews. Please use these questions only as a guide; if you have favorite questions that yield good insight into the candidate, please feel free to use them.

Sample Questions
1. How did you make the decision to attend your undergraduate school?
2. How did you choose your major? Did you enter with the same major you graduated with?
3. As we look at your transcripts, will we notice any trends in your grades or any classes that were a struggle, or were your grades consistent all the way through?
4. What was your favorite class in college and why?
5. Who was your favorite college professor and why?
6. What was your most difficult class in college and why?
7. Describe the main extracurricular activities in which you were involved.
8. What do you feel your most significant leadership opportunity has been?
9. How do you define an effective leader?
10. Describe your leadership style.
11. When you have free time, what do you enjoy doing for fun?
12. If you could now go back and start your undergraduate experience over, is there anything you would do differently or advice that you would give yourself as an incoming freshman, or would you do it again the same way?
13. What is the most challenging project or situation that you have encountered in your work?
14. What is the most significant project you have had to manage? How did you approach the task and what did you learn from the experience?
15. Describe the most significant written document you have completed.
16. Describe an oral presentation you made in which you were successful in communicating an idea or convincing others of your idea.
17. Was there ever a time that you experienced a conflict or disagreement with someone else in the workplace? If so, please describe the situation and how you handled it.
18. How do you generally go about resolving conflicts with others?
19. What do you consider as some of the best advice you have received from others concerning your educational choices or career?
20. What do you consider as your most difficult decision up to this point in your life?
21. If I were to meet with your supervisors and/or faculty members with whom you have had the closest interactions and ask them what qualities they feel you have that will help you succeed in a legal career, what do you think they would point out?
22. How did you make the decision to go to law school?
23. What kind of employment do you see yourself pursuing after you graduate from law school?
24. What is your ultimate dream for your long-term career?
25. How will you define success in your career?
26. I assume that you are applying to some other schools besides Northwestern. To what other schools are you also applying?
27. If you were to be accepted to all of the schools to which you are applying, how will you choose which school to attend?
28. On the down side, what if you don't get into law school this year? What is your backup plan?
29. What do you think your greatest challenge in law school will be?
30. What is it about Northwestern Law that appeals to you?


My interviewer for Georgetown, who was also a partner at a local law firm just as my Northwestern interviewer had been, did not appear to have any sort of set form; he simply took notes on a notepad. According to Georgetown's site for alumni interviewers, there is an evaluation form they they fill out afterwards, but it appears to be much less strict than Northwestern's:

Georgetown wrote:How should I evaluate my interviewee?
You should consider the applicant in relation to other Georgetown lawyers or law students with whom you are familiar. The evaluation form gives you the opportunity to comment on the applicant in narrative format and assign him/her a score of 1-5.

What happens when the interview is completed?
After the interview we ask that you complete an evaluation report so that we may proceed with our review of the application.

That same site also indicates that the interviewer is pretty much free to do whatever they want; I found that my interview with Northwestern was much more like a formal interview, whereas my interview with Georgetown felt like a conversation.
Georgetown wrote:Are there specific questions I should ask?
Although we can provide you with a list of questions to use as a guideline if you would like one, in designing the program, the Committee decided it would be most helpful for you to conduct the interview in your own style in an effort to best learn about aspects of the applicant’s skills and personality. The resume, provided to you by the applicant in advance of the interview, should provide you with a starting point for questions. A successful interview should be a pleasant conversation between the interviewer and prospective student, which results in a more informed understanding of the candidate and a better appreciation of the university. Of course, certain questions regarding legally protected characteristics are obviously off-limits (such as those dealing with marital status, sexual orientation, etc.).

User avatar
luuma
Posts: 246
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:04 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby luuma » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:18 pm

You are GOD SENT!!!

kappycaft1 wrote:By the way, I thought I should mention one thing about my interview with Northwestern because it seems pertinent to all interviews. I remembered that my off-site alumnus interviewer for Northwestern had a form that he was filling out during our interview, so I did some Googling and found an entire handbook that contains the form that interviewers submit as well as how to judge the criteria for each applicant.
The form can be accessed here (or in case it gets removed, I've uploaded it here (LinkRemoved) as a back-up).

Just to cite some of the key criteria on the form:

Northwestern wrote:INTERVIEW SCORING SYSTEM
The Admissions Committee relies on the personal interviews to evaluate ten criteria about the applicant: Maturity (“M”), Sincerity and Concern for Others (“SCFO”), Listening Skills (“LS”), Intellectual Ability (“IA”), Career Progression (“CP”), Project Management (“PM”), Career Focus (“CF”), Extracurricular Involvement (“XC”), Leadership Potential (“LP”), and Motivation for Northwestern (“NUM”). A description of each of these criterion and examples of what might constitute an “on par” rating in each category is provided beginning on the next page of this Handbook.

