1. Tell us how much experience do you have with my industry?

Such issues as intellectual property, franchise agreements and service contracts require special knowledge and skills, says Leach. Find out if the attorneys you're screening have worked with a company similar to yours and if you can speak with any previous clients. While some attorneys might be offended by this request, "they shouldn't be put off if you ask them to give a couple of names," Leach says.

2. Explain me how long do you typically take to get back to people?

If you want your attorney to be prompt and easily accessible, be sure to ask how long he or she takes to get back to you when you call, Leach says. Sometimes, you have to go through a paralegal first and may not connect with the lawyer for several days.

3. Tell me how your role relates to the overall goals of your department and firm?

This not only probes your understanding of department and corporate missions by also indirectly checks into your ability to function as a team member to get the work done.

4. Tell us how do you typically communicate with your clients?

Some attorneys prefer to correspond primarily via email or phone; others don't communicate much beyond scheduled office meetings. You're likely going to want to work with someone who is available to answer your questions as they come up, so be sure to find out what their communication style is and whether it works for you.

5. Tell me in what ways has your job prepared to take on greater responsibility?

This is one of the most important questions you will have to answer. The interviewer is looking for examples of your professional development, perhaps to judge your future growth potential, so you must tell a story that demonstrates it. Other skills you may want to demonstrate here are listening skills, honesty and adherence to procedures.

6. Tell us how do you bill?

To avoid surprises when your attorney's bill arrives for the first time, find out exactly how lawyers bill, Leach recommends. Some may bill for minimum increments of 10 minutes, while others might not bill for less than an hour. Also, ask about other expenses such as research and paralegal fees.

7. Explain me will there be anyone else handling my work?

Most lawyers assign work to paralegals, but Sweeney cautions against attorneys who delegate an extensive amount. Taking the time to explain something to your lawyer, then having it re-explained to a paralegal could cost you more money and might muddle the message, she says. While some work can certainly be delegated, be sure that you're clear on who will be handling which tasks.

8. Explain me how do you feel about your progress to date?

This question is not geared solely to rate your progress; it also rates your self-esteem. Be positive, yet do not give the impression you have already done your best work. Make the interviewer believe you see each day as an opportunity to learn and contribute and that you see the environment at the company as conducive to your best efforts.

9. Tell us who else are you interviewing with in Seattle?

A possible throw away, but the interviewer wants to see how serious you are. Know the list of other firms. Cold. Don't blow names. Do not infer that Seattle is one stop on your coffee tour through the Northwest.

Your answer should be, “I have contacted the 5 or 6 leading firms that match my practice interest and background most closely.” If pressed for specifics mention the names, accurately and without bravado.

10. Tell me do you have any clients who could create conflicts?

Find out if your prospective attorney is working for other clients such as competitors or former business partners, who could pose a conflict of interest. If so, problems could arise, and you may not feel comfortable sharing competitive information with the attorney.

Download Interview PDF

11. Please explain a difficult problem you've had to deal with?

This is a favourite tough question. It's not so much the difficult problem but the approach you take to solving problems in general, this question is designed to probe your professional profile, specifically your analytical skills.

12. Tell me what can I contribute to right away?

One of the most frustrating things about hiring someone new is that it can take forever to get them trained and up to speed. When a candidate asks a question like this, they let the interviewers know that they will find a way to help as soon as possible, which is a major bonus. This again gives you the opportunity to sell yourself as someone who can help on those projects, and as an added bonus - it lets you know what skills you need to brush up on before your next interview or even before starting the job.

13. Tell me are there ways to reduce the cost of your services?

Don't be discouraged by what seem to be high fees. Ask if there are ways to cut down on costs, says Fred Steingold, an Ann Arbor, Mich., attorney and author of Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business (Nolo, 2011). For example, you might be able to save money by rounding up documents or writing a summary of events for a legal case yourself. "There are things clients can do that are often helpful," Steingold says. "If the lawyer is not willing to explore some of those options, it might raise a red flag."

14. Tell me what is your approach to conflict resolution?

Find out how much of an attorney's time is spent battling it out in court and how much is devoted to mediating disputes. Then, decide which approach you're more comfortable with. "Sometimes attorneys who are highly litigious are hard to mold when you want to settle a case," says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of Calabasas, Calif.-based MyCorporation, a document-filing services firm that helps small businesses incorporate.

15. Tell me how do you feel about long working hours?

Part of working in the law, particularly a large commercial firm, is being in action outside standard working hours, which could mean being on the job all through the night or for a whole weekend, at short notice. Law firms want to know that you've done your research into working life in the sector and that you can explain why you're not put off.

You might think the attractive aspects of the job outweigh this downside, or you might even like the idea of the buzz that comes from working full-tilt on the kind of headline-grabbing big deals that demand this way of working.

16. Tell me have you done the best work you are capable of doing?

Say ‘yes' and the interviewer will think you're a has-been. Personalise your work history, for this particular question, include the essence of this reply: “I'm proud of my professional achievements to date, especially [give an example]. But I believe the best is yet to come. I am always motivated to give my best efforts and there are always opportunities to contribute if you stay alert”.

