Whether it is during a job interview or a conversation at a networking event, chances are that every law student and lawyer will be asked at least once (or 30 times) why they pursued a career in law. The question seems simple enough on its face—everyone has some reason for heading to law school (even if it is just that they weren’t sure what else to do after undergrad). The key is providing a memorable response that sets you apart from other applicants and connects you to the employer or new connection. In other words, avoid providing generic responses or droning on about your life’s history. Follow one of the below approaches to plan a detailed, yet brief, response ahead of time.
1. Make It Personal.
Your reasons for becoming a lawyer will seem genuine if you mention a specific moment in your life that influenced your decision. Consider discussing how you discovered your passion for the law, whether it was through a college professor who piqued your interest with an assignment or volunteer work that opened your eyes to a legal career path. If you use a concrete moment from your life, your answer will be unique to your own experience and most likely resonate with the listener. Don’t forget to include some specifics about why exactly this moment set you on your current path—and take the further step to describe how your experiences since have drawn you to this particular employer or a specific practice area.
2. Select a Practice.
Your answer does not have to be a profound “Aha!” moment. Perhaps you gravitated toward law due to your interest in a practice area. If so, describe why that practice area stood out to you and what experiences in your education or career have led you to this point. During job interviews, be sure to link your goals to the employer’s work in this area, including specific types of matters and tasks they handle.
3. Focus on Your Legal Career Goals.
Another angle is to discuss what you hope to achieve in your legal career and how these goals have put you on this career path. For example, are you focused on advocating for a specific group or spearheading policy change in a certain area? Sometimes the best answer is not something that has already happened, but rather one that you are determined to accomplish. This answer will convey to the listener that you are goal oriented and also will allow you to tie your future goals to the interviewer’s own work.
Your reasoning for pursuing a legal career says a lot about you to interviewers and new connections. Take time before your next interview or event to think about your reasons for entering the legal field. Prepare a response that genuinely conveys your motivations and goals with enough detail to make the response personal to you but not so much detail that you lose your audience. Then, practice answering the question out loud several times so you are comfortable responding at interview time.
A “day in the life” of a law firm summer associate looked a little different in 2020 because life was a little different in 2020.
Lawyers and law firms always need to be adept at adapting, whether to new regulations, surprising evidence, or evolving business trends, but the pandemic presented unique challenges.
If you have your sights set on starting your career in BigLaw, you likely have clear expectations for your summer associate experience. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced change, including to summer associate programs and their accompanying interview processes, and it might seem intimidating to ask about these changes while doing your pre-interview employer research.
Getting through law school takes extreme dedication, stamina, and pure grit—long days, late hours, grueling study sessions, and more. I bet there were times you wanted to give up, but it’s the “can’t stop, won’t stop” attitude that kept your fire burning.
As if being a law student or attorney isn't stressful enough, the global COVID-19 pandemic has ratcheted up anxieties (both large and small) ten-fold. We are all adjusting to new norms on a daily basis and, from double-layered masks to meditation, workout routines to television binging, we all have coping mechanisms that give us a sense of control.
We’ve reached that magical time of year—On-Campus Interviews, or “OCI,” when rising 2Ls across the country are trying on suits, buying portfolios, rehearsing answers to common interview questions, and pouring over the websites for the firms on their schedules in a frantic attempt to tell them apart. Some law students may be eagerly looking forward to OCI, but many approach OCI with some combination of anxiety, exhaustion, and possibly even dread.
Whether you’re a student or a young professional starting out in your new career, you’ve no doubt experienced some of the ups and downs that are often associated with reaching your goals. Hitting a low point can cause even the best of us to lose our motivation, or worse yet, throw in the towel all together.
The cost of attending three years of law school can be a significant financial commitment, and crushing student loan debt is often an unfortunate byproduct. From 1985 to 2019—after adjusting for inflation—the cost of attending a private law school increased 276%, and the cost of going to a public school was 592% higher.