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Questions To Ask An Attorney During An Interview

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Have You Ever Worked On A Case That Was Hard Not To Take Home With You How Did You Handle The Situation

Top 10 Questions YOU Want To Ask In a Job Interview | Indeed Career Tips

Depending on the type of law they practice, lawyers may have to work on cases that evoke emotions like those in family cases or criminal trials. This question allows an interviewer to gauge a candidate’s ability to maintain their mental health when working on particularly difficult cases.

A candidate’s answer should emphasize:

  • Ability to separate work from personal time
  • Previous case experience

Here is an example of a quality candidate answer:


“Yes, there was one case I worked on where I ended up representing a mother trying to gain back custody of her children after they’d entered the foster care system. We ended up losing the case and it was hard not to think about her and her children. I’ve found it most helpful to compartmentalize my professional life from my personal life. This means that each time I start thinking about a case while off work, I call a friend, work on my hobbies or exercise. These activities help me stay positive and allow me to focus better on future cases.”

How Would You Make Yourself Stand Out As A Trainee

Where training contracts are concerned there are far more applicants than places, so this is your opportunity to highlight your unique selling points and make clear what you could bring to the firm.

Identify key strengths and experiences using real, relevant examples. Don’t just say that you’re a great problem solver instead tell the interviewer how you demonstrated this skill in a student mooting competition.

This is also a good time to demonstrate how the culture and values of the firm fit with your own. Are there any social or charity events that you’d be keen to get involved in? Are there any organisational sports teams you’d like to join? Would you like to play a role and make your mark on employee networks such as LGBTQ+, womens or ethnicity groups? Are there any gaps in the firm’s social offering that you could fill?

Can You Talk Us Through A Current Issue Affecting Law Firms

When asked, legal recruiters say that commercial awareness is one of the most important skills that a candidate can possess.

Your response needs to prove that you have an understanding of industry, regulatory, economic, cultural and social issues, as well as company identity and structure.

To tackle questions surrounding commercial awareness watch the news and read newspapers daily. Sign up to legal newsletters and set up notification alerts on you phone to receive the latest business news. Check firm websites and follow their social media accounts.

Alternatively, you may be asked:

  • What are the main challenges facing city law firms today?
  • What recent legal stories have caught your eye and how are they progressing?

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Ten Questions To Ask Your Potential Lawyer

Created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors| Last updated April 13, 2018

Lawyers will often provide a free or very low-cost consultation to discuss the details of your situation and give you an opportunity to ask some basic questions about the attorney. This meeting should not only help you decide whether to go forward with a lawyer in general, but also whether you should proceed with this lawyer. If you later decide to hire the lawyer, you will go into a more detailed discussion of your case and ask more specific questions along the way.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to have a list of questions in mind to ask during the meeting. Also, you should feel comfortable enough asking questions that relate to the lawyer’s expertise, experience, fees, special knowledge, and management of the case.

Below are ten questions to ask your potential lawyer.

What Are The Prospects For Growth And Advancement

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This question shows that you’re ambitious and have an eye toward the future, that you consider the position as more of a career opportunity rather than just a job. The answer may indicate what things you can do to be proactive in moving forward in your career path. Perhaps there are additional classes you can take or certification you can acquire. You can also ask if promotions have been made from within in the past, and if so, what did the people in those positions do to be considered? What was the time frame?

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Attorney Interview Questions To Ask

Interviewing. Many candidates are initially so excited to explore the job market but start to get cold feet at the mention of interviewing. What if I dont know how to answer their question? What if I say something silly? Look at interviewing as an opportunity to learn more about whether an organization is a good fit for you. Here are a few suggestions to ace your next interview.

What Are My Possible Outcomes

Some lawyers may only tell you what you want to hear. The right lawyer, however, will give you an honest look at how your case may conclude. No lawyer can give you an exact value of your case or promise that you will reach an out-of-court settlement, but s/he can offer possibilities based on his/her experience.

Related questions may include:

  • Do see us running into any major issues?
  • What are our chances of avoiding a lawsuit?

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Why Is It Important To Work With A Lawyer With A Diverse Background

Being able to work with someone who has a diverse professional background can increase your chances of winning a case. Special cases such as DWI or immigration law require extra training and may have valuable certifications. If these cases are specific to you, it would be helpful to have an attorney with this expertise on your side.