17. Tell me is this team empowered to find better and more efficient ways to do things?

The interview process is all about differentiation, and a question like this shows the interviewers that you are determined to be a rock star. Most companies have many folks who are perfectly happy to learn how to do the basic tasks of their job and then sit back and collect a paycheck. What they are looking for is someone who is driven to make things better, who won't just be satisfied with the status quo. By not only identifying yourself as a big time horse, but making sure that the company will give room to graze, you are guaranteed to stand out.

18. Tell us why are you leaving your current firm?

This question is posed to figure out whether it was your decision to leave or whether you are being pushed out of your firm.

Answering Strategy and Options
Remember to never say anything bad about your current firm. Instead start with, “I've learned a lot and had a great experience at Firm X. However…” It's perfectly acceptable to move firms when the workflow is unsteady or you want to expand your experience. Perhaps you want to specialize in a particular niche within your practice area or the firm you are interviewing with has a stronger corporate practice or more interesting clients.

19. Tell us how have you benefited from your disappointments?

Disappointments are different from failures. It is an intelligent interviewer who asks this question; it is also an opportunity for an astute interviewee to shine. The question itself is very positive – it asks to show how you benefited. Note also that it does not give any specific details of specific disappointments, so you don't have to open your mouth and insert your foot. Instead be general. Sum up your answer with “I treat disappointments as a learning experience, I look at what happened, why it happened and how I would do things differently in each stage should the same set of circumstances appear again. That way, I put disappointment behind me and am ready to face the new days' problems”.

20. Tell us have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker? How did you solve it?

The answer to this question is not, "No." Conflicts arise in the workplace, and employers want to know that you will be able to resolve them effectively. The best situations to talk about in response to this question deal with work-related (not personal) conflicts. Describe a time where you and a colleague differed on your approach to an assignment. Then, explain the steps you took to come to an agreement. The anecdote should not end with a description of who "won," but rather how you reached a compromise with your colleague.

This question illustrates why it is so important to prepare for tough interview questions-while you may be able to rattle off a list of colleagues who irk you at a moment's notice, it is much more difficult to come up with a concrete example of a conflict that ended well. Think back on all the projects you have worked on-a "conflict" doesn't necessarily have to be heated or argumentative to qualify as an answer to this question.

21. Tell us what do you think you will be doing 5 years from now?

This is not a trick question. It is usually sincere and not intended to upset or confuse. Remember, the partner asking the question probably asks the same question of himself frequently and is just as uncertain about the answer (if one exists).

Few of us have concrete plans that are 95% certain 5 years down the road. Say something like, “I hope to be a partner in a firm like yours or to be in-house with a firm client. What does it take to make partner here?” These days, many associates do not make partner. If you don't want to make partner, going in-house with a firm client is the next best thing for the firm. Still, asking what it takes to make partner at the firm shows motivation.

22. Explain me which of our practice areas interest you and why?

Your interviewers want you to explain to them why you're a good fit for their firm. That means you need to understand what law firms do, what their type of law firm does, what they do well within their category of law firm, and why their strength in a particular area or areas in the law matches your career aspirations.

So you'll need to explain what it is about finance or IP, and the firm's work in the area in particular, that has led you to apply. If you find that you can't identify an actual area of legal practice that grabs you, do more research or think again about a career in the law.

Remember, though, that your interviewers won't be expecting you to be an expert on your chosen area yet, and you don't have to commit to it for the rest of your career - this point of the interview can be a great time to ask some questions of your own, find out more, and clarify your aspirations - you'll be showing your interest is genuine by doing so.

23. Explain me do you consider yourself a natural leader or a born follower?

How you answer depends a lot on the job offer you are looking for and the stage you are at in your career. With more professional experience under your belt, you may need to be a bit more thoughtful in your answer. You may want to acknowledge that being a leader requires motivating, disciplining staff, and moulding a team involves a number of delicately tuned skills. You may also want to acknowledge that leadership is a lifelong learning process. To address the learning curve, you should highlight that in integral part of the skills of a leader is to take direction from his or her immediate superior and also to seek the input from the people being supervised.

24. Tell us what was the toughest problem you handled this year?

They're looking for brain cells here. Take the question and run with it. Employers want to see a demonstrated ability to work hard, write well, solve problems, and deliver results. Your answer does not have to be limited to legal or professional problems. Use other challenges you faced, and explain how you overcame them.

Answering Strategy and Options
Professional Challenge: “Recently I researched a controversial contract formation issue arising from a defective letter of intent in a failed corporate acquisition. The question included the laws of three states, which were in conflict, and an acquisition of a $500 million company that was abandoned. The partner wanted to develop a motion for summary judgment, but was uncomfortable with the state of the law in the 9th Circuit. Over three weeks, I spent 95 hours developing a new angle that was incorporated into the briefs that were filed at the end of the summer.”
Personal Challenge: “Ever since college, I have wanted to run a marathon. It was a struggle trying to balance training runs and working at a firm, especially while I was in trial. I also injured my ankle a month before the marathon and was worried I wouldn't have enough time to recover. However, I remained committed and finally completed my first marathon a few weeks ago. It was definitely physically and mentally intensive throughout the marathon, but I remained focused, stuck to my pace, and finished the marathon within my goal time.”

