Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

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Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:14 am

2014 grad looking for some TLS wisdom:

For the past 9 months, I have been working as a Law Clerk at one of the top (and largest) law firms in my desired practice area (It's a very niche practice area). I work full time, (with pretty much as much overtime as I want), but receive no benefits. I generally enjoy the work, and I love the people, especially the group I work with. I have primarily worked for two attorneys: a mid-level Associate Attorney, and her direct supervisor, a Senior Associate. I have a great mentor-mentee relationship with both. I know that they both really like my work, and have pushed for me behind the scenes, especially the Senior Associate. The firm knows I would love to join as an Associate Attorney. However, I have also let them know I am exploring other opportunities, as I can't be a law clerk for ever. I had a recent interview with another firm that seems to have set things in motion, or at least expedited them. (Even though the other firm is not on par with my current firm in any way)

Today, I was informed by HR/Recruitment that the firm would like to interview me for an Associate Attorney position. They are looking to do this ASAP, like early next week. I also learned that the Associate Attorney position i'm interviewing for has been posted on the firm's website for some time now, and lists a requirement of 2-3 years of experience. HR/Recruitment person mentioned that (1) there are also a few other candidates being interviewed; and (2) that normally they wouldn't consider a 2014 grad for this position, but because i've been with the firm for a while now, my situation is different.

I'll be interviewing with the partner that has an opening in his group, and an equity partner. HR/Recruitment person mentioned that usually this is the screener, and that there are two more rounds after that. But for me, he's not sure what the process will be, since i'm an internal candidate. I spoke with the attorneys I work for about my interview and they were so laid back about it. I felt they were unusually laid back because they both helped me prep for my interview with the other firm, and they were a lot more intense during that. They are almost making me feel like the interview process is just a formality, and that i'll be offered the position.

Obviously, I'm not going in with that mentality. I'm going to prep for this interview just as well as i would prep for any other interview. However, i will admit i'm a bit worried, as i'm not sure how an interview of an "internal candidate" such as myself, will play out. Like, what kind of questions are they going to ask me? And what kind of questions am i supposed to ask?

Any thoughts?

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:36 am

Is the group in your current practice area? Do you know the two partners?

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AreJay711
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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:53 am

I'd bet the interview will be more focused on specific projects you've done at the firm and less questions to assess your personality and other experience. Since you already know the firm and its culture, you questions should probably be more focused on what exactly you'd be doing in your new position, who you'd be working for, and that kind of thing. Use your familiarity to your benefit. Good luck.

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:38 pm

I had an internal interview, and the questions were a little different from a normal interview. Some of them were expected (what were my favorite assignments, what other jobs was I looking at and why I preferred the place I was at, things like that), but then since they knew me really well I also got asked specific questions about my work (like if I would be alright with the stress of the job given the time I messed up and needed a deadline extended)

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:04 pm

Other25BeforeYou wrote:Is the group in your current practice area? Do you know the two partners?


OP here:

Yes it is. But i haven't worked with the attorneys in that group.

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:06 pm

AreJay711 wrote:I'd bet the interview will be more focused on specific projects you've done at the firm and less questions to assess your personality and other experience. Since you already know the firm and its culture, you questions should probably be more focused on what exactly you'd be doing in your new position, who you'd be working for, and that kind of thing. Use your familiarity to your benefit. Good luck.


OP here:

Good advice. Especially regarding the questions to ask. That was one of the issues i was a bit worried about.
Thanks.

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I had an internal interview, and the questions were a little different from a normal interview. Some of them were expected (what were my favorite assignments, what other jobs was I looking at and why I preferred the place I was at, things like that), but then since they knew me really well I also got asked specific questions about my work (like if I would be alright with the stress of the job given the time I messed up and needed a deadline extended)


OP here:

Thanks for sharing your experience. Im expecting mine to be somewhat similar. I've been trying to come up with as many specific questions that they could ask me (like about my work generally, specific projects, etc.) and thinking through how i would answer them.

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I had an internal interview, and the questions were a little different from a normal interview. Some of them were expected (what were my favorite assignments, what other jobs was I looking at and why I preferred the place I was at, things like that), but then since they knew me really well I also got asked specific questions about my work (like if I would be alright with the stress of the job given the time I messed up and needed a deadline extended)


OP here:

Thanks for sharing your experience. Im expecting mine to be somewhat similar. I've been trying to come up with as many specific questions that they could ask me (like about my work generally, specific projects, etc.) and thinking through how i would answer them.


Topics I'd be prepared for include challenges you confronted in your time there, things you didn't like, details about any of the assignments you did (it was especially helpful for me to try to come up with something enthusiastic to say about each of the major projects I worked on), where you see yourself in 5 years, what you like/don't like about the practice area, questions about experiences on your resume and how they compare to your current work, how you've improved since your last performance review or critique if you've ever had one or other ways you deal with a weak area of yours, and then of course why you want to be there.

And then I'd prepare questions mainly focused on how your job would change, how supervision would work, how much responsibility you would get and how that would increase over time. (I think those are safe topics that generally send the right message).

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I had an internal interview, and the questions were a little different from a normal interview. Some of them were expected (what were my favorite assignments, what other jobs was I looking at and why I preferred the place I was at, things like that), but then since they knew me really well I also got asked specific questions about my work (like if I would be alright with the stress of the job given the time I messed up and needed a deadline extended)


OP here:

Thanks for sharing your experience. Im expecting mine to be somewhat similar. I've been trying to come up with as many specific questions that they could ask me (like about my work generally, specific projects, etc.) and thinking through how i would answer them.


Topics I'd be prepared for include challenges you confronted in your time there, things you didn't like, details about any of the assignments you did (it was especially helpful for me to try to come up with something enthusiastic to say about each of the major projects I worked on), where you see yourself in 5 years, what you like/don't like about the practice area, questions about experiences on your resume and how they compare to your current work, how you've improved since your last performance review or critique if you've ever had one or other ways you deal with a weak area of yours, and then of course why you want to be there.

And then I'd prepare questions mainly focused on how your job would change, how supervision would work, how much responsibility you would get and how that would increase over time. (I think those are safe topics that generally send the right message).


OP Here:

Thank you so much! this is super helpful.

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:41 pm

OP here:

Anybody else have suggestions or thoughts? My interview is coming up and I can't help but be nervous!

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thewaterlanding
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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby thewaterlanding » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here:

Anybody else have suggestions or thoughts? My interview is coming up and I can't help but be nervous!



Look at it this way, 75% of the interview is assessing whether you are a fit for their firm. You already have that, presumably. Just go in with confidence and apply the other advice given in this thread. Everything else is out of your hands.

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Re: Tips for internal interview: law clerk to Associate Attorney

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:25 pm

thewaterlanding wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here:

Anybody else have suggestions or thoughts? My interview is coming up and I can't help but be nervous!



Look at it this way, 75% of the interview is assessing whether you are a fit for their firm. You already have that, presumably. Just go in with confidence and apply the other advice given in this thread. Everything else is out of your hands.


OP here:

Thanks, that is a good point.




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