Monday Practice Tips for Young Lawyers- Interviewing Tips

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  It’s great to be back for today’s relaunch of the daily blog!  We’re still learning how to keep the blog moving amidst busier times so thanks for bearing with us. 

Today I want to speak a little bit about a situation nearly all of us face before the beginning of our first job and, unfortunately, many of us face again within the first few years after we start the practice of law — interviewing.  Our firm just added an outstanding new attorney, so the process of interviewing candidates is pretty fresh in my mind.  During the process, a few positives and negatives stood out for me in listening to responses from some excellent prospects.

First, the easy stuff.  Let’s call them the Fast Five:

1)  Be on time!

2)  Dress in business attire (even if you know the employer is business-casual!)

3)  Research the firm in advance and be aware of what type of work they do.

4) Go with the flow at your interview.  If they want you to meet 20 people, so be it.  If one person interviews you for 90 minutes, no problem.

5) If you go out for lunch, no sloppy joes or baby back ribs! 

These are pretty basic and self-explanatory.  Here are a few more subtle tips.  Remember, these are for more inexperienced attorneys!

1)  Have a Team-Oriented Mindset.  Some will disagree, but I am not a fan when green attorneys come into an interview and say that they want to work in a single area of the law.  Of course, if you are interviewing at a practice that works in that one area, that’s great.  If you are coming to a diversified practice, it is OK to mention that you enjoy certain areas, but generally you want to go in with the mindset that you want to come in and help the team in any way possible.  When you start bringing in business, that is when you can declare the practice area you want to focus on. 

2)   Never Disparage Your Former Employer.   Most young attorneys transition from one job to another because they are dissatisfied.  Dissatisfied with money, the type of work, amount of work, personalities, or a combination of these.  Your prospective employer knows this, so there is no need for any disparaging remarks.  First, the legal community is remarkably small, and word tends to spread around fast.  Second, someone at your prospective employer may know the person or persons you do not care for,  so you may find yourself putting a your foot in your mouth quickly.  Finally, attorneys revere the collegiality of the profession.  We generally know who most of the few bad apples are, no need to highlight it for us!

3)  Follow up.  Within a few days of your interview, send follow-up e-mails to the individuals you spoke with.  Include some sort of personal touch indicating that you were paying attention to what the interviewer was talking about.  (i.e., “I saw Auburn won last weekend, you must have enjoyed that!”).  In an atmosphere where many of the discussions must sound the same after a few interviews, it is impressive to see when candidates are actually focused on the individual connections they make over the course of a 15-30 minute discussion.

I hope these help!!!

Explore posts in the same categories: Practice Tips for Young Attorneys

One Comment on “Monday Practice Tips for Young Lawyers- Interviewing Tips”

  1. Ryan Says:

    As a Legal Recruiter, I can verify that these are great tips for anyone interviewing at a firm.

    The only addition I’d make is to Subtle Tip #2. There is a way to address “problems” at your current or past firm without bashing them.

    Just make sure to turn ALL negatives into positives. This comes in real handy in describing why you want to join the firm; its never about why your current firm is horrible, but ALWAYS about what would make your next position great. It’s never about why your previous boss was the worst, but rather about the positives you’re looking for in your new boss. Its never about the shortcomings of your current practice group, but rather how the positives of your next group will bring you success.

    The future’s so bright…..

    Keep up the good work Craig.

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