25. Tell us how would you describe a typical day on this team?

Last but not least, this question is more of an icebreaker, and should hopefully lead to some banter between you and the interviewer. If the interviewer relays struggles or frustrations, be sure to note how you will help them reduce their workload and make things better. If they respond positively, be sure to reinforce that you think it sounds like a great fit and you are excited for the opportunity to contribute.

Whether you use one of the above examples or not, please make sure that you have something planned for what you will say when asked this question in your next job interview. Rest assured, the question will be asked. It always is.

Download Interview PDF

26. Tell us why do you think you're suited to a career in the law?

Many different types of people succeed in the law and your answer will be dependent on your personality. But there are some characteristics that your interviewers will be expecting you to mention.

Lawyers at law firms work in groups, learning from those senior to them and training those junior to them, so an ability to work in a team is crucial. But they're each individually accountable for a large workload, so they need to be able to take the initiative where necessary and get things done by themselves.

In addition, lawyers need to have an academic mindset to understand laws and legal theory, but must also be able to apply common sense and think about the wider commercial context of their work.

However, clients rely on lawyers to take care of many of the finer points of a deal or dispute for them, so attention to detail is also essential.

27. Please explain what are the reasons for your success in this profession?

With this question, the interviewer is not so much interested in examples of your success – he or she wants to know what makes you tick. Keep your answers short, general and to the point. Using your professional experience, personalise and use value keys from your personal, professional and business profiles. For example: I attribute my success to three reasons: I've always received support from my colleagues, which encourages me to be cooperative and look at my specific job in terms of what we as a department are trying to achieve. That gives me great pride in my work and its contribution to the department's efforts, which is the second factor. Finally, I find that every job has its problems, and while there's always a costly solution. There's usually an economical one as well, whether it is in terms of time or money. Then give an example of your experience that illustrates these points.

28. Explain me what is your greatest weakness as Business Lawyer?

This is always a tough question asked to put the interviewee in a stressful situation and see how they respond.

Answering Strategy and Options
Do not say the first weakness that comes to mind. It can make you look unemployable. Instead, take a negative and make it look like a positive. The interviewer is not necessarily interested in the weakness itself, rather, the interviewer is looking at how you respond to weaknesses and that you are capable of improvement. Describe a weakness you have, but are currently improving (e.g., “I have always had a tough time giving negative feedback to those working under me, but recently I've put forth a greater effort to give the feedback in a meaningful way to help the junior associates that work with me to improve their practice”). Beware of “false weaknesses” (e.g., “I work too hard”). Nobody is perfect and the interviewer knows this, but if you try to be cute with your answer (e.g., “I smile too much”), you may turn off the interviewer altogether.

29. Top 21 Professional Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

1. How did you become interested in X practice area/subject matter?

2. Did you focus on X while you attended law school? (If you are still in school) Do you recommend any courses or clinics that would enhance my understanding of X field?

3. Why did you choose this firm/organization over others?

4. What do you like most about this firm/practice group/organization?

5. What makes someone successful in this role?

6. Tell me about the firm/practice group/organization culture.

7. How is work distributed/how will I receive assignments?

8. What type of assignments do attorneys of my level typically work on?

9. Will I work with the same partners/senior attorneys often or will I be assigned to projects with different partners/senior attorneys?

10. How will my work be evaluated? What kind of feedback can I expect to receive?

11. How do you think the firm will grow in the next five years?

12. Is there a shadowing or training period?

13. How does the firm train junior attorneys to develop business?

14. What makes this firm/organization unique from other similar firms/organizations?

15. Tell me about a memorable case/deal/issue you worked on while working at this firm/organization.

16. Can you explain the firm's/organization's management structure to me in greater detail? Does the headquarter office dictate the actions of the other offices?

17. What type of interaction do attorneys in this office have with attorneys at the firm's/organization's other offices?

18. What do you find most challenging about your practice?

19. What are the biggest challenges facing the firm/organization right now?

20. What is the next step in the hiring process?

21. Do you have any concerns about me as a candidate that would disqualify me from the position?

30. Sample Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ What qualities do you believe will make you a successful lawyer?
☛ How would you describe the ideal summer job?
☛ Tell me about your participation on the journal/in your clinical program. Describe your thesis/research project/note further. (Listen for analytical skills, interest in writing, etc.)
☛ What skills have you developed as a result of your experience?
☛ What goals have you set for yourself? How are you planning to achieve them?
☛ Tell me how your supervisor from your summer internship would describe you.
☛ What was the most useful criticism you ever received, and who was it from?
☛ Describe the project or situation that best demonstrated your analytical skills.
☛ Tell me about an idea you have developed and implemented that was particularly creative or innovative?
☛ Why did you choose the extracurricular activities you did? What did you gain? What did you contribute?
☛ What specialization of law are you interested in?
☛ What is your working experience?
☛ What did you do in your legal internship?
☛ Family background
☛ GPA in undergraduate school and graduate school
☛ Tell me about yourself.
☛ Tell me about your professional goals.
☛ Tell me about your experience as a lawyer.
☛ What interests you in this law firm/organization?
☛ Tell me about your ties to this geographic area.
☛ What do you want to know about our law firm?
☛ What was your favorite course during law school/undergraduate?

