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What to Bring to the Interview


Having a list of references becomes less important the more senior you become in your legal career. It is most important, however, for first-year law students, government attorney candidates, and clerkship applicants. Most of the time, these particular candidates have little or no relevant experience, and potential employers tend to rely on references to assess their abilities.

Lateral candidates are often asked to submit a list of references once they have received and accepted an offer. If you are interviewing as a lateral, you can ask the firms to treat your application as confidential and not contact your references without your prior permission. This is necessary because most firms require references from your current employer, which may be in the dark about you interviewing. The firm where you are interviewing will usually honor your request and refrain from contacting your references until you actually accept their offer of employment.

In general, it is a good idea to have a list of references in your packet. Although very few employers will actually bother to call all the people on your list, many will be delighted to see that you have a list prepared at the interview stage. You should list the names of three people, as well as their e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and job titles. If you are still in law school or if you graduated recently, you can list your law professors who know you well. Of course, you should not list family members or friends as your references. If you can obtain letters of recommendation, consider doing it instead of or in addition to) listing references.

Most importantly, make sure you ask your references whether you can share their contact information. The last thing you want is for a potential employer to call someone on your list of references, only to find out that the person does not remember you or does not have anything meaningful to say about you.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsWhat to Bring to the Interview - The Packet, Resume, Writing Samples, Transcripts, References, What Not To Bring