The interview report form asks you to rate how the candidate compares to other interviewees along each criterion. You are also asked to provide your overall impression of the candidate’s interpersonal skills based on the interview as a whole. The Admissions Committee is particularly interested in how each candidate compares to other people you have interviewed, and you are asked to indicate whether the candidate is stronger, on par, acceptable but slightly weaker, or significantly weaker than other interviewees.

Ideally, you should compare each candidate against current Northwestern Law students or other Northwestern Law applicants you have interviewed. If you have not interviewed many Law School applicants, please use other professional interviewees as your reference point. In addition to completing the scoring grid provided on the first page of the evaluation form, please use the second page of the form to write descriptive comments for each evaluative criterion.

Where possible, please try to provide specific examples of things the applicant said or did during the interview that influenced your evaluation. Although we need the scoring grid for recordkeeping purposes, it is quite often the case that the interviewer’s written comments are far more helpful to the Admissions Committee’s substantive evaluation of the candidate’s interpersonal skills than the scoring grid.

EVALUATIVE CRITERIA
Maturity (M) - Look for a healthy self-confidence and a sense of strengths and weaknesses. Most applicants are able to appear poised, under control, and polite. Stronger ratings should be reserved for those candidates with an outstanding presence and a dynamic personality. Weaker ratings should be given to those candidates who are outwardly nervous, fidgety, or show other signs of immaturity or lack of composure.

Sincerity and Concern for Others (SCFO) – Most candidates likely will fall into the “on par” category here. Candidates who are extremely self-centered or who display excessive egos should receive weaker ratings in this category. Stronger ratings should be reserved for those candidates who have demonstrated a strong commitment to assisting others (oftentimes through extensive community or other public service).

Listening Skills (LS) - Weaker ratings should be given to those interviewees who are longwinded, who try to control the interview, or who fail to answer the specific question you pose. An “on par” candidate is a decent conversationalist who provides responsive answers of an appropriate length. A stronger candidate might be an active listener who is able to relate answers to earlier parts of the conversation.

Intellectual Ability (IA) – This criterion focuses on the applicant’s ability to handle the academic rigor of a Northwestern Law education. To the best of your ability, indicate how likely you think the applicant is to excel at Northwestern Law. You can consider the difficulty of the applicant’s college major, whether the applicant successfully completed substantial writing projects in college and/or at work, the applicant’s ability to think on his/her feet, how clearly the applicant articulates his/her thoughts, etc. Please note that you do not need to solicit the applicant’s GPA or LSAT score; that information is available to the Admissions Committee through other means. You are free to ask the applicant for such information if you like, but you may also rely on qualitative factors instead of quantitative measurements when evaluating the candidate’s intellectual ability.

Career Progression (CP) – This criterion evaluates the length and quality of the candidate’s work experience. Over 95% of past entering students have worked for at least one year prior to beginning law school; over 80% have had two years or more of work experience. Applicants who are college seniors generally have had at least two professional business or legal internships. Stronger ratings should be reserved for applicants who have two or more years of quality postcollege, career/business-related work experience (it need not be legal experience).

Project Management (PM) – Here, we are trying to gauge the extent to which the applicant has had to plan, organize, and manage resources in order to accomplish an assigned task or reach an identified goal. An average candidate will have managed one or two substantive projects, preferably in a professional environment.

Career Focus (CF) - The average applicant can state one or two areas of interest within the law (i.e., environmental law, intellectual property, etc.) and can articulate specific reasons for wanting to attend law school beyond family influence. Stronger ratings should be reserved for those applicants who have very clear goals, related experiences, and passion for their career interest(s). Applicants who seem to be choosing law school without particular areas of interest within the law or as a “default” option should generally receive weaker ratings.

Extracurricular Activities/Breadth (XC) - The average applicant has participated in at least one academic, one volunteer, and one recreational extracurricular activity. Look for well-roundedness, and ask yourself if this person is likely to get involved in and contribute to student life.

Leadership Potential (LP) - Average candidates in this category have held minor leadership positions in extracurricular activities. Weaker candidates have been members of extracurricular organizations but have not taken any leadership roles. Stronger ratings are reserved for those candidates who have held major leadership positions in extracurricular activities or at work or who have personalities that show potential for strong leadership.

Motivation for Northwestern (NUM) - An applicant’s interest in Northwestern Law should go beyond just the school’s reputation, location, and size. The applicant should be able to articulate a specific interest in the Law School, such as the strength of a particular program, the work of a faculty member, or an aspect of our student environment. Stronger ratings are for those who have researched the law school and its programs and are outwardly enthusiastic about Northwestern.

Overall Impression – There are several questions you can ask yourself when formulating your overall impression of the candidate, the answers to which will be extremely helpful to the Admissions Committee. Consider whether or not the applicant is a good “fit” for the Northwestern Law community. Would you have enjoyed having this person as a classmate? Does the candidate have good reasons for applying specifically to Northwestern Law? You should also ask yourself whether you would be willing to hire this candidate for your organization. Does the candidate handle himself/herself well in formal, professional situations?


The handbook also contains a list of sample questions that the admissions committee members at Northwestern often ask during on-site interviews:
Northwestern wrote:INTERVIEW FORMAT AND SAMPLE QUESTIONS
The interview should begin with small talk to allow the applicant a moment or two to get comfortable. You can explain to the applicant that the purpose of the interviewing program is to learn about their interpersonal skills and to provide them with a chance to discuss anything they feel did not or will not come out in their paper application. Let the applicant know that you will leave time at the end of the interview for them to ask any questions they have.

Start the interview with easier questions that focus on the applicant’s background, then work your way toward motivational or forward-looking questions. For instance, you might start by talking to the applicants about why they chose their college or major and their extracurricular activities before asking them questions about why they are pursuing law school and where they see themselves five or ten years from now.

What follows are some examples of questions typically asked by Admissions Committee members during on-campus interviews. Please use these questions only as a guide; if you have favorite questions that yield good insight into the candidate, please feel free to use them.

Sample Questions
1. How did you make the decision to attend your undergraduate school?
2. How did you choose your major? Did you enter with the same major you graduated with?
3. As we look at your transcripts, will we notice any trends in your grades or any classes that were a struggle, or were your grades consistent all the way through?
4. What was your favorite class in college and why?
5. Who was your favorite college professor and why?
6. What was your most difficult class in college and why?
7. Describe the main extracurricular activities in which you were involved.
8. What do you feel your most significant leadership opportunity has been?
9. How do you define an effective leader?
10. Describe your leadership style.
11. When you have free time, what do you enjoy doing for fun?
12. If you could now go back and start your undergraduate experience over, is there anything you would do differently or advice that you would give yourself as an incoming freshman, or would you do it again the same way?
13. What is the most challenging project or situation that you have encountered in your work?
14. What is the most significant project you have had to manage? How did you approach the task and what did you learn from the experience?
15. Describe the most significant written document you have completed.
16. Describe an oral presentation you made in which you were successful in communicating an idea or convincing others of your idea.
17. Was there ever a time that you experienced a conflict or disagreement with someone else in the workplace? If so, please describe the situation and how you handled it.
18. How do you generally go about resolving conflicts with others?
19. What do you consider as some of the best advice you have received from others concerning your educational choices or career?
20. What do you consider as your most difficult decision up to this point in your life?
21. If I were to meet with your supervisors and/or faculty members with whom you have had the closest interactions and ask them what qualities they feel you have that will help you succeed in a legal career, what do you think they would point out?
22. How did you make the decision to go to law school?
23. What kind of employment do you see yourself pursuing after you graduate from law school?
24. What is your ultimate dream for your long-term career?
25. How will you define success in your career?
26. I assume that you are applying to some other schools besides Northwestern. To what other schools are you also applying?
27. If you were to be accepted to all of the schools to which you are applying, how will you choose which school to attend?
28. On the down side, what if you don't get into law school this year? What is your backup plan?
29. What do you think your greatest challenge in law school will be?
30. What is it about Northwestern Law that appeals to you?


My interviewer for Georgetown, who was also a partner at a local law firm just as my Northwestern interviewer had been, did not appear to have any sort of set form; he simply took notes on a notepad. According to Georgetown's site for alumni interviewers, there is an evaluation form they they fill out afterwards, but it appears to be much less strict than Northwestern's:

Georgetown wrote:How should I evaluate my interviewee?
You should consider the applicant in relation to other Georgetown lawyers or law students with whom you are familiar. The evaluation form gives you the opportunity to comment on the applicant in narrative format and assign him/her a score of 1-5.

What happens when the interview is completed?
After the interview we ask that you complete an evaluation report so that we may proceed with our review of the application.

That same site also indicates that the interviewer is pretty much free to do whatever they want; I found that my interview with Northwestern was much more like a formal interview, whereas my interview with Georgetown felt like a conversation.
Georgetown wrote:Are there specific questions I should ask?
Although we can provide you with a list of questions to use as a guideline if you would like one, in designing the program, the Committee decided it would be most helpful for you to conduct the interview in your own style in an effort to best learn about aspects of the applicant’s skills and personality. The resume, provided to you by the applicant in advance of the interview, should provide you with a starting point for questions. A successful interview should be a pleasant conversation between the interviewer and prospective student, which results in a more informed understanding of the candidate and a better appreciation of the university. Of course, certain questions regarding legally protected characteristics are obviously off-limits (such as those dealing with marital status, sexual orientation, etc.).

User avatar
Pneumonia
Posts: 1642
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:07 pm

Quest4Knowledge wrote:What is the downside to being 'over-prepared' for an interview? Over-prepared in that your answers sound rehearsed.

Basically, if I have pre-written, properly structured answers to standard questions like Why law, Why X, unique aspect of app, why KJD, etc. - what is the risk of coming across as over-prepared? If they think my answers were rehearsed, will this hurt my interview in any way?

I guess it may not come across as genuine or spontaneous, but will it necessarily be a negative to my application?


If you come across rehearsed it will def be a negative. The prep suggestions in this thread are ridiculous by the way. A few notes about clinics/profs specific to X school are plenty. Don't write your answers out and for sure don't try to memorize anything. Just talk and be a normal person, the interviewers are. They aren't trying to trap you.

c0llegeStUd3nt
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:11 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby c0llegeStUd3nt » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:25 pm

I interviewed at Gtown, Northwestern, UVA, and Chicago this cycle and was admitted to all four. This thread was extremely helpful to me, so I figured I'd add anything that might not have been covered.

Georgetown - I did the alumni interview, rather than the group interview. If the interview is at their office then I would recommend suiting up, but mine was in a coffee shop so business casual was fine. Extremely casual interview overall though, definitely need to have Why Law and Why Georgetown prepared and be able to walk through your resume. I felt like most of the interview was me asking my interviewer questions.

UVA - I did a phone call with Jason Dugas. A lot like the Georgetown interview, have why UVA and why Law prepared. Otherwise it felt like he was just trying to make sure that I was a normal human being. (Be comfortable with walking him through your resume as well)

Northwestern - Maybe my alum interviewer was just different, but she did not ask any of the questions that are posted on this thread. The interview was at her office and the interview went an hour, mostly spent with me asking questions about the school or her telling me stories about different aspects of the law school. I would still recommend going off the questions posted in this thread, because not all interviews are going to be the same, but I would definitely say to try to be relaxed about it.

Chicago - Compared to the other three interviews, the Chicago one was definitely the most intense in that I got the weirdest/hardest questions, it went only about 15-20 minutes, and it was not even a little conversational. I got all of the questions posted in this thread, but one slight variation where I was asked, "describe a difficult decision you have had to make." That question kind of threw me off only because I had memorized the questions posted on this thread and had answers to them and I did not remember this question.I definitely recommend suiting up for this one. Also, don't be dismayed if the interview runs very short and isn't conversational. I have seen people post that their interview went 10 minutes and they still were admitted. They seem to have certain things they are looking for and they don't care about any type of small talk. I do think it was helpful to have specific programs in mind that I wanted to be involved with. Also, even though I spent almost two days preparing answers, I think it was important to not sound like I had memorized the responses.

Sorry, that my thoughts aren't so organized on this, I hope this is helpful to someone. Good Luck!!

User avatar
Pneumonia
Posts: 1642
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Pneumonia’s 1k: Interview Tips

I was interviewed and accepted at: Vanderbilt, Northwestern UVA, and Harvard. I was also offered interviews at Chicago and Cornell but withdrew before the interview dates.

For all of the schools above I am <25th GPA and >75th LSAT, so by no means a lock. Especially at Harvard and UVA I know several people on here and in real life that were rejected or waitlisted with better numbers, and given that I don’t have extraordinary softs I think that the interviews have something to do with my acceptances. For this post I’ll give an overview of the interviews by school, and then some general advice at the end.

Vanderbilt:

I interviewed with their main admissions officer (RW) early in the semester at my undergrad. He was conducting interviews all day and I ended up being the last one so we were able to talk about 15 or 20 minutes longer than the allotted 30, which was nice. The interview was prior to my applying so he had no idea what my number were, but he was very engaging and extremely warm the entire time. It was really laid back, and it was clear that he was trying hard to make me feel at ease. This was the first interview that I did so I was nervous going in but it quickly became just a normal conversation.

I did not prepare at all for it other than to think about “Why Law” and “Why Vanderbilt” the night before. He asked me about my goals in a general sense, but nothing to specific. He did very specifically ask “Why Vanderbilt” and I could tell that the answer to that question was important to him. I am from the south and want to work in Texas, so those were what I made the point of my answer and that seemed to go over well.

The interview seemed to be about three main things: 1) Determining why I wanted to go to Vanderbilt, 2) Determining whether or not I was a sociable person (not just socially capable, but actually sociable), and 3) selling me on Vanderbilt/Nashville. Again he didn’t know my GPA or LSAT score, so I would guess that this format is fairly standard. To be fair my resume, which I sent in ahead of time but which he did not seem to have read, listed that I teach for an LSAT prep company, but even with that on there the only question he asked about numbers was: “So I see that you teach the LSAT, has learning more about it made you want to retake?” That causality is reversed, but it didn’t seem to matter much and by that point the interview was very obviously more about just finding out whether or not I was capable of carrying a conversation than it was about numbers.

I would advise trying to interview if at all possible, and to do so in person at your UG if you can. If you are out of school check your local UG’s for info or contact the prelaw office if you can’t find anything. Most of these types of interviews, where the Law School visits to conduct them, happen in August-October at the latest. My pre-law office was very receptive to allowing alums and non-alums participate and sign up for any informational sessions, and I think its worth doing if you can, so be proactive and check! I was accepted about 5 or 6 days after submitting my application.

Northwestern:

In many ways the NU interview was the opposite of the Vandy interview. I scheduled it through my UG: the prelaw office let me know that the NU adcoms would be in town to conduct interviews so I set one up. Again I know people that ended up interviewing with my interviewer (AB) who were not alums of my UG, but they found out that she would be in the area and ended up being able to meet with her.

I used the guide that kappycaft1 posted to prepare. I went through each of the questions a few nights before and considered what I would say. The ones that she asked were:
-What are you most proud of?
-What is the hardest decision you’ve made?
-What is your favorite undergrad class?
-Who has given you the best career advice and what was that advice?
-What is your leadership style?
-Why are you attracted to NU?
For each of them I had a decent answer, except for the last one which I completely stumbled through. I was really worried about answering it so poorly, but I to recover I tried to give examples of my leadership and leadership style in answering subsequent questions and I think that was effective.

We met at a local coffee shop and she was a few minutes late but she gave me some extra time at the end so we had a full 45 minutes together. From what I’d read on here I knew that she’d be expecting a suit so that is what I wore, and she was dressed equivalently.

For the NU interview I think it is extremely important to be very professional, and to convey that professional-ness is something important to you. For the “Why NU” question I answered that I wanted to be in an environment where I could learn from the students as much as from the professors and I think that that was an effective answer. Additionally, she had not seen my LSAT score or GPA either, and I think NU makes a point of interviewing in absence of that knowledge, especially for alumni interviews. The whole thing was fairly formal, although courteous. We went through my resume line by line and she asked specific questions about each thing on it. The general format was Resume question – question from above – resume question, etc. Definitely be prepared to answer questions about why you began positions, why you left them, what you liked about them, and what you learned from them. She did not ask any questions about my academic career or grades other than the what my favorite UG class was. Even for that question I got the sense that she wanted an answer that was at least tangentially related to my career goals.

For what it’s worth I saw the sheet she was using and it was the exact one that is posted in this thread.

Virginia

I was offered a UVA interview via skype about 3 months after I initially applied. It seemed to be for YP purposes in that the thing my interviwer (JD) was most interested in was whether or not I would actually come and whether or I would be a good fit if I did. He asked me “Why UVA” and that was really the only question. Other than that we just chatted about life in Charlottesville and he generally just sold me on how awesome the school was. For the question I gave a general answer about wanting to stay in the south etc. He offered to put me in contact with some alums in my area and I was happy to have that opportunity.

UVA was the last on I did, and, having already gotten into Harvard, I neglected to prepare for it at all. It still went well though and I ended up getting accepted later that week.

Harvard

The big one. By the time I had this I had already done Vandy and NU, and that experience was really invaluable for being comfortable in the Harvard interview. I had gotten to answer “why law” a few times and so had a coherent way of answering it which gave me confidence, and even though my interviewer (not JS) didn’t ask that question it was a good feeling to have going in. Even if you’re good at interviewing I’d recommend trying to do so with a few other schools or at least setting up some mock interviews so that you know you’ll be comfortable.

I prepared for this interview more than all of the other combined. Not counting those other interviews it was probably about 4 hours total that I spent preparing. This includes researching the school/clinics/profs to generate questions, getting Skype setup, getting the lighting right, and getting my clothes ready (I wore a dark button up and a blazer). One thing I did was blatantly copy kappycaft1 by trolling the student org pages looking for defunct orgs that were related to my interests, then ask my interviewer what it would take to get those orgs started again. This showed that I’d done research and that I was ready to contribute to the community, but given that at least two people have done it now that question might have lost a little of its value. In addition to this I asked two other questions. The first was very general: how is X community at Harvard? Obviously a softball but I was interested in the answer.

The other question I asked wasn’t about Harvard specifically but instead was about how to succeed generally in my given career path. At ASW my interviewer recognized me and knew my name before I even checked and she specifically commended me on the question that I asked and said that it made me stand out as a candidate. She remembered the exact question too, even though I didn’t. I think what made my question stand out was that it was that it showed I had actively considered my given career path and also the challenges that usually accompany it. I think a lot of people ask question about the school in a “why should I go here” type of way (not that this is bad). I think asking for advice related to a career in law generally showed that I was going to pursue X career no matter where I was accepted, and I think that made me an attractive candidate. Who knows though.

I honestly don’t remember any of the questions that she asked me other than that hardly any of them were general or could have been expected. They were all very specific to my resume and to my personal statment. My GPA is below Harvard’s 25th by quite a bit, so one thing I expected to be asked was why it was so low etc, and she did ask that. I think this shows that it is important to know your weaknesses going in, and to prepare for how to address them. Other than that the questions weren’t at all the sort that could be prepared for. I interviewed in late January and got accepted about a month later.

I think the thing she was most interested in finding out was how competent I was as a person, student, employee and how secure I was in that competency. I made a point to answer confidently, take time to think when I needed it, talk slow, be polite but also lighthearted, and overall to just treat it professionally. I think a certain amount of deference to the interviewer is expected, but also that expecting them to run the whole thing can come across as a weaknesses. A tendency can be to treat the interview like a boss-employee relationship, but I think that treating it as a collaborative effort between two parties is more helpful and to both. I will reiterate that TACT IS NECESSARY in this approach.

A couple of times she interrupted me while I was thinking and I let her know, extremely politely of course, that I would appreciate a little more time to answer the previous question before moving on to the next one. Obviously this requires tact, but I think the message it conveys is one of confidence and respect. Those two things seemed especially important. To sum up this point I would say that I felt like Harvard was looking for “adults,” in composure at least if not in life circumstance (I’m pretty much a K-JD). Do not read this and think “oh, I just need to alpha this thing” because that is not what I mean by “act like an adult.”

Lastly on Harvard I will say this: I think they really appreciate both clearly defined and ambitious goals. Maybe others have some alternative experiences, but to me it seemed that, despite what they may say, “I hope to find my calling in law school” was not a good answer to the “why law” question. Additionally, they seemed to be looking for ambitious goals as well. For example, I answered that I wanted to work with juveniles and the immediate response was “have you considered policy?” From the tone of the question it was clear that the answer she was looking for was “yes.” I think it would have been fine to say, something like “actually no, I’m hoping to start an activist org etc…..” The main point is that big ambition seemed to be a clear value as did knowing what you wanted to study in law school. With this point please keep in mind that whatever you say needs to agree with your resume and with your Personal Statement.

Edit: KB kindly posted some thoughts on "Why Law" here:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=226937&start=330

General Advice:

-If you mess up a question it’s ok, just try to answer it again during other questions. At NU I messed up a “leadership” question, but used the subsequent questions as springboards to talk about leadership.

-Be secure in yourself and your accomplishments. If they don’t seem like a big deal on paper or if they in fact actually aren’t a big deal at all, try to convey the effort that went into them rather than making up other stuff that you might have done.

-Be coherent. Don’t let your story start with the LSAT or end with a law degree. Instead, start with a passion, and talk about what you want to do with your degree (even if you have to make something up).

-Act more like a colleague and less like a student. Collaborate with your interviewers rather than just sitting quietly until they ask you the next question. This does not mean that you should try to control the conversation, but just that you can have and should have a hand in how it develops.

-Own up to your weaknesses, and take responsibility for them. Don’t bring it up out of the gate like it’s something you're insecure about, but do be expecting the question at some point.

-Own up to your mistakes in the interview and to conversational faux pas: awkwardness is bad. During my Harvard interview I was very clearly using notes to ask some of my questions, and had a copy of my resume clearly in hand. I made a joke about both which I think is much better than trying to hide that you’re using notes or putting sticky notes on your screen.

-For skype interviews minimize the size of the window and put it near your camera. LOOKING INTO THE CAMERA IS HUGE! I had someone skype with me just looking at my “screen” eyes while I was testing my connection and it was much, much worse than when they looked into the camera.

-I think the “cutout a pic of your bestie” advice from in this thread is generally bad advice because body language is important and it’s important to see what your interviewer is doing. This is not at odds with the previous point.

-Don’t overprepare. No one is trying to trap you. They are just normal people that want to learn a little more about who you are as a person. You wouldn’t prepare a shit ton of notes for a date so don’t do it for this, it’s unnecessary and you risk coming off as overly prepared and weird. Imagine this in a date scenario and that is what I mean. If you’re the kind of person that has not been on a date and/or the prepping notes for a date thing seems like a good idea then try doing a lot of mock interviews rather than spending time writing out responses. They way people perceive you socially is a legitimate thing to work on, and mock interviews can help with that. Locking yourself in a room and memorizing stuff will do the opposite.

-As I’ve alluded to I did not prepare very much at all for any of the interviews. I should note that in general I am shy and reserved and can definitely be awkward socially. The key to overcoming this is to see the interviews for what they are: the school and the interviewer are already interested in you, otherwise they wouldn’t be interviewing you. Yes the returns on a successful interview can be huge in terms of admissions, but stressing out about those returns is a great way to make sure you never realize them. Just be confident and be yourself. Talk slow and treat the process collaboratively. Use the other resources in this thread. You’ll do great!

User avatar
Mr. Elshal
Posts: 611
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:30 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby Mr. Elshal » Thu May 29, 2014 6:00 pm

I figured I'd come back and add this little tidbit. I had a Skype interview this semester (with a law firm, not a school), and they actually asked me if I was wearing pants. Thankfully, I was in full interview attire. Just a heads up that you shouldn't risk being the guy in a dress shirt, jacket, tie, speedo, and flip flops.

User avatar
xylocarp
Posts: 4740
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:16 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby xylocarp » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:53 am

bumping for the new cycle since I'm currently interview prepping. thanks so much to everyone who shared their thoughts here; there is some seriously great advice ITT.

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby 20141023 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:57 am

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
KMart
Posts: 3627
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:25 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby KMart » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:10 am

If I was an interviewer I would always ask the pants question just to laugh at the awkwardness of the outfit.

ReadyforLawSchool
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:05 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby ReadyforLawSchool » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:15 am

Washington University- St. Louis

Those of you who have had an interview with WUSTL, what was it like? What types of questions were asked?

User avatar
phillywc
Posts: 3043
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:17 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby phillywc » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:41 am

ReadyforLawSchool wrote:Washington University- St. Louis

Those of you who have had an interview with WUSTL, what was it like? What types of questions were asked?

I've heard the WUSTL interview was much more of a sales pitch to the applicant than anything.

mccllln2
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:26 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby mccllln2 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:30 am

Could anyone elaborate on what the interview was like with UVA? It seems to be a different person conducting the interviews than last year, at least for me.

User avatar
smile0751
Posts: 400
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:40 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby smile0751 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:22 pm

Tag.

FloridaCoastalorbust
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:43 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:20 am

Interview w/ Chicago via Skype.

Why [Undergrad school] and [major]?
Tell me about your current job.
Why law school?
Why Chicago?
If you could redo one thing in your life, what would it be?
Greatest accomplishment?
How would your professors describe you?
If you could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Any points you want me to especially emphasize with the admissions committee?
Any questions for me?

User avatar
Moltenmama
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:51 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby Moltenmama » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:50 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:Interview w/ Chicago via Skype.

Why [Undergrad school] and [major]?
Tell me about your current job.
Why law school?
Why Chicago?
If you could redo one thing in your life, what would it be?
Greatest accomplishment?
How would your professors describe you?
If you could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Any points you want me to especially emphasize with the admissions committee?
Any questions for me?

Thanks for sharing. That conversation one would probably throw me off :shock: I hate those what-if questions.

User avatar
kadyevna
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:17 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby kadyevna » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:36 pm

this thread really helped me a lot, had my interview with reagan butler today.. It went okay, lasted 25 min (i know its LONG! good or bad sign?) she asked me for 11-12 questions, i don't remember all but here is a list (pretty much in this order)

Walk me through your academic history, Why [college] and [major]?
Why law?
Why law now?
Why Chicago?
What is your greatest accomplishment?
If you could go back in time and redo one thing in your life, what would it be?
How would your professors describe you?
Have you ever had a time when you were out of your element or comfort zone?
Any points you want me to especially emphasize with the admissions committee?
Do you have any questions for me?

she was very nice and taking notes, english is my third language so I worried that she couldn't understand everything I say (never used Skype before) there are few places where I could express myself better, but it went okay.. (just okay before i second guess everything)

PM for stats or any details, we also touched some other questions that she didn't asked me directly:

What are you looking for in a law school?
Who most influenced your decision to go to law school?
Resume related questions

hope this helps!! now the anxious waiting begin! best of luck to you all!

User avatar
kadyevna
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:17 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby kadyevna » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:06 pm

kadyevna wrote:this thread really helped me a lot, had my interview with reagan butler today.. It went okay, lasted 25 min (i know its LONG! good or bad sign?) she asked me for 11-12 questions, i don't remember all but here is a list (pretty much in this order)

Walk me through your academic history, Why [college] and [major]?
Why law?
Why law now?
Why Chicago?
What is your greatest accomplishment?
If you could go back in time and redo one thing in your life, what would it be?
How would your professors describe you?
Have you ever had a time when you were out of your element or comfort zone?
Any points you want me to especially emphasize with the admissions committee?
Do you have any questions for me?

she was very nice and taking notes, english is my third language so I worried that she couldn't understand everything I say (never used Skype before) there are few places where I could express myself better, but it went okay.. (just okay before i second guess everything)

PM for stats or any details, we also touched some other questions that she didn't asked me directly:

What are you looking for in a law school?
Who most influenced your decision to go to law school?
Resume related questions

hope this helps!! now the anxious waiting begin! best of luck to you all!


oh the missing question here is

what would you do if law school is not an option?

OxOx19888
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:16 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby OxOx19888 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:38 pm

Just received a Harvard Skype interview offer...how long does it generally take to get a response after the interview?

User avatar
nothingtosee
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:08 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby nothingtosee » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:09 pm

OxOx19888 wrote:Just received a Harvard Skype interview offer...how long does it generally take to get a response after the interview?


At this point ~2 weeks-5 months

User avatar
Tr3
Posts: 604
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:25 am

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby Tr3 » Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:58 pm

Chicago interview was lackluster, but I suppose that's my fault. I got most of the questions listed in this thread with the addition of "describe yourself in 3 adjectives and why".

Chi interviews are 20 minutes, but I've read other posts reporting shorter actual lengths; but mine went 25 mins (not sure if that's good or bad). Who knows what will come of it! Good luck to everyone interviewing.

User avatar
Pneumonia
Posts: 1642
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:50 pm

A response to a PM, regarding HLS interviews specifically (to be taken as perspective not gospel):

As far as leadership goes I would say that the kind of things B-schools look for would be excellent in an HLS interview, but waaaay more than necessary.

The introduction of the interview was a trend towards more b-school style admissions criteria (at least that was the goal), so it would be a mistake to think of it as an intellectual rather than operational hurdle. It is true that law school admissions generally are academically driven, but the interview at HLS is a one piece of the a larger application. It has a distinct purpose (just like PS is different than resume and LSAT) and that purpose is to see who you are as a person.

Person-ability and confidence are the two big things their looking for in my opinion, followed by leadership, teamwork, and articulate thinking. As you can see these are all very traditionally thought of as b-school skills, and again that is intentional on the part of HLS. They will not dive too deep into anything, and the vast majority of applicants experience is that the interviewer is trying to help you show your strengths rather than root out a hidden weakness. In this way it is non-adversarial, and thus less high pressure/stress than a b-school interview.

The same kind of experiences that b-schools would value or highly valued by law schools, but again most law school applicants have much less of that kind of experience than their b-school counterparts so it is not a necessary component (ie b-school wouldn't care if you co-managed a Panera, whereas law school would see that as valuable work experience). You will not be expected to provide as much detail about what you did, but you should think about how to explain it clearly and concisely so that the interviewer gets an idea of what was accomplished and what you contributed to that accomplishment.

For your last paragraph, tact is huge. I didn't really take notes, but my interviewer did (interviewers are random, but come from a list of 4-5 people in the admissions office; you can find out who on the website). I said things like "may I think for a moment," or "that's an interesting question, may I consider an response before answering?" All very conversational, the same way that I would talk to a respected adult or peer. I don't think I ever paused for more than a few seconds, and certainly didn't write out a response (again, think how strange that would be if you were having coffee with a friend).

For making sure I completely answered questions (I only did this once or twice), I just said "I'd like to add something to my previous response before moving forward" after the interviewer had asked a question. This again is very conversational, but accounts for the increased formality of the interview.

So short points I would say that

1) law schools introduced interviews almost exclusively to have an opportunity to assess applicants person-ability, professional demeanor, poise, and ability to articulate ideas simply and quickly. They are not looking for the facts you will tell them, but how you tell them. Content is not unimportant, but it is secondary to form in this case.

2) Part of your professional demeanor is how well you are able to make someone feel comfortable yet respected. This is something attorneys must do with their clients- you want to be subordinate yet conversational. It can be difficult, but that's what you're going for. I'd say overly formal is superior to the reverse, but candidates should make an effort to let their personality show through and make the interview feel enjoyable.

User avatar
terrier27
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:39 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby terrier27 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:05 pm

.
Last edited by terrier27 on Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

qgprhtnf
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:02 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby qgprhtnf » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:52 pm

One UChicago interview I got that's (I think) not in the thread yet was: Which person do you admire the most?

User avatar
ChemEng1642
Posts: 1239
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:26 pm

Re: A Guide to Law School Admissions Interviews

Postby ChemEng1642 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:55 pm

I got another interested Chicago one that's not been previously mentioned:

"If you were in a court room and had to decide which member to be - Judge, Jury, or Lawyer - who would you pick and why?"




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], carlos_danger, lawnerd87 and 4 guests