31. Tough Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ What are your weaknesses?
☛ What are your strengths?
☛ Why should we hire you?
☛ What will you be doing 5 (or 10) years from now?
☛ Why aren't your grades better?
☛ Why do you want to work for us?
☛ Why did you go to law school?
☛ Why did you choose this school?
☛ Why do you want to work in this city?
☛ Who else are you interviewing with?
☛ Hypothetical questions (e.g., what would you do if, etc.)
☛ What's the biggest mistake you ever made?
☛ What kind of salary are you looking for?
☛ How do you like law school?
☛ "Philosophy"; questions (e.g., if you were a tree...)
☛ Illegal questions
☛ Who'll assign my work?
☛ What will a typical day be like for me?
☛ Will I get feedback on my work?
☛ What kinds of cases will I work on?
☛ What kind of work will I do?
☛ How does someone become a star - what makes them stand out?
☛ Ask questions appropriate to the age of the interviewer the size of the law firm.

32. Trainee solicitor Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Lots of technical questions. e.g. How is a merger/acquisition structured?
☛ They interviewers went through my CV and asked me why I choose the particular A Levels, work experience, extra curricular activities and skills that I have learnt from these.
☛ They also asked about something in the media that particularly interested me and why, and my opinion on the issue.
☛ They asked why I choose their particular firm for a summer placement.
☛ Give an example of where you had to work in a team. See our competency questions page
☛ Why do you want to study law?
☛ What do you think of law?
☛ Give an example of a recent commercial deal that captured your attention: which party/side in this deal would you like to work for if you were a lawyer and why?
☛ Questions about my work experience.
☛ Why do you want to work for our firm?
☛ Why do you want to work in London ?
☛ What extra-curricular activities have you undertaken and why?
☛ Which seats I wanted to complete?
☛ What modules I liked/disliked?
☛ What makes me different from other candidates?
☛ How is our firm different from other firms?

33. Hiring A Business Lawyer Interview Questions:

When interviewing an attorney candidate, especially one who is inexperienced, law firms might want to describe scenarios that are intended to reveal how a candidate would deal with a difficult or awkward situation. The last two items below are examples of scenarios that were used in the author's firm.

☛ Tell me about a time when you had to accomplish a task under a tight deadline while working with someone who was difficult to get along with.
☛ What are the three most important things that you contribute to an organization? What are the three most important things that you could contribute to our firm?
☛ What are some of the most imaginative and creative things that you have done in a job?
☛ How do you deal with stress or conflict? What clues have you come to recognize as signals that you may be under too much stress?
☛ How would a good friend describe you?
☛ What kind of people do you find most difficult to work with?
☛ What do you think are the most important characteristics and abilities for any person's success? How do you rate yourself in these areas?
☛ When have you failed?
☛ Describe the circumstances and how you dealt with, and learned from, the experience.
☛ Describe the work environment that you consider optimal for your personal satisfaction and best performance.
☛ Scenario: You are an attorney working at our firm on a day when you are the only person in the office. An elderly woman comes into the office asking to see a lawyer right away. She does not have an appointment but says that she needs to sign some papers. She has no papers with her. What do you do?
☛ Scenario: You are meeting with a 65-year-old gentleman to take will instructions. He tells you that he has three adult children who are financially well off. He advises that he is divorced, pays spousal support to his ex-wife, and is currently living common law with another woman. Although he has no problems sharing most of his personal information, he refuses to answer any questions about his assets and tells you to write down $1 as his net worth. How do you proceed?

34. Hypothetical and controversial Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

One Kent student commented: "These sorts of questions are very popular (not with me!!). They are trying to see how you construct an argument or how well you can think on your feet and how you react under pressure. Be prepared for them to challenge your opinions and arguments in order to test all these qualities thoroughly"

☛ Is the current 28-day limit for detention without charge in terrorism cases sufficiently long?
☛ Should defendants in criminal cases have the right to know the identity of witnesses giving evidence against them?
☛ Do sporting boycotts have any effect on governments' human rights policies?


The above questions all relate to issues that were widely reported and discussed in the legal and national press during 2008 – interviewers would expect aspiring lawyers to be aware of such issues and to have an opinion on them!

☛ How many petrol stations do you think are in the UK? This is a scoping question.
☛ If you were senior partner in this firm and the BNP came to you for representation what would you do?
☛ If a Client wanted to pay £750,000 for a house in CASH what would you do?
☛ What advice would you give to a friend who wants to set up a restaurant?
☛ How would you explain “the caution” to a client with learning difficulties who is extremely agitated at having just been arrested?
☛ What would you do if three partners all came to you on the same day with separate pieces of work that all needed to be done by 5pm?
☛ Explain the difference between contract and tort in layman's terms;
☛ What makes you laugh?
☛ If you could have any super power, what would it be, and why?

