More from LegalJob’s guest blogger Katie White who polled several hiring partners and recruiting professionals about law student hiring in the Washington, DC market.  Katie is a career consultant and networking coach at The George Washington University Law School.         

What ideas can you share to help law students prepare to interview at big law firms this coming recruiting season? 

    More than one source noted it is astonishing how many students who interview with their firm don’t know anything about the firm.  They get their information from Vault, and that is it.  There are so many other resources available that can be tapped, and it is really important to do so.  Do your research – know something about the firm you are interviewing with, and be able to explain why you are interested in this particular firm.  Talk about recent cases the firm has handled.  Call or email attorneys who work at the firm to learn about the firm’s culture, specific practice information and ideas for what to discuss in an interview.

    Students should think hard about what they really want to do in their law careers, and try to focus on areas of practice they think will be interesting to them.  While firms cannot always accommodate a specific practice interest, students who have a focus and are able to articulate why they are interested in an area will have an advantage.  At most law firms the idea of experiencing a wide variety of practices over the summer and then choosing what you want to do is a thing of the past.  Law firms often still offer practice area rotation, but most require a decision about practice interest at the beginning or for sure by the end of the summer.

    Know your skills.
    Be able to articulate how your skills will benefit the firm – what about your background and experience will make you a good fit with the firm’s culture and legal work?

    Understand the market.
    Law firms are interviewing many qualified candidates, so you need to be able to stand out.  And the best way to stand out is to be prepared for the interviews.