It is essential to prepare for a law school interview, especially if you're hoping to get into one of the best law schools in Canada, the US, or any other country. Interviews are as crucial as your law school resume, personal statement, and other application components because they provide the admissions committee with a lot of information about who you are and what you can contribute to their law school community. In this blog, we'll tell you why interviews are so important, we'll talk about the types of questions that you should expect, and we'll give you tips and strategies to help you ace your law school interview.
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How important are law school interviews?
The law school admissions process involves several components that are supposed to tell the admissions committee about your personal, academic, and professional background and why you've chosen to pursue law. Your law school personal statement, resume, academic transcripts, are standardized test scores are all designed to do that. Therefore, many law school applicants assume that law school interviews are just a formality, but that is not the case. Interviews are all about showing the admissions committee who the person behind the application is. It's their chance to see if you are the person, you said you are in your statement and figure out if you are a good fit for their program.
The other thing that applicants often don't realize is that interviews are also a chance for them to ask questions about the program and get a better idea of what to expect from the institution they've applied to. They can be especially helpful when conducted by senior year students or alumni of the program because they've been through this process before.
Additionally, if you look at law school acceptance rates, you will notice that these programs are getting more and more competitive, which means that you need to ace every step of the admissions process if you want to secure admission, including the law school interview.
Still working on your application and interested in some law school personal statement writing tips? Check out this video:
What can you expect from law school interviews?
The interview format depends on the school you've applied to and your location. Some schools prefer to have an informal face-to-face chat with an alumnus, others may set up a formal interview with a panel, but more often than not, it is a meeting between an admissions officer and the applicant. You may be asked to meet the admissions officer face-to-face, but recently, video interviews have become more prevalent, so you should prepare yourself for both scenarios.
Whether you are meeting in person or having a conversation on Zoom, we recommend opting for business casual attire that is clean and non-distracting. If you've been invited for a video interview, it's good to check your equipment and prepare your background beforehand. Make sure that you have a clean space with no background noise ready to use on the day of the interview. You don't want to be running around looking for a quiet place five minutes before the interview because it will just make you more nervous.
Topics of discussion
You should expect to talk about many different things during your law school interview. Admissions officers want to get to know you better, but they also want to find out what your personality is, what your interests are, and how you communicate. For this reason, you should expect questions about the following topics:
This list is not exhaustive, and not everything that we've mentioned will come up in your interview, but these are the common topics that tend to come up in various law school interviews.
The interview will often start with one or more personal questions to help break the ice. The most common one is "tell me about yourself", but you may also be asked questions like what is your greatest weakness or limitation. You can also expect quirky questions like “if you could be X, what would you be?” or “If you could have dinner with any three people dead or alive, who would it be?” Essentially, these are basic questions that are supposed to break the ice and tell the interviewer about you. You most likely already had to think about the answers to some of these questions while writing your personal statement, so keep the notes you used close by and use them to guide your response.
You may also get a few brainteasers and scenario questions. Examples include "Tell me about a recent supreme court case