Preparing for an Interview

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manofjustice
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Preparing for an Interview

Postby manofjustice » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:52 pm

What do you guys do to prepare for a firm interview?

juzam_djinn
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby juzam_djinn » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:57 pm

find out which attorneys you'll be talking to and research their bios

also do some reading on the firm itself, so that you don't end up asking questions that could easily have been answered by looking at their website

Anonymous User
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:07 pm

I research what I can about the firm so I don't look like an idiot in my answers or questions.

I come up with themes/rough ideas for answers to common questions (tell me about yourself, why should we hire you, why our firm, etc), but I do not rehearse my answers. Same thing with the questions to ask.

Know basic details about the people you're interviewing with (practice area, for example), but don't go overboard and be stalkerish.

Career services loves to give bogus advice about rehearsing, practicing answers, etc. That's wrong. Most employers want to hire people they'd enjoy working with, and no one enjoys working with a pre-rehearsed robot, unless your interviewer is from UPenn. If you know your resume, know about where you're interviewing, and know yourself, then that should calm your nerves and you'll be fine. Maybe at times you won't have the most eloquent, "um"-free answer, but as long as you stay "on message," you'll almost certainly come across as more honest, more human, and more likable.

tl;dr: Know your shit, but be yourself and don't rehearse.

Anonymous User
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:14 pm

Would get a little bit of background information about each interviewer (undergrad/law school, practice area, any other notable accomplishments or hobbies from firm website). Would also look at the firm website to get an overview of the firm and what their strengths and focuses are, as well as what practice areas in the firm I would be interested in. Other than that, I would have a few stock questions I could turn to if the interview goes in the "so what questions do you have for me?" direction, and a short pitch of my strengths memorized in case I needed it.

Honestly though, you don't use 90% of that stuff once you're in the actual interview (except in the case of the interviewer who just asks you what questions you have for him/her). Like the other posters said, don't rehearse answers or memorize everything about the firm/interviewers. For the most part, they just want to see if you are likeable enough to bring back for a callback, since you have likely already met their academic requirements by getting the interview. It's good to have a few questions to ask in case you need them, but none of the other stuff is super important, besides maybe knowing what practice areas you may want to work in.

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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:00 pm

I also like to take some notice as to what decorations there are in the attorney's office.

For example, I interviewed with someone who had a Packers poster in their office. I asked a few questions about who they thought the Packers should take in the 2013 NFL draft. That led into a 5 minute conversation that was very genial and natural.

It's small, and not really related to anything legal. But, it's always nice to show them your non-law school side. Show them that you have an interest in sports, etc.

Anonymous User
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:13 pm

I look at the firm site; I look at the interviewer's biography; I look at Chamber & Partners rankings so I can tell them I am interested in something they are good at; I look at Chamber Associates to see how they sell their firm, what is their culture etc.

Most of this stuff is not used in the interview except to a limited extent. For example, if interviewing with White & Case, you might want to mention their international work, and how you are from China, but no point on doing that with Cravath for example. Or if interviewing with Quinn, you want to say you are interested in litigation, not I cannot wait until I run my first m&a deal. I think this is all really obvious stuff though.
Knowing the biography of that person can be great if you are interested in the same type of work; you can ask more specific questions in that case.

I recommend having 5-8 questions on your mind in case they are the type that tell you in the first 5 minutes, so what can I tell you about us. Listen to their answers so that you can ask back ups on what they say, that makes you a good listener, but also so you can throw in such cases, a "that sounds great, when I was senior analyst at bla bla, I was introduced to the bla bla you just talked about.

I do not rehearse answers; that sounds unnatural to me. Writing answers though to hypothetical questions I think has been useful at times... writing does not force you to remember things so you are not robotic, but it forces you to think about answers. Our mind tends to skip things and assumes that things make more sense than they actually do, when you write it you are forced to "objectively" make it make sense. Why should I hire you? If you write a hypothetical answer to this, you would sound better when a partner puts you on the spot with it, yet you are not robotic about it.

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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I also like to take some notice as to what decorations there are in the attorney's office.

For example, I interviewed with someone who had a Packers poster in their office. I asked a few questions about who they thought the Packers should take in the 2013 NFL draft. That led into a 5 minute conversation that was very genial and natural.

It's small, and not really related to anything legal. But, it's always nice to show them your non-law school side. Show them that you have an interest in sports, etc.


This is credited.

My best interviews were spent talking about something entirely unrelated to the law or my credentials.

