1. Tell us what Does a Paralegal Do?

You should tell the interviewer about times you were under pressure and the steps that you took. You should use specific examples, to highlight key issues. You should highlight your application process, and the relevant legal principals you used when doing so.

2. Why did you decide to become a paralegal?

The interviewer wants to know your motivation for entering the field. Make it clear that your true intention is to be a paralegal and not a lawyer.

"I became a paralegal because I have a true passion for the law and criminal justice. I am drawn to the research and data aspect of the industry. Additionally, I love working with a team and playing an integral role in the process."

3. What tools and methods do you use for the day to day organization and planning of your work?

Describe the systems you use to stay organized. How do you prioritize your workload? How do you plan and schedule your work tasks and activities? How do you stay focused and productive despite interruptions and conflicting demands on your time?

This is a good opportunity to highlight the paralegal software you are familiar with such as Lexis/Nexis, Concordance, CaseMap.

4. Why did you choose to become a paralegal? Why did you choose to specialize in this area of the law?

In your paralegal interview be convincing about your passion for the law. A paralegal position offers an opportunity to participate meaningfully in the legal process. It allows you to think critically and analytically and to optimize your communication skills.

As a paralegal you will be constantly learning and growing. Look at your particular specialization - litigation, criminal, corporate, insurance, family law etc - and consider what it is about the specific demands of the job that you enjoy.

5. Tell us what skills are most important for a Paralegal?

When answering this question you will need to include some of the following:

Organization and planning, research and analytical skills, writing skills, judgment and decision-making skills, attention to detail, strong communication skills, patience and perseverance, confidentiality and sensitivity.

6. How have you dealt with confidential and sensitive information in the past?

It's essential that a Paralegal shows a lot of diplomacy, when using and dealing with sensitive and confidential information. You will need to provide a specific time when you done so.

7. What tools and methods do you use for the daily planning and organization of your work?

As a paralegal, you must be organized and able to prioritize your workload. Use this question to explain how you achieve that. This is a great opportunity to highlight your use of any paralegal software as well.

"In order to plan and schedule my work tasks and activities, I use Microsoft Outlook. I use various paralegal software programs to organize my case files. A few examples include CaseMap and Concordance. These tools allow for a more efficient and productive work environment."

8. What are the most important skills for a paralegal?

In your paralegal interview answer include organization and planning, research and analytical skills, writing skills, judgment and decision-making skills, attention to detail, strong communication skills, patience and perseverance, confidentiality and sensitivity.

9. How do you check the accuracy of your work?

Highlight your attention to detail and your focus on all areas involved in the task no matter how small. Describe the systems and processes you use to check your work for accuracy and completeness.

10. What tools does a Paralegal need for organizing and planning day to day?

The things you should tell the interviewer are as follows:

► The systems you use to keep your self organized.
► How you prioritize your workload
► The way you plan and schedule your work
► How you are able to keep focused throughout any conflicts and time limitations.

You can also tell the interviewer about any computer software you have used, such as Lexis/Nexis, Concordance, CaseMap.

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11. Tell us what method(s) do you use to show that your work is accurate?

You will need to highlight your attention to all the details within a specific task, whether it was small or big. You should then tell the interviewer about your systems and processes used for checking your work and its accuracy.

12. Can you please give me an example of a time recently when you had to organize and analyze a lot of data that had to be used within a tight deadline?

Most likely this type of situation will happen regularly as a paralegal. Show that you can produce quality results under pressure.

"In my previous position, we had a case where we were representing a plaintiff with a quickly approaching court date. The case involved the purchase of a new home and the seller did not disclose to our client that there was a termite infestation in the home. The conflict was whether or not the seller had an affirmative duty to share that information with our client. While researching, I found a similar case where the plaintiff won and I proposed we use the common law system in our favor. My process was to create a report documenting a condensed case summary and relevant legal principles that can be used to our advantage."

13. Why are you the right person for this job?

Focus on what you can do for the organization - your legal knowledge, abilities, legal experience and skills.

