Behavioral Interview Questions

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Law Student 2848
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:25 pm

Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby Law Student 2848 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:29 pm

Anyone have tips on answers to behavioral interview questions like the ones below?

How do you approach a problem for which there appears to be no definitive answer?

What would you do in a partner is unavailable and a client needs an immediate answer to a question?

Two partners ask you to complete an assignment, but you only have time for one. What do you do?

When you are an associate, how will you handle a situation where you have too much work to handle it all successfully?

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180kickflip
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby 180kickflip » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:10 pm

I probably know less about what is expected at a law firm than just about anyone else reading this, but the questions are interesting, so I'll give it a shot..

1. How do I approach a question with no definitive answer - Weigh the potential costs and benefits of the competing choices. Even if there's no real "wrong" answer there must be one that offers some benefit that the others don't (even if it's just saving time to allow you to tackle other tasks faster).

2. This is the toughest one to me. If a client needs an immediate answer but a partner is unavailable, I'd look to get an answer from a more senior associate, and offer an answer referencing that. The goal here (to me) would be to show a desire to serve the client while minimizing the responsibility you have to take for potentially bad advice.

3. Two partners assign work but you can only accomplish 1. Immediately explain to the partner who assigns the second task that you're already working on the assignment for the other partner and may not be able to complete both on schedule. Ask if anyone can be assigned to work with you until the assignments complete.

4. If you have too much work to handle it all successfully, you should be prioritizing the tasks as best you can according to the importance given to them by those who assigned them, and communicating your progress with your superiors so that any eventual shortcomings can be planned for in advance of the deadlines.

So...how ridiculous does that all sound? lol

Law Student 2848
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby Law Student 2848 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:10 pm

What about:

Tell me about a situation from a previous job that required you to exercise judgment.

Anonymous User
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:38 pm

FWIW I felt that I spent way to much time devising answers for such questions and not enough researching the firm/internship/program I was being interviewed about. In about 60 legal job interviews, only two interviewers employed such a method.

Law Student 2848
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby Law Student 2848 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:FWIW I felt that I spent way to much time devising answers for such questions and not enough researching the firm/internship/program I was being interviewed about. In about 60 legal job interviews, only two interviewers employed such a method.


Is there anything you would recommend doing to "research a firm" other than reading their website and the bios of the attorney's interviewing you?

Anonymous User
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:56 pm

Law Student 2848 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:FWIW I felt that I spent way to much time devising answers for such questions and not enough researching the firm/internship/program I was being interviewed about. In about 60 legal job interviews, only two interviewers employed such a method.


Is there anything you would recommend doing to "research a firm" other than reading their website and the bios of the attorney's interviewing you?


Well, maybe others can chime in, but if I had to do it all again (I only got one offer, so obviously I could have done better) I would seek out the little nuggets of info you can find on these forums about the bigger firms, and take them seriously (well, at least dont ignore them like I did). The DC v. NY difference is real, and in my case I have a background/resume that screams experience and interest in regulatory work, so even though I preached my interests in corporate work, the NY offices didnt buy it. The websites are purely propaganda, meant to draw in clients.... so take all of that with a grain of salt, and do whatever you can to dig a little deeper. News clips on Westlaw, etc. have at this point demonstrated many different firm's strengths and focuses.

If you can tell them exactly what they think their firm is best at, and how you can help them do that better, I would say you have a good shot. I landed at a boutique regulatory firm b/c I did just that.

And since I just thought of it, and it was the thread's original intent, the two behavioral interviewers I had were new associates- if that is of any use.

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guano
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby guano » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:31 am

Law Student 2848 wrote:Anyone have tips on answers to behavioral interview questions like the ones below?
have a good answer
Law Student 2848 wrote:How do you approach a problem for which there appears to be no definitive answer?
I would try to find a similar problem that does have an answer. If all else fails, I would ask a colleague or superior for guidance
Law Student 2848 wrote:What would you do in a partner is unavailable and a client needs an immediate answer to a question?
If I was unable to provide an answer, I would explain to the client that I will need a little bit of time to give him the correct answer, because I'd rather delay than be wrong. I would then obtain the correct answer as quickly as possible
Law Student 2848 wrote:Two partners ask you to complete an assignment, but you only have time for one. What do you do?
I would ask them how important the assignments are, so that I would learn which to prioritize. If needed, I would ask the partners to talk to each other and let me know which needs to be done first
Law Student 2848 wrote:When you are an associate, how will you handle a situation where you have too much work to handle it all successfully?

I would tell a superior that I was working as hard as I could, but I had too much work to handle, and could I please hand some off to a colleague? if possible, I'd first find out if a fellow associate has some extra time, and if that associate capable fo doing the work

Don't know if any of these answers are good, but it's what I'd want to hear if I was in the interviewer's position

BostonLove
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby BostonLove » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:58 am

Law Student 2848 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:FWIW I felt that I spent way to much time devising answers for such questions and not enough researching the firm/internship/program I was being interviewed about. In about 60 legal job interviews, only two interviewers employed such a method.


Is there anything you would recommend doing to "research a firm" other than reading their website and the bios of the attorney's interviewing you?


I also had very few behavioral questions. The one interview I remember with them was with a firm that is well known to ask them - but they carefully craft ones that are uncommon and not things you can google. They also didn't so much care about the answer as how you handled yourself in an uncomfortable/on the spot position. On the plus side, they often go straight from screener to offer.

To research a firm, I used a lot of other websites and resources. The firm sites are all good. There are other resources that tell you what firms are looking for in hiring, what the culture actually is, and what makes associates succeed there.

shock259
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby shock259 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:07 pm

I probably did close to 100 interviews total in the OCI process and I was never asked a single behavioral interview question.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Behavioral Interview Questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:07 pm

Cooley asked one to everyone at the screener stage. I also got one "tell me about a time when" question from a partner at a callback, although that might have been more random.




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