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Questions to Ask During Interviews

Sample Questions

You should prepare your questions in advance, based on thorough research. If research fails you, however, if you are pressed for time, or if your interviewer's name changes unexpectedly, here are some good questions you can ask during firm interviews:

  • • How did you grow into this practice area? (For senior associates and partners.)
  • • How did you develop your expertise? (For partners.)
  • • What has your experience been as a junior lawyer at X department?
  • • How is your relationship with your colleagues?
  • • What were the most important things you learned in the first few years of practice?
  • • What would your advice be to someone going into your practice area? (For senior associates and partners.)
  • • Do you encourage junior associates to contribute to firm's growth, marketing, and client development? (For small firms.)
  • • Do you give junior lawyers a great deal of responsibility early on? (For small firms.)
  • • Can you tell me more about your practice area and the type of clients you serve? (For partners.)
  • • What types of cases and assignments do you get to work on? (For associates.)
  • • If you like a particular type of work, are you able to work on those matters by politely asking? (For junior associates.)
  • • What classes should I take to be more prepared for work at an X department? (If you are a law student.)
  • • Your firm is known for a personal atmosphere in the office and a high level of responsibility for junior associates—can you tell me more about that?
  • • Can you describe the work environment (that is, is it competitive or collegial)?
  • • What are you looking for in a candidate? (For senior associates and partners.)
  • • What has been your experience in terms of interaction with other offices? (For larger firms.)
  • • Do you think I can use [a particular skill] when working in X department? (Yes, this is a shameless plug incorporated into a question, but it works! Just make sure you ask about a relevant skill.)
  • • Can you tell me more about the training opportunities at your firm? (For larger firms.)
  • • Does the firm have a mentoring program?

This may seem obvious to state, but after you ask a question, actually listen to the answer. You would be surprised how many times interviewees ask a question only to look away or seem uninterested in the response. If you do this, this is a clear indicator that you could not come up with a genuine question, and that you are wasting the interviewer's time. Asking smart follow-up questions reveals that you can listen well and know how to gracefully carry on a conversation.

Finally, if you feel the urge to comment on or compliment the interviewer on his or her answer, do so carefully. For example, you can say, “Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. Your answer helped me decide this is the place where I want to work,” or “Your answer helped me figure out this difficult issue.” Just do not do what one interviewee did. Upon receiving an answer to a difficult question, she commented, “Good answer.” The interviewer was flabbergasted by this familiarity. The interviewer could not help but wonder if the candidate realized that she was the one being interviewed.

In addition to information they glean, the questions you ask also tell the interviewer something about you. Have you done your homework? Do you have realistic expectations about this job? Were you paying attention to what your interviewer was saying? In many ways, your questions reflect on and help to summarize your interview. Think of them as a logical conclusion to your interaction with the interviewer. If you received plenty of information, just say so. If you have a legitimate question or two, ask them, time permitting. If you feel that you need to ask a question or two just to be polite, perhaps you can follow up on something the interviewer mentioned previously. Ultimately, your questions should show your interest in the firm and your ability to pay attention. If you can do that, an offer may be just a phone call away.


  • • Do your homework and be prepared to ask a few questions going into your interview.
  • • Ask questions that demonstrate your preparation and research; do not ask obvious questions or solicit information you should already know.
  • • Make sure that the interviewer is in a position to answer your questions.
  • • Ask questions that have a predictably positive and flattering answer.
  • • Ask the interviewer questions that will allow him or her to discuss personal milestones, achievements, and successes.
  • • Try to connect with your interviewer on a human level and find common ground between you.

Nail Your Law Job Interview © 2009 , Career Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsQuestions to Ask During Interviews - Correct Answer #1: “i Have Several Questions”, Correct Answer #2: “no, Because I Did My Homework”