Tell Me About Yourself

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Discuss your current practice, clients/client contact, industries, level of responsibilities, etc. Make sure to sell yourself, the work youve done and how you can add value to their team.

To that point, know your resume. Be clear about the type of work youve done in the past and how you think that work will translate into helping them right away. Be prepared with specific examples and keywords, numbers and number ranges, deal values youve worked on, etc.

Sell yourself: Point out how you can add value to the team immediately. The best tactic is to ask questions about the work/practice, listen to their answer, and respond with how YOUR background or experience will be helpful with that type of work. Examples are great!

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Can You Elaborate On A Situation Where You Were Unsuccessful And How You Handled It

You should get a sense of how the lawyer handles adversity because there is quite a bit of it in the legal profession. A good lawyer will learn from failure and make the necessary adjustments so it does not happen again in the future. Every lawyer will experience failure at some point. The key question is whether the lawyer can deal with it and bounce back in the future. What to look for in an answer:

  • Resilience to deal with failure
  • A commitment to improving abilities
  • Self-confidence to know that a mistake is not defining


I lost a key case last year. I went back and reviewed my notes and every decision I made. I pinpointed factors that indicated where I went wrong and adjusted my next case accordingly.

What Are Two Questions One Should Ask Of Their Attorney

Ask the attorney what experience they have had in similar matters….You should be aware of what will be involved going into the representation.What Communication Will You Have With Me? … What Will I Be Required To Do? … What Is This Going To Cost Me? … How Long Will It Take To Resolve The Matter?

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Make The Client Feel Comfortable

You may deal with the law every day, but pursuing a legal issue can be stressful, draining, and even scary for potential clients. With this in mind, do your best to be emotionally sensitive and make them feel as at ease as possible. Whether youre meeting in person or virtually over video conference, make sure the setting is clean and comfortable.

Also, the lawyer-client interview is not the time to try to impress the client with your fanciest lawyer-speak. Avoid using legal jargon and overly technical language. Unnecessary jargon can alienate the client and make them feel overwhelmed and even talked down to. This is the opposite of the positive client-centered experience youre aiming for.

What Does A Candidate’s Answer Tell You

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Whether the candidate mentions a past manager, historical figure, or Fortune 500 CEO, their answer can tell you a lot about their work values, personality traits, goals, and more. There are no right or wrong answers, but notice candidates who respond thoughtfully, giving more weight to their reasoning than the answer itself.

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How Often Do You Get The Opportunity To Interact Directly With A Client

Your interviewers response here should give you a good idea of how hierarchical your firm is. I believe having the opportunity to interact directly with clients is valuable earlier on, after proper training and experience, in a junior associates career because client care is a distinct and crucial set of skills you must develop to be successful in the legal industry.

Thus, law schools even set up clinics where their students can take the lead on pro bono matters with real clients so they can develop these skills early.

Understand The Attorneys Approach

Some attorneys excel at the settlement negotiation table while others look for victory in the courtroom. Every case has two potential values: the settlement value and the trial value. In any case, its in both the plaintiffs and the defendants best interests to settle the matter quickly, and many personal injury claims end at the negotiating table. Attorneys from both sides will attempt to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the plaintiffs complaint, and the case will end there if they succeed.

Settlement is not possible in some cases, such as when the defendant refuses to accept liability for the plaintiffs claimed damages. These cases will proceed to trial, where the stakes are much higher. The settlement value of a case is typically lower than the potential trial value, because both parties will want to settle the matter quickly, and this may make it difficult to determine the full extent of the plaintiffs damages. For example, a plaintiff who suffered a back injury in a car accident may settle for the cost of immediate medical treatment and vehicle repairs only to discover an internal injury or physical disability that manifests symptoms a year later. Since most settlements are contingent upon the plaintiff agreeing not to pursue further legal action upon accepting a settlement, the plaintiff in this situation would not have the option of suing the same defendant again.

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Prepare Prepare Prepare: Your Questions And Answers

Once youve reviewed the clients file, prepare your questions for the client, and take some time to anticipate questions that the client may have for you. Well discuss more on what answers lawyers should prep for before the interview below.

Remember: Your goal is to have the client fill in blanks, reveal their goals and expectations, and tell you about the case. Because of this, you should ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share more details.

What Is My Role In My Case

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Attorneys desire different levels of participation from their clients. Your attorney probably will not want you to talk to witnesses or the insurance company without prior approval, but s/he may need you to compile documentation of your injuries and other similar tasks.