14. Can you give me an example of a time recently when you had to organize and analyze a lot of data that had to be used within a tight deadline?

As a Paralegal there are times when research and analysis of data is required for written reports and summaries. Working under pressure is also necessary.

15. What areas of law are you most interested in?

My main interest lies in the forensic field however I am open to all fields

16. Why should we employ you for the job as Paralegal?

You should put focus on what you can bring to the organisation. Some qualities can include the following:

► Legal knowledge
► Abilities
► Legal experience and skills

Now you should bring specific attention to the qualities that you bring, by highlighting particular strengths such as

► Your analytical ability,
► Your specialist knowledge
► Your research skills
► Your e-discovery

All of this should be used to relate to the specific needs of the job in question. Examples of your past experience related to the job should also be used.

Why have you decide to become a Paralegal? And why have you chosen this particular area of law to work in?

When in your Paralegal interview you will need to be very convincing especially in regards to your passion in law.

A job as a Paralegal is the opportunity for you to give your imput in important legal processes. You are also given the chance to exercise your critical thinking, analytical and communication skills.

17. Education related Paralegal Interview Question:

► Tell me about your college experience.
► Why did you choose this major?
► What do you intend to do with your degree?
► Are you changing your original goals?
► What was your grade point average (GPA) in college? in paralegal school?
► Were you an honors student?
► What was your favorite subject?
► What was your least favorite subject? Why?
► Tell me the areas in which you excelled.
► Tell me your weakest subject areas.
► Were you employed while attending school?
► Are you planning to complete college/paralegal school?
► Why did it take so long to complete your degree?
► Why did you decide to become a paralegal?
► Why did you change careers?
► Why did you choose the ABC Paralegal School?
► How has your education prepared you for a paralegal job?
► What professional seminars have you attended in the past year?
► What are your future educational plans?
► Does your grade point average reflect your work ability?
► Name three subjects you learned that could be used in this position.
► Are you planning to attend law school or grad school?
► Tell me about your best/worst assignment.
► Did you participate in a paralegal internship program?
► What did you gain from the experience?
► Do you have a paralegal mentor/role model?
► Why did you choose this person?
► Are you a CLA (Certified Legal Assistant) or a PACE-registered paralegal (Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam), or have you applied to take either test?
► How has this certification or registration helped or hindered your job search?
► How do you react to on-the-job-training?
► Did you bring college/paralegal school transcripts with you? Can you provide them?

18. Computer Skills based Paralegal Interview Question:

► How would you rate your computer skills?
► What are your computer skills?
► Tell me the software in which you are proficient.
► Do you know how to use spreadsheets? Which ones?
► Can you use a MAC? a PC?
► What do you know about networks?
► How experienced are you on the Internet?
► What do you know about videotaped depositions?
► How extensive is your knowledge about imaging and scanning?
► Can you design databases?
► Have you ever coded documents?
► What legal forms software packages do you know?
► Do you know Windows 98? Windows 2000?
► Do you know Office 99? Office 2000?
► Are you familiar with SQL?
► Are you familiar with graphics packages?
► Tell me about your technology expertise.
► Tell me about your litigation support expertise.
► Are you a fast learner?
► How many year's experience with computers do you have?
► How did you use the computer on your last job?
► Do you have good data entry skills?
► Tell me about your legal research skills.
► Are you familiar with WordPerfect or Word?
► Do you have a computer at home? A modem? Fax? DSL?
► Do you own a laptop computer?
► Do you consider yourself computer literate?
► How up-to-date are your computer skills?
► How do you keep yourself informed about the latest technology changes?
► Are you familiar with EDGAR?
► What is HTML?
► Have you ever used Lotus Live Notes?
► What is Explorer?
► What do you know about Java?
► Yahoo is not a term used by cowboys. What would you say it is?
► How have you used these services?
► Are you comfortable asking for help when learning a new program? Or do you tend to "tough it out"?
► What experience do you have with E-mail?
► What is LAN/WAN?
► What is your opinion regarding copyright, privacy, and First Amendment rights concerning the Internet?
► Do you think the Internet is misused?
► Where do you think technology in the legal field is headed?
► What do you know about computers in the courtroom?
► How has technology impacted billable hours?
► What is a browser?
► What technology periodicals do you read?
► How did you first learn to use a computer?
► Can you use the redlining features?
► Do you know how to burn a CD?
► Did you take any computer science courses in paralegal school?
► Are you familiar with any of the latest litigation support software? Which ones?

