Interview tips for lawyers
The key message for anyone attending an interview is to make the best possible impression. The legal market is very small, so make that firm want to offer you the job regardless.
Interviews nearly always cover three things:
- Your experience. Too often people either waffle on, or are too vague. If in doubt, summarize a particular matter and then invite them to ask further questions.
- Why you are looking to move. Don’t be negative. Even if you hate your current firm/job, be as positive as possible. Focus on why their firm interests you and how the opportunity fits your aspirations.
- Why you are interested in moving. When this involves a move offshore, it is important to balance your answer. Whilst work/life balance and tax free money may be the main reasons, the interviewer will want to hear about your commitment to your career. The chances are they had the same reasons as you when they moved, but tread carefully.
Ask plenty of questions. There are three main types: macro (firm strategy etc), operational (team sizes, reporting lines, work allocation); and cultural (what it is like to work there). Asking searching questions demonstrates that you have put real thought into your career. It also gives your interviewers the chance to sell themselves and their firm to you, which most will jump at the chance to do.
Also, don’t forget to:
- Research the firm
- Mirror their style of dress;
- Smile, make eye contact and give a firm handshake;
- Thank them for their time after the meeting and say how much you have enjoyed it ; and
- Follow up with an email.