Related questions may include:

  • What do you need from me to build the strongest possible case?
  • What should I avoid in order to win my claim?

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I See Youre Having An Issue With X Can You Tell Me More About That

Its important to establish that youve done your research and have an understanding of what the issue is. But its also essential to also allow the client to tell you what the problem is. Dont make assumptions and listen to what they say. If they are vague or unclear about certain things, you can always follow up for more details.

Bring Examples Of Papers You’ve Written

A large component of working at a law firm is being able to articulate your case in a clear, concise and professional way. Hiring partners may want to see evidence of your writing, so bring some examples. This could include court documents you have prepared, an extensive legal research paper you wrote in school or a legal memo.

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Jenn, a career coach, provides a look at the interviewing process and shares tips on how to position yourself for success at the end of the interview.

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How To Conduct A Conflict Check

Conduct a thoughtful pre-screen and conflict check 1 Pre-screen: Before you book the interview, have a set pre-screening process. Ask for basic information to help you decide if the client may be a fit for your firm. You can make this process simpler for the client by using an online intake forms tool, like Clio Grow. 2 Conflict check: Youll also want to do a conflict check before proceeding to ensure there are no conflicts of interest or other reasons that will prevent you from working with someone. Here again, an online intake tool can make this easier for you and the client. Clio Grow, for example, can be part of a robust conflict check process.

Whats One Thing You Wish You Knew Before Starting Here

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This open-ended question requires a reflection and humanizes the interview experience by putting the interviewer in a position to share a personal experience. Ask clarifying questions afterward to showcase your communication and listening skills. The interviewer might have sound advice about potential situations you might encounter. Asking for personal experience expresses an interest in a potential co-worker. Building relationships is an important skill that shows you value the opinions of others.

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What Are Some Good Questions To Ask An Interviwer

QuestionsTo Ask During An Informational Interview. Select questions that are appropriate for your target career field and stage of decision-making. You can ask about such topics as the nature of a persons work, how to get started in the field, or effective approaches for the job search. Use some of the following questions or make up your own.

Conduct A Thoughtful Pre

As our guide to client intake for law firms explains, an important part of an effective client intake process is to take steps to ensure that a potential client is a good fit before moving forward. Not every legal issue will be a good fit for you, your practice area, workload, and firm size. But thats normal.

  • Pre-screen: Before you book the interview, have a set pre-screening process. Ask for basic information to help you decide if the client may be a fit for your firm. You can make this process simpler for the client by using an online intake forms tool, like Clio Grow.
  • Conflict check: Youll also want to do a conflict check before proceeding to ensure there are no conflicts of interest or other reasons that will prevent you from working with someone. Here again, an online intake tool can make this easier for you and the client. Clio Grow, for example, can be part of a robust conflict check process.

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Have You Worked With A Lawyer Before Have You Worked With Another Lawyer On This Specific Matter Already

If the client has worked with another lawyer , the way that they answer this question can give you insights into their expectations of a lawyer. This way, you can gauge if youll be able to meet them. This can also help you know how familiar the client is with the legal system and its processes. Additionally, if they have worked with another lawyer on this matter, youll want to know why theyre coming to you now.

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The interview will answer some of your prepared questions with organic conversation, making it important to have several selections to increase your chance to learn about the firm and role. Here are some example questions to choose from or to inspire others, which you can edit to suit a specific firm:

  • What is this firms greatest strength, and why?
  • How does the organization handle failure?
  • Can you describe any team-building opportunities the firm hosts or supports?
  • Can you detail for me the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
  • How much contact would I have with individual clients?
  • What are the qualities of the ideal candidate for this position?
  • How is workload distribution determined and what types of assignments would I receive?
  • Does the firm have a mentor program?
  • What differentiates this firm from others?
  • What are the key qualities needed to succeed in this role?
  • What is the greatest challenge the firm currently faces?
  • How and how often is performance evaluated?
  • What responsibilities do new associates typically have?
  • Where do you see the firm in the next five years? Ten years?
  • Can you explain the level of commitment the firm has to pro bono work?
  • What steps does the firm take to promote diversity?
  • What was the greatest obstacle the previous person who filled this role had? And what steps did they take to overcome it?
  • Can you describe the typical client the firm represents?
  • What does the firm do to attract new clients, and how are new associates involved?
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