19. Salary based Paralegal Interview Question:

► Is salary based on years of experience or performance levels?
► When would I receive a performance review?
► When would I receive a salary review?
► Does the firm offer a bonus? What are eligibility requirements for the bonus?
► Can you give me an approximate range of the bonus?
► Does the firm/corporation offer compensatory time off in lieu of overtime?
► Can you provide a salary range for this position?
► How does the firm recognize and reward performance?
► Does everyone in the firm/corporation receive salary reviews at the same time or on anniversary dates?
► Since I would not have been with the firm for an entire year when reviews are given, will I be eligible anyway?
► Since I would not have been with the firm for an entire year when bonuses are calculated, am I eligible for a bonus on a prorated basis?
► Is this position exempt (does not pay overtime) or nonexempt (does pay overtime)?
► About how much overtime can I expect?

20. Salary, Bonuses, Overtime, and Expectations based Paralegal Interview Question:

► What is your current salary?
► What is your base salary?
► Are you compensated for overtime? How much do you receive in overtime pay?
► Did you receive a bonus? If so, what was it based upon?
► Do you hold an exempt (not paid overtime) or nonexempt (overtime is paid) position?
► What salary are you seeking?
► Excuse me????
► Would you be interested in a temporary to permanent position? If so, what is the hourly rate you are seeking?
► What was your total compensation?
► We start all our entry-level paralegals at $ per year. (You are expected to respond.)
► Can you work overtime? (Requires a yes or no answer only.)
► We offer a bonus based on merit. (You may be expected to ask a few questions here.)
► Are you open for negotiation regarding your salary requirements?
► Can you work weekends?
► Are you available for the night shift?
► What would you like to be earning in 5 years?

21. Operational and Situational Paralegal Interview Questions:

► What interests you about being a paralegal?
► Why did you choose to specialize in this area of law?
► What education and training has prepared you for this role?
► How have you kept up with your continuing education requirements?
► What's your familiarity with paralegal software? Which ones have you used?
► What kinds of legal documents have you drafted?
► What problems or language would you look for in [standard legal document]?
► In as much detail as possible, describe a time you parsed large volumes of data to prepare a report in the face of tight deadlines.
► Recall a complex legal decision you had to make. Describe the process you used to make your decision.
► If you report to multiple attorneys, how do you decide which assignment to do first?
► How comfortable are you with handling confidential information?
► Some paralegal tasks are repetitive. How do you stay focused?
► Describe a time you worked with a difficult client. How did you handle it?
► Describe a time you turned a negative situation with a client into a positive one.

22. Career Objectives based Paralegal Interview Question:

► What position do you expect to hold in another 2/3/5 years?
► What are your plans to achieve that goal?
► What other positions within the firm are attractive to you?
► Are you planning to attend law school or grad school?
► What is your 5-year plan?
► What thought have you given to your professional future?
► Have you joined a paralegal association?
► Tell me about your dream job.