35. About a Career in Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Why do you want to study law?
☛ What do you think of law?
☛ Why do you want to be a solicitor?
☛ Where do see yourself in 5/10 years' time?
☛ What experiences most influenced your career choice?
☛ What do you really want to do in life?
☛ Would your social life or interests outside of work infringe on your work commitment?
☛ Have you applied to anyone else?
☛ What are you looking for in the firms you have applied to?
☛ Are you hoping for specialisation in a particular field, if so why?
☛ What motivates you

36. About your Education Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Why did you select your A level subjects?
☛ Why did you choose your university?
☛ Why did you choose your course?
☛ What have you gained from your course?
☛ Did the course live up to your expectations?
☛ What aspects of your course did you find the most challenging?
☛ Have you been required to re-sit any examinations?
☛ Why do you think this was?
☛ Are you satisfied with your academic achievements to date?
☛ What do you see as the principal benefits of university life apart from obtaining a degree?
☛ Non-law graduates: What benefit, if any, do you consider your degree subject has to a career in law?

37. Career based Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Why law? Why do you want to be a solicitor/barrister?
☛ Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
☛ Where else have you applied?
☛ What are you expecting to gain from a career in law?
☛ What qualities are needed to be a good solicitor/barrister? Do you have these?
Explain how your (legal or other) experience applies to our work.
You should be prepared to answer questions on your career in some detail, and with conviction. You need to be able to show that your decisions are logical, and based on good information and experience.

38. Exit Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ What originally interested you about the position you are leaving?
☛ What were your expectations when you were hired?
☛ What expectations were met? What ones were not met?
☛ Do we as a firm “practice what we preach”? With clients? Team members? Suppliers?
☛ What can we do to improve in any of the above areas?
☛ What were the key frustrations in your position? Suggested solutions?
☛ What are the ideal qualities and skills a person should have for the position?
☛ Was working here a positive learning experience? If not, please comment.
☛ If you were hiring for your position, what questions would you ask candidates?
☛ If you had to make one recommendation, what would it be?
☛ If a friend was applying for a job at our office, what would you tell them?
☛ Are there any other concerns or comments that you would like to make?

39. Pupillages and Inns of Court scholarships Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Why have you applied to study the BPTC at --- law school?
☛ Why do you want to be a barrister?
☛ Have you done any more mini-pupillages after you submitted your application form for the scholarship?
☛ What area of law do you want to practise in and why?
☛ Where do you want to work geographically and why?
☛ How did you become particularly interested in family law?
☛ Isn't what you want to do quite specific? (child care cases)
☛ What do you think about the recent divorce cases awarding so much money to a partner when marriage has only lasted 3 years?
☛ Tell us about one of your moots
☛ How would your friends describe you?
☛ How do you feel when other people disagree with you? Are you willing to listen to their side of the argument?
☛ Give us a two-minute potted history of your life, focusing on the high points
☛ Put forward three arguments in support of (and then against) a mother seeking a hysterectomy for her teenage, learning-disabled daughter.
☛ In pupillage interviews candidates may be asked to make a submission – such as a bail application or a plea in mitigation – with interviewers taking the role of a panel of judges

40. Role-specific Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ What interests you about being a legal counsel for our industry?
☛ What do you hope to achieve by working at our company?
☛ What experience or training has prepared you for this position?
☛ Describe your proudest accomplishments in your legal career. How do you define success?
☛ Recall a situation that required you to seek outside counsel. What factors did you consider? What was the result?
☛ What other types of situations require outside counsel?
☛ What's the most complex legal situation you've faced at work? What strategy did you use to resolve it?
☛ Regarding the previous question, who else was involved in this project? What were their roles?
☛ Describe a situation where you made a mistake or regretted your decision. How did you handle it?
☛ How do you cope with stress at work?
☛ What kind of training or feedback will help you to excel in this role?
☛ Describe a time you had to prioritize conflicting deadlines. How did you arrive at your decision?
☛ How would you learn more about our organization during your first week on the job?

Download Interview PDF

41. About the Firm based Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Why do you want to work for our firm?
☛ Why do you want to work in London?
☛ Which seats do you want to complete?
☛ How is this firm different from its competitors?

42. Competency Based Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ Give an example of when and how you have worked in a team?
☛ Give an example of a time when you were not in agreement with the rest of the team. How did you react?
☛ What achievements in your life are you most proud of?
☛ What are your strengths?
☛ What is your greatest weakness?
☛ Can you give me evidence that you set yourself high personal standards?
☛ Would you say that you usually achieve what you set out to do?
☛ How do you go about motivating yourself when the pressure is off?
☛ How do you go about organising your time and assessing priorities?
☛ Why, among all the candidates, should we choose you?
☛ Describe a situation where you acted on your own initiative?
☛ What is the worst mistake you have ever made and what did you learn from it
☛ How do you react to pressure?
☛ How do you react to failure?
☛ How do you respond to change?
☛ How do you go about handling difficult people?
☛ If a decision goes against you how do you take it?
☛ How would your friends describe you?
☛ How would your enemies describe you?
☛ Tell me about a situation when you have had to meet a tight deadline?
☛ Give me an example of a time when you had to negotiate to achieve a desired outcome?

