Most Common Interview Mistakes
 

Not Knowing Yourself

  • Not knowing about information on your resume
  • Failing to clearly articulate the legal assignments asked about
  • Failure to distinguish yourself

Not Knowing the Firm

  • Lack of preparation - failing to know background of the interviewer or the particular opportunities available/not available in particular offices
  • Calling the firm by the wrong name
  • Not showing real interest in our work
  • Lack of interest in geographic location of office
  • Being too open about your interest in public interest or academia (from law firm respondent)
  • Stating that you are choosing firm work for the money
  • Stating that you are interested in our firm to avoid doing document review
  • Students who use interview as information gathering session

Poor Interview Demeanor

  • Poor eye contact
  • Fidgeting
  • Being overly nervous, shy, meek
  • Giving obvious responses based on what someone would want to hear, rather than candid responses
  • Being over or under confident
  • Giving yes or no responses – you should elaborate more
  • Crisp, well-articulated answers tend to improve the flow of the interview
  • Not seizing the opportunity for an interesting dialogue (the interview should be fun)
  • Difficulty maintaining a conversation
  • Making the interviewer fill dead time with talk
  • Not having questions prepared

Favorite FIP Interviewer Questions

  • Get to know you questions: interests or activities on the resume.
  • Tell me about (something on the resume).
  • What skill was most important in achieving (something on resume)?
  • Why did you choose to attend law school?
  • If you weren’t in law school, what would you be doing?
  • Why do you want to be a lawyer?
  • Why are you interested in our firm?
  • What factors are most important to you when deciding on a firm?
  • Inquiring about prior legal experience.
  • What stood out for you in your work this summer?
  • What was the most interesting thing you were asked to do last summer and why?
  • Describe an interesting legal issue you have dealt with.
  • Discuss a case that you thought was poorly reasoned.
  • Explain a work assignment or thesis of a law school paper (or college thesis) in terms that your grandparent would understand.
  • What are some disappointments you have had and how did you deal with them?
  • Tell me about a difficult problem you have had and how you solved it.
  • What are your personal standards of success and when have you met and exceeded them?
  • What haven’t you talked about that is on your mind?
  • What can I tell you that would be useful to you?
  • What do you need to hear from me?
  • What question do you want me to ask you and how would you answer it?

Best Questions for Students to Ask in an Interview

  • What type of people succeed in your firm and why?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What kinds of assignments do junior associates handle for you regularly?
  • Tell me about what your day-to-day involves.
  • What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on in the past 6 months?
  • Why did YOU pick your firm?
  • What differentiates your firm from other firms?
  • What advice can you give me as I start my legal career?
  • Is there anything you wish you had known about your firm before you started?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were sitting on this side of the table?
  • What practice areas do you anticipate growing in the next five years?
  • Tell me about the health of your office. 

FIP INTERVIEWER PREFERENCES REGARDING STUDENT TRANSCRIPTS

  • General Thoughts
    • Take black letter courses outside requirements
    • Take courses relevant to stated area(s) of interest – examples: Property, Criminal Procedure, Tax, Intellectual Property, Environmental Law, Trial Advocacy
    • Journal experience nice but generally not necessary – 60% say “somewhat important”, 30% say “not important” and 12% say “very important”
    • Having an Honor is valued – 55% say “very important, 39% say “somewhat important”, 5% say “not important”
       
  • Specific Preferred Courses
    • Administrative Law
    • Antitrust
    • Black letter courses outside requirements
    • Business Organizations
    • Clinics
    • Constitutional Law
    • Corporations
    • Evidence
    • Federal Courts
    • Finance
    • Legislation
    • Moot Court and Mock Trial
    • Regulatory courses
    • Securities Regulation