23. Characteristics and Traits related Paralegal Interview Question:

► Tell me about yourself.
► How well do you work under pressure? Please give me an example.
► What would you do if, during a peak work period, someone dropped a document on your desk and said, "please have this done in an hour?"
► Do you get bored doing routine and repetitious work?
► Tell me about your ability to pay attention to details. Please give me an example.
► What stresses you? What really stresses you on the job?
► Tell me how you cope with deadlines. Please give me an example.
► How would your past employers describe you?
► What are your greatest strengths?
► What are your weaknesses?
► How would your friends/former coworkers describe you?
► How do you cope with a changing work environment?
► Who are your role models?
► Describe a work situation where you were the "hero."
► Describe a situation you could have handled better.
► Describe a situation that demonstrates you are a "self-starter."
► What are your feelings about a dress code? Casual day?
► Why should we hire you?
► Our paralegals are expected to bill 1,600 hours per year. Can you do that?
► Describe how you would handle an irate client/attorney/ colleague/supervisor.
► Describe how you would handle an overworked, stressed-out, about-to-go-to-trial attorney/client/colleague.
► What is your greatest attribute?
► How do you get along with others?
► Are you better in a team environment or as an independent player?
► Are you a team leader? If so, please describe an instance that demonstrates your leadership.
► What would you do if you were faced with an unethical dilemma?

24. Skills based Paralegal Interview Question:

► Did you bring a sample of your work product?
► Can you provide a writing sample?
► Have you had a legal research assignment?
► Do you know how to use LEXIS-NEXIS or Westlaw?
► Are you familiar with federal and state laws?
► What specialty are you seeking?
► Do you speak any foreign languages?
► How would you rate your cite-checking abilities?
► Tell me about your computer skills.
► Tell me about your analytical skills. Please give an example.
► How extensive are your factual investigation skills?
► Have you ever interviewed a witness?
► Can you put together closing binders? Trial binders? Exhibits?
► Have you ever summarized a deposition?
► Have you ever drafted pleadings?
► Have you ever attended trial?
► What do you know about the SEC?
► How would you prepare for a real estate closing?
► Can you prepare subpoenas? Notices of depositions?
► Tell me about the judicial system.
► Have you ever coded documents?
► Tell me about your organizational skills.
► How much experience do you have interfacing with clients?
► What are your crisis-management skills? Please give me an example.
► Describe your worst assignment and how to prevent it, if you could, today.
► Describe an assignment where you were the hero.
► Do you know your way around the courthouse?
► What do you know about imaging and scanning?
► Have you ever formed a corporation?
► Do you have any experience working with government agencies?
► What do you know about CERCLA?
► Have you ever worked on the case/matter? (Checking for conflict of interest.)
► To what extent have you been exposed to mergers and acquisitions?
► Have you ever worked with Blue Sky laws?
► Have you ever Bates-stamped? No? Have we got a surprise for you.
► How are punitive damages awarded?
► How do you prepare jury instructions?
► Have you ever prepared a lease summary?
► Have you been to/studied Family Court?
► Are you familiar with products liability litigation?
► Describe how a trademark is registered.
► Describe the patent registration process.
► What is the procedure to file a copyright?
► Give me an example of your organizational abilities.
► Describe the differences between Chapters 7, 11, and 13.
► What skills do you possess to be a great paralegal?
► Why have you chosen corporate law over litigation?
► Why are you seeking a position with an in-house legal department?
► What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?
► What practice area most interests you and why?
► What are your strengths?
► What are your weaknesses?
► How do you handle last-minute projects?

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25. Benefits, Perks, Vacations, Time Off based Paralegal Interview Question:

► Can you describe the benefits package? (Includes vacation and parking.)
► Does the firm/corporation offer a 401(k) or other retirement packages?
► Does the firm/corporation reimburse or pay for continuing education?
► Does the paralegal in this position have an office or secretary?
► What is the vacation policy? How is it accrued?
► Does the firm/company endorse participation in paralegal associations?
► Does the firm/company pay for association dues?
► Are year-end or holiday bonuses offered?
► Does the firm pay for parking or offer a transportation allowance?
► Can you describe the health benefits?
► Does the firm/corporation offer dependent coverage?
► Do employees pay any part of the insurance premium?
► Does the firm offer long-term disability or life insurance?
► Does this corporation offer profit sharing?
► Will I be able to attend paralegal association seminars? Does the firm/corporation reimburse or pay for these seminars?