“Do you have any questions for me?”
This question is the single most important one to prepare for as you gear up for a legal job interview. And it is pretty much a guarantee that this question will be asked during every interview. Coming armed with thoughtful, intelligent questions can set you apart from other candidates who fall back on more generic inquiries or ones that can be easily answered through a quick perusal of the firm's or organization's website. Be sure to craft questions that are specific to the employer and your own practice interests—show the interviewer that you have a sincere interest in working there and have put careful thought into your future with the firm/organization. Also, make sure that you pay attention to the interviewer’s responses so you can jump in with appropriate follow-up questions.
Below are 20 questions to use as a starting point as you prepare your list of questions for interview day.
1. Why did you choose this firm/organization as a summer associate, new hire, or lateral, and have your expectations been met now that you are practicing at the firm/organization?
2. How did you ultimately select your practice area?
3. What has been the most surprising aspect of practice for you?
4. If you could transport back to your law school days, what advice would you give to yourself about preparing for practice?
5. What kinds of tasks do summer associates/interns and junior-level attorneys do in your practice area? How does this change for mid-levels and senior-level lawyers?
6. What is the assigning process like for summer associates/interns, and does it differ at all for junior associates? (This question is ideal for those seeking summer positions with a firm or organization.)
7. Can you explain how training and mentoring work at the firm?
8. How does the evaluation and review process work for junior associates/mid-level associates/senior associates? (Tailor this question according to your level.)
9. What advice do you have for developing informal mentoring relationships at the firm?
10. Does the firm provide support for associates in terms of business development skills? What kinds of resources are offered for lawyers who are striving to make partner?
11. What is the best way to gain substantive experience as a junior associate at the firm?
12. What is your experience with the firm’s commitment to diversity?
13. What is the process for taking on pro bono assignments, and how much support do you feel there is for pro bono work within the firm?
14. What are the three most important strengths a candidate should have to succeed at your firm/organization?
15. Can you share an example where you faced adversity while practicing and how you overcame it?
16. Can you share your proudest achievement thus far while working at the firm/organization?
17. How often do you interact with attorneys in other locations?
18. What do you think sets your firm/organization apart from peer firms?
19. How would you describe transparency between management and the associates, especially with regard to promotion, compensation, and firm financials?
20. If you could only use three words to describe your firm/organization, what would they be?
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