43. Technical Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ How is a merger/acquisition structured?
☛ Give an example of a recent commercial deal that captured your attention: which party/side in this deal would you like to work for if you were a lawyer and why?
☛ How would you sell on services to a client? - for solicitors in commercial practice only
☛ You are alone in the office and a client phones demanding instant advice, what do you do?
☛ You are alone in the office and a very important client phones demanding you shred various documents of theirs. What do you do?
☛ What would you do if three partners all came to you with work they wanted you to do by 5pm that day?
☛ If you were Lord Chancellor for the day what would you do?
☛ If you had a completely free choice, which law would you like to change and why?
☛ Give me an example of a recent legal decision that you have disagreed with and explain why.
☛ What do you see as the main challenges facing the legal profession in the next few years?
☛ How would you demonstrate to a client that you were commercially aware of their business and their needs?
☛ Why would you want to do legal aid work?
☛ What do you know about the impact of the Human Rights Act on law in this country?
☛ What sort of advocacy experience do you have?
☛ Tell me about a time when you advocated (or performed) poorly?
☛ Why do you think this was?
☛ What are the key skills and qualities for a successful solicitor/barrister?
☛ If you were senior partner in this firm and the BNP came to you for representation what would you do?
☛ If a Client wanted to pay £750,000 for a house in CASH what would you do?
☛ What advice would you give to a friend who wants to set up a restaurant?
☛ How would you explain "the caution" to a client with learning difficulties who is extremely agitated at having just been arrested?
☛ Explain the difference between contract and tort in layman's terms.

44. Top 100 Basic and Professional Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions:

☛ 1 Where do you see yourself in five years time?
☛ 2 Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
☛ 3 Tell me about yourself?
☛ 4 What is your major achievement?
☛ 5 What do you consider yourself good at doing?
☛ 6 What sort of person are you?
☛ 7 What are your strengths?
☛ 8 What are your weaknesses?
☛ 9 How would you approach this job?
☛ 10 How do you get things done?
☛ 11 How would you decide on your objectives?
☛ 12 How do you manage your day?
☛ 13 What motivates you?
☛ 14 How do you cope without motivation?
☛ 15 How long were you at your last job?
☛ 16 Why did you leave your last job?
☛ 17 How have you changed in the last five years?
☛ 18 What contribution do you make to a team?
☛ 19 How do you react if you find that someone you work with does not like you?
☛ 20 Have you ever experienced such a problem during your working life?
☛ 21 If so, how did you cope and how did the matter resolve itself if it did occur?
☛ 22 What would your peers say about you?
☛ 23 Describe your ideal work environment?
☛ 24 Describe your worst work environment?
☛ 25 Tell me about a time when you successfully handled a situation?
☛ 26 Tell me about a time when you felt that you dealt with a situation inadequately, and how has that changed how you would approach the same situation?
☛ 27 What do you think you can bring to this position?
☛ 28 What do you think you can bring to this company?
☛ 29 How do you see this job developing?
☛ 30 What sort of salary are you expecting?
☛ 31 What was your last salary?
☛ 32 If you did not have to work what would you do?
☛ 33 What decisions do you find easy to make?
☛ 34 What decisions do you find difficult to make?
☛ 35 Do you like to work in a team or on your own?
☛ 36 What would you do if you don't get this position?
☛ 37 If offered the position, how long do you plan to stay at this company?
☛ 38 On taking this job, what would be your major contribution?
☛ 39 How do you get the best out of people?
☛ 40 How do you respond under stress?
☛ 41 Can you provide a recent example of when you were under stress, and how you coped?
☛ 42 What support training would you require to be able to do this job? If not, why not? Explain.
☛ 43 What would you look forward to most in this job?
☛ 44 In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing the legal industry?
☛ 45 What will be your key target in this job if we appoint you?
☛ 46 What makes you think you can be successful with us?
☛ 47 How does the job sound to you?
☛ 48 Which subjects did you enjoy during your qualifying degree?
☛ 49 Why do you want to be a solicitor?
☛ 50 Have you always wanted to be a solicitor?
☛ 51 What is your alternative career, should law not be the avenue for you?
☛ 52 Would you be able to supply any references?
☛ 53 What sort of response would we get from your referees about your professional as well as social manner?
☛ 54 Why would you want to do LSC funded (legal aid) work? If not, why not? Explain.
☛ 55 Why should we employ you, instead of someone else?
☛ 56 What do you think about partnership prospects in the future?
☛ 57 We are not willing to give partnership prospects, what are your views on that?
☛ 58 What are you expecting from this firm in the future?
☛ 59 What are your views on the franchising of legal aid firms?
☛ 60 What are your views on the policies of the Legal Services Commission?
☛ 61 What do you know about the impact of the Human Rights Act on law in this country?
☛ 62 Do you think that there will be a major impact on criminal law?
☛ 63 How has business/commercial/family law been affected by the change?
☛ 64 Have you ever attended a court hearing or employment tribunal?
☛ 65 What was the outcome?
☛ 66 How much preparation on files for trial do you do?
☛ 67 How much do you expect Counsel to do?
☛ 68 What do you think about the principle of Legal Aid? Should clients have to pay for services they use in all circumstances?
☛ 69 Are you willing to do after-hour work?
☛ 70 Are you willing to go through the accreditation process for police station advisors?
☛ 71 In the future would you be willing to manage a branch office? If not, why not? Explain.
☛ 72 What sort of advocacy experience do you have (apart from those taught on the LPC)?
☛ 73 Do you think you would need to undergo training for advocacy?
☛ 74 How do you stand on equal opportunities?
☛ 75 Have you ever been involved either paid or unpaid with the services of the voluntary sector?
☛ 76 What do you think about law as it is practised in private practice firms?
☛ 77 What are the three main attributes for a successful commercial lawyer?
☛ 78 What views do you hold on the recent budget?
☛ 79 Who would you take a desert island, and why?
☛ 80 Are you a member of any clubs or charities?
☛ 81 What sort of activities are you interested in outside of work?
☛ 82 Are you a socialising person? What is your work/life balance?
☛ 83 Would your social life infringe on your work commitment?
☛ 84 If so, how? Explain.
☛ 85 What sort of management skills do you have?
☛ 86 Do you think you require training in management skills? Why?
☛ 87 Do you prefer to manage yourself or let someone else do the managing?
☛ 88 Are you a leader or a follower?
☛ 89 Are you computer literate?
☛ 90 Would you be able to do time-recording? Do you keep good time?
☛ 91 What sort of employment background do you have?
☛ 92 Why did you come to us through an agency?
☛ 93 Have you applied anywhere else apart from us?
☛ 94 Have you had any other interviews apart from us?
☛ 95 Have you been offered a position yet?
☛ 96 How much notice would you need to give to your present employer if you were offered a position?
☛ 97 Would you be willing to branch out into any other area of law, if the need arose?
☛ 98 Have you ever been abroad?
☛ 99 Do you speak any other languages apart from English?
☛ 100 What questions have you for us?

