chitown2626 wrote:What were some of the questions that were consistently asked to you guys during interviews and do you have any advice to answering those questions (Specifically, what about the "why law school" question, and tips for answering that)? Also, did you have any questions or things happen in interviews that you would consider "tricky" or difficult or that you were unprepared for? Thanks so much.
I think we got all of the traditional interview questions: Why law school? What was your favorite class? Why do you want to work in a large law firm? Why should we hire you over the other 37 people we're interviewing from Illinois? Oh, you're top 10 percent, why aren't you top 5 percent? (this last one was said as a joke.....I think.) Where do you see yourself in five years? If you're faced with a problem, what are the first steps you take towards solving it? Why This Market?
The harder ones are variations on those questions: What neighborhood in This Market do you think you'd want to live in? Why did you pick Illinois over My Alma Mater? What interests you most about the cooperate side of things?
Advice on answering these questions is never a one-size fits all solution. You need to do the research about the firm and the market so that you can tie your individual experiences into answers to all of these questions. If you can answer the more general variations of the questions handily, you'll be able to put together a good answer for the more specific versions of the same question without skipping a beat.
For why law school: Just have some experience or interaction that you can point to. If you don't, a variation on Bork's answer to the question of why he should be SCOTUS confirmed is fine: It will be an intellectual feast. Note: don't actually say that, but that is a fine message to send. It didn't work for Bork (because his situation was vastly different from yours!), but if you play it right it can work for you. This can also work for Why Biglaw?
If you have something on your resume, be prepared to talk about it. I had some reasearch on my resume that they asked substantive questions about in a few of my interviews. Luckily, just in case, I'd reread some of the papers I wrote for that project prior to OCI so I could still talk intelligently about it. Along those same lines, if there's anything easily found on The Google about you, be prepared to answer about it. I don't want to out myself more than my posts here already do, but this was an issue for me and I had to be sure to have good answers about some rather interesting experiences that weren't on my resume.
Ask plenty of questions, but don't lead with something like, 'does your firm offer free bike storage?" Try, instead, to stick to substantive issues: About your interviewer's past (how they got to the firm, why they've stayed, why they're on the recruiting committee etc.) Culture, staffing (how many partners/associates per deal/case on average), how your interviewer personally uses summer associates/first years, if there's any news about the firm that's interesting (I had CBs at two firms considering mergers--provided for a number of good interview questions and showed that I'd done research outside of just reading the firm's website), the differences between certain practice areas, etc. etc. etc.
The bottom line for interviewing is this: Be intelligent, excited and well-informed. If your interviewer is more formal, be more formal. If your interviewer is casual, be more casual. Play to their personality but make sure that everything you say is truthful and casts you in the best light possible.