COVID-19 has altered the typical way that we perform many aspects of our jobs, as well as typical practices in the legal industry like OCI, summer associate programming, and more. As we continue to operate within a global pandemic, it is crucial to explore how potential employers have responded and how they plan to adjust in the future. While you don’t want your entire interview to focus on how the firm has handled the virus, it is still an important topic to cover so you can understand how the firm responds to crises and supports its lawyers and staff. That said, it’s also useful to think long term and ask questions that will help you determine whether the firm is the best fit for your goals. Below are some questions to consider for your next legal job interview.
Interview Questions Related to COVID-19
Tip: Take time to think about how you hope your future employer would respond to a crisis situation, and draft some questions to probe this employer’s response to the pandemic. Make sure your questions are not critical or accusatory, but rather are inquisitive. Also, don’t focus your entire interview on this topic; while COVID-19 is a major part of our life today, you should also think about your broader career in times outside of crisis mode.
General Interview Questions to Prepare
Tip: Determine your career goals, whether that means tackling certain types of assignments, hopping on a certain career path, gaining broad exposure to practices, working in a diverse atmosphere, having support to do pro bono work, or something else. Create a list of questions that will help you uncover whether this firm will meet your goals.
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).
An ever-increasing number of firms are utilizing behavioral interview assessments to identify the best candidates, while simultaneously reducing implicit bias, during on-campus and callback interviews. At its core, behavioral interviewing is a technique in which interviewers ask candidates to give specific examples of past behaviors that they believe are predictive of certain job-relevant skills and competencies.
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.
For many of today’s law students, firm culture, location, and practice area remain the most important factors in deciding where to apply. Recently, students have discovered that evaluating these factors — and making the right choice for their legal career — is easier when opting to apply directly to firms for summer positions.