45. Tell me what part would laws and lawyers play in a corporate acquisition, an IPO, a dispute between two businesses, or a price-fixing investigation?

Your interviewers will expect you to not just be interested in the business world, but also to have an understanding of how law firms fit in.

It's relatively rare to find law firms mentioned in business stories in the FT or the Economist, but they will be advising the parties involved in nearly every instance. For coverage of which law firms are acting for who, and what exactly they're doing, check out The Lawyer, Legal Week, or law firms' own websites.

You'll find that wherever parties are entering into a complex transaction, such as a corporate purchase or a financing, lawyers will be required to advise on laws and terms, prepare the documentation, and make sure the deal goes ahead smoothly.

And lawyers will guide the parties involved in any dispute through the legal rights and wrongs of their case, and the practicalities of the dispute resolution process being used.

46. Tell us are you a team player? Do you prefer working alone? Have you ever had an unsatisfactory experience working for someone (or when someone worked for you)? How did you handle it?

Whether you work in a firm of two or 500 lawyers, teamwork is essential. You will work closely with clients, adversaries, other counsel, and colleagues. People who don't enjoy a team environment or who are too single minded to work effectively with others are likely to fail.

Don't just tell interviewers you are a team player - come up with a specific example in your current position where you have put other people on your team before yourself (maybe you recently covered for someone or volunteered to mentor a more junior associate). We've all had bad experiences with supervisors or subordinates, but don't use this question as an opportunity to criticize others for whom you have worked. Falling into the pit of disparagement creates an impression that you may be insubordinate at worst and inflexible at a minimum.

47. Explain me what is the immediate need on your legal team that you are hoping to fill with this position?

You know that their organisation has a need, because they have an opening. There is most likely a project or team about to get started or is expanding, or a required skill - set that they need but are lacking. Whatever they come back with, this is a perfect segue for you to explain why you are the perfect person to fill that gap. You can explain why your experience and expertise makes you exactly who they have been looking for.

48. Tell us what are you reading at the moment or enjoying on TV? Who would be at your dream dinner party? Why did you get that one bad exam result in your first year?

Law firms want candidates who are intelligent, well-informed and capable, but they're also aware that being a good lawyer is very dependent on having an engaging personality - without one, you're simply not going to be able to win and keep clients, which is what your success at a law firm will hinge on more than anything else.

So be prepared for some slightly surprising questions like these. It's not really about what your actual answer is, more how you react to the question and what your answer says about your personality. So stay cool, don't panic, and be yourself.

49. Explain me about an event that really challenged you. How did you meet the challenge? In what ways was your approach different from others?

This is a straight-forward two-part question. The first probes your problem-solving abilities. The second asks you to set yourself apart from the rest. First of all outline the problem. Having done that, go ahead and explain your solution, its value to your employer and how it was different from other approaches.

50. Tell me what do you think determines progress in a good law firm?

Your answer should include all the positive personality traits you have been illustrating throughout the interview. Include allusion to the listening profile, determination, ability to take the rough with the smooth, adherence to systems and procedures and the good fortune to be part of a firm that wants you to grow as well.

51. Tell me what can I tell you about the firm?

This could possibly be possible filler, or a sincere question by someone who wants to sell you on their practice. Regardless, this is your moment to shine and show off all of your interview preparation. When this question comes, embrace it and take control of the interview. You would be surprised at the number of interviews that are dead upon arrival once this question is posed.

Use this opportunity to highlight your knowledge of the firm, which, in the eyes of the interviewer, will translate to your interest in the firm. You now have the chance to select topics, guide the conversation, and hopefully learn more about the firm along the way. If you know the interviewer recently closed a multimillion dollar deal, ask them about the experience and if junior associates are ever involved in the process. If you know the firm is expanding a practice group, ask about how it is going and if the firm has a growth strategy for the practice group you are interested in.

52. Tell me do you make referrals to other attorneys?

You need to know whether your attorney would be willing to put you in touch with their colleagues on a specialized issue he or she lacks experience in. For fear of losing business, some lawyers are wary of referring clients to other attorneys, even if they have expertise in a particular area, such as tax law.

53. Explain me you currently work in New York. Why are you now interested in California?

The question is not malicious. Each year, many firms are burned by attorneys who profess an interest to move to a new city only to end up staying briefly and leave within a year or two. Be honest, but don't feel pressured to list off any possible connection you may have in the location of the firm (e.g., “A third-cousin I never met lives in the city too”). Just remember all of the reasons why you want to relocate and be enthusiastic with your response. A genuine explanation far outweighs any made up one.

Answering Strategy and Options
“My spouse has decided to settle in California. He was raised here and his family still lives here” (a powerful and credible explanation). To make a stronger case, think of an additional reason you are interested in the area so the interviewer doesn't think you will pick up and move again in two years once your spouse gets yet another new job.
“I have spent a considerable amount of time researching San Francisco, examining the firms, and talking with lawyers in the community. It is a city that matches my practice interests the best as I am fascinated by emerging growth companies.”

54. Explain me about a recent deal or case you've worked on?

This question is posed to figure what level your practice is at and what you can bring to the table. The interviewer wants to know whether you are a true third-year attorney or whether your firm was so slow in your first year that they should really consider you a second year. They are also checking to see how well you can articulate an answer. If you can easily explain a complex deal or case to the interviewer, you will likely be able to do the same for a client.

Come into the interview ready to discuss three matters you have worked on this year. If you don't remember the tasks you completed for each one, go back and take a look at your time records. For each matter, be prepared to discuss your role, the outcome and anything else that made the work unique.

55. Tell us do you belong to any specialized bar associations?

You want an attorney who keeps up with the latest legal and business matters. Be sure to ask whether he or she belongs to such groups as the local bar association, chamber of commerce or a small-business advisory board. "Are they taking a step beyond just saying, 'I do business law'?" Leach says. "The problem with a sole practitioner is sometimes they turn into monks and aren't out in society. You want someone who is keeping up with what's going on."

Download Interview PDF

56. Explain me how your legal organisation/law firm defines success?

It would be wise to save this question for the interviewing manager, and not for a peer/technical discussion. Nobody likes a kiss-up, but letting management know that you will communicate openly and honestly with them, always scores big points. The last part of the question can be a good barometer about how easy it will be to become a top performer. You can follow up with a discussion of how you have been successful in your previous jobs.

57. Where do you see yourself in five years as Business Lawyer?

This question is especially tough if you are at the beginning of your career, when your path is less clear and you may be unsure where you are headed. What's most important is to show that you have clear goals, and that the position you are interviewing for makes sense as a part of your trajectory. Make sure that the goals you state are not only compatible with, but directly related to, the role. Most interviewers are proud of their companies and are not interested in hiring someone who sees a job as merely a stepping stone to where they really want to be.

At the same time, hiring managers understand that no one aims to stay in a junior role forever. If you are interviewing for an entry-level position, talk about your passion for the industry and your interest in advancing in your field. If the company employs more senior people in the same area, you can talk about eventually gaining more responsibility and contributing more substantively to the organization. The one exception is that at a very small company, it can come across as aggressive to talk about moving up in the ranks-in this situation, focus on growing within the industry in general.

58. Tell me why did you choose to study X at university?

If you didn't study law, don't worry that your qualifications or motivation are being questioned - law firms are very interested in candidates studying other subjects and value what they can bring to the firm. And if you studied law, you'll still have to explain why, even if it's simply because you wanted a head start on a legal career.

Whatever degree you did, try to demonstrate there was logical thinking behind your decision, outline what skills relevant to a legal career your degree has given you, and show a bit of your personality by conveying what it is about the subject that interests you.

59. Tell me what kind of decisions are most difficult for you?

You are human, admit it, but be careful what you admit. Emphasise that having reached a logical conclusion, you act. You want to use an example that will demonstrate your consideration, analytical abilities and concern for the departments.

60. Tell me how did your boss get the best out of you?

This is a manageability question, geared to probing whether you are going to be a pain in the neck or not. Whatever you say it is important for your ongoing happiness that you make it clear you don't appreciate being treated like a doormat. You don't want to work for someone who is going to make life miserable for you.

61. Tell us what have you learned from jobs you have held?

The interviewer needs to understand that you seek and can accept constructive advice and that your business decisions are based on the ultimate good of the firm, not your personal whim or preference.