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legal careers guide

8. Preparing for legal job interviews

This Step looks at how you can prepare for law job interviews to maximise your chances of success.

Updated Resource Book coming soon

Before your interview

  1. Check the invitation – is there a requirement to do preparatory work?
  2. Research - the recruiter, competitors, the market, legal news and current affairs.
  3. Re-read your CV or application form - are there any gaps that the interviewer is likely to ask about? Think about what you have to offer the recruiter and what your main strengths are.
  4. Look at the professional codes of conduct if you are applying for trainee or pupillage positions.
  5. Plan what to wear - keep it formal.
  6. Book a mock interview with one of our career advisers - check whether the employability service has any further information on the firm or chambers.

General tips for a legal job interview success

  • Speak clearly and slowly (if you are nervous, you are likely to speed up).
  • Provide a logical structure to your answers. For example: “I think there are three main issues... Firstly…Secondly… and finally…”
  • Think before you speak - it is perfectly acceptable to pause before answering in order to collect your thoughts.
  • Although you need to prepare for questions, remember that you are likely to need to think on your feet and it is good to show that you are not over-rehearsed.
  • Be interested and engaged - show you are listening by referring back to something an interviewer has said.

What should you prepare for a legal job interview?

Interview Checklist

Central to your interview preparation is knowing about the recruiting organisation. Download our checklists below to help you identify key information for each recruiter.

Interview checklist for barristers

Interview checklist for solicitors

Frequently Asked Questions

Congratulations - now is the time to invest in formal clothing if you have not already. Even if your interviewers have a relaxed dress code, the law is a conservative profession so it’s wise to be cautious with your outfit choice for your interview.

For women, it’s best to opt for a plain, dark suit, low heels, tidy hair, and nothing too excessive by way of makeup, nail varnish and jewellery. For men, much the same: conservative suit, shirt and simple tie with smart polished shoes.

It is difficult to ensure that you’re well prepared for an interview without coming across as over rehearsed. The law firm will want to make a judgement on the ‘real you’ and this can be difficult if your answers seem scripted.

Don’t stop preparing yourself for legal job interviews, but use these tips on the day:

  • try to relax
  • listen to the questions you’re being asked and tailor your answers to those questions
  • show that you are listening and thinking on your feet by occasionally repeating back part of the question to the interviewer in your answer
  • when asked if you have any questions of your own, try and relate your questions to something the interviewer previously said. For example: “I was very interested when you mentioned… how do you see that developing in the future?”

If you’re studying with us, you can book a mock interview session with a member of our careers team. Remember that you’re doing something right to be getting asked to interviews and the practice you’ve had so far is invaluable for improving your technique each time.

Ring the recruiter - either the graduate recruitment department, if there is one, or the person who interviewed you. Apologise for bothering them and ask for an update on the situation.

Next step: 9

Go to step 9 in the Student Employability Programme.

Next step

Employability

Find out how to make the best start to your career through our Employability and Careers Service.

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