Recently LegalJob was asked the following question about law firm interviews.
Q: I am looking to knock my interview out of the park. Are there certain questions to ask that would WOW the interviewer and separate me from other candidates?
Answer: There is lots of information out there on good questions to ask. Some suggest asking questions about how cases are staffed, how the group is organized, how work is assigned, firm culture, hours and years to partnership track, etc.
These questions are not bad but they may not WOW the interviewer and they do not allow you to demonstrate how qualified you are for the position. Instead, you might consider asking what the law firm is looking for in terms of experience and qualifications and then you can close the deal by articulating how your abilities match the firm’s current hiring needs. Another question to ask is something specific about one of the firm’s clients (or even better, one of the firm’s clients that you know the interviewer works with). Perhaps you can ask about how a particular new law (like a certain section of Dodd-Frank; try to delve into the minutia and not be too general) affects the client or how the firm is advising the client given the new law. For example, “I understand you work with lots of hedge funds. I have been reading about the possible problems with the definition for “swap” in the statute and the related issue that the derivatives legislation seems to take effect without a working regulatory plan. How are you advising clients in light of this issue? My two cents is…” Your question (and your comment) accomplishes three important goals at the same time. It shows that you have been rigorous in your research of the firm and its clients, you are acutely aware of current events and potential impact on client businesses, and you are thoughtful (and capable) enough to get into the technical details of an important legal issue to firm clients. Now that is an associate LegalJob wants on its team!