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The Interviewing Process: A Survival Guide for Recent Law School Graduates


By Scott Silverstein

Graduating from law school is certainly a job in itself. Now it's time to take the next step: landing that dream position! The interviewing process can be an extremely daunting task; while being able to sell yourself to a particular firm is, of course, the primary goal, there is a plethora of guidelines every recent law school graduate should follow.

Your resume and cover letter will be the first impression a hiring authority will have of you. In order to obtain that first interview, these documents need to be flawless, as there is no room for error. Once the interview date has been set, intense preparation should follow. This includes researching the firm’s area of expertise and its well-established track record and gathering as much information as possible about the person you will be interviewing with.

Being prepared with detailed questions to ask the hiring authority is vital to a successful interview. The specificity and detail of these questions should be given a great amount of thought and, in turn, will demonstrate to the firm that you have done your homework.

The day has finally arrived. The interview is only a few hours away. You have completed the needed preparation and are beaming with confidence. Now what?

Dress for success — this cannot be emphasized enough. This will be the first time you will be meeting your potential employer, and you want to make a lasting impression. Everything from your enthusiasm about the opportunity to what you wear on the interview is taken into account and analyzed by the interviewer. Making sure your suit is neatly pressed and your tie is stain-free is just as important as what you say during this time. Other nonverbal communication factors, such as your posture, handshake, and eye contact, are crucial as well. Nervous gestures, although understandable given the situation, need to be curtailed too.

Once the series of questions has begun, your answers need to be well defined and thorough in order to demonstrate how you will be an asset to the firm. Although saying you pay close attention to detail and have a strong work ethic is important, it is recommended that you apply these qualities to experiences you’ve had in the past (e.g., summer internships, clerkships, etc.). This will allow the firm to see how you handle different situations and obstacles when they do arise, which will provide the firm more insight regarding your character and ability to successfully get the job done.

The interview is coming to an end, and you have eloquently articulated why you deserve the position. Although many law firms require multiple interviews before an offer is made, you should always close the interview by asking for the job. This simply reiterates your strong desire to work for the firm while demonstrating a certain level of confidence on your part.

The last step, and one that is commonly overlooked, is sending a thank-you note to the firm for their time and consideration. This simple gesture adds a personal touch and distinguishes you from the other job candidates.

If you follow these guidelines, you will have a good chance of accomplishing a successful interviewing campaign.

Best of luck!




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