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ph14
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby ph14 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:39 pm

Have a basic idea of what you want to say for the obvious questions that you will get in most interviews. Why law school, what area of practice are you interested in, favorite classes are some of the most common. As well as why this firm, geographic location, etc.

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Bikeflip
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Bikeflip » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I also like to take some notice as to what decorations there are in the attorney's office.

For example, I interviewed with someone who had a Packers poster in their office. I asked a few questions about who they thought the Packers should take in the 2013 NFL draft. That led into a 5 minute conversation that was very genial and natural.

It's small, and not really related to anything legal. But, it's always nice to show them your non-law school side. Show them that you have an interest in sports, etc.


This is credited.

My best interviews were spent talking about something entirely unrelated to the law or my credentials.


+1 If you can show that you're a human and not just a law student robot, you'll at least get your interviewer to like you.

If you're a 1L or 2L and your interviewer is published, ask them about tips for publishing a note, etc. A lot of interviewers love to mentor, and if you can steer the interview to an area where they can help you during law school, they seem to like that.

When in doubt about things you dislike about law school, my default is the Bluebook and its dumb rules about italicized periods. I got a few interviewers to laugh at the Bluebook.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:01 am

See, I do rehearse answers to the most-likely-to-be-asked questions. By which I mean I don't mean I write a word-for-word script and memorize it, I just actually answer the questions out loud about 3 or 4 times, to decide what I want to say and so I know I can answer without stumbling (sort of a muscle memory thing). Also, if it's something like OCI where you're interviewing with a bunch of places over a relatively short period, I just do this before the first one, as a way to get into interview-mode.

(Otherwise, pretty much what everyone else has said.) (Also, although I have interviewed with firms, most of my interviews have been public sector - not that I think there's a radical difference, just full disclosure.)

Anonymous User
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:34 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:See, I do rehearse answers to the most-likely-to-be-asked questions. By which I mean I don't mean I write a word-for-word script and memorize it, I just actually answer the questions out loud about 3 or 4 times, to decide what I want to say and so I know I can answer without stumbling (sort of a muscle memory thing). Also, if it's something like OCI where you're interviewing with a bunch of places over a relatively short period, I just do this before the first one, as a way to get into interview-mode.

(Otherwise, pretty much what everyone else has said.) (Also, although I have interviewed with firms, most of my interviews have been public sector - not that I think there's a radical difference, just full disclosure.)


There's a difference between rehearsing a script and rehearsing a theme. If you're focused on getting the exact same wording every time, that sucks, don't do that. If you're focused on communicating the same idea with the same anecdotes in whatever way they naturally come out, that's good, do that.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:See, I do rehearse answers to the most-likely-to-be-asked questions. By which I mean I don't mean I write a word-for-word script and memorize it, I just actually answer the questions out loud about 3 or 4 times, to decide what I want to say and so I know I can answer without stumbling (sort of a muscle memory thing). Also, if it's something like OCI where you're interviewing with a bunch of places over a relatively short period, I just do this before the first one, as a way to get into interview-mode.

(Otherwise, pretty much what everyone else has said.) (Also, although I have interviewed with firms, most of my interviews have been public sector - not that I think there's a radical difference, just full disclosure.)


There's a difference between rehearsing a script and rehearsing a theme. If you're focused on getting the exact same wording every time, that sucks, don't do that. If you're focused on communicating the same idea with the same anecdotes in whatever way they naturally come out, that's good, do that.

Yeah, right, that's why I said I don't write a script. I just wanted to counter the "don't ever rehearse!!!" advice because I think it can be taken the wrong way.

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Renne Walker
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Renne Walker » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:23 am

They will tell you that they already know you are smart (if they do not say it outright, figure they assume it, so no need to try to prove your intellect). Other than the advice you want to extract from above, somewhere during the conversation find the right moment to be convincing that you LOVE the city. If you are believable they will eagerly sell you on how right you are. At that point you can lean back and watch the ball sail out of the park....

kryptix
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby kryptix » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:25 pm

Not traditional, but I compliment the interviewer's kids if I see their pictures :) That always leads to a great conversation especially because I have a child of my own.

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Ludo!
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Ludo! » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:35 pm

Try to engage them in a debate about rape law

Pokemon
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Re: Preparing for an Interview

Postby Pokemon » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:29 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:Try to engage them in a debate about rape law


I agree with this. Engaging with the interviewer on a controversial topic shows intellectual curiosity, courage, and ability to look at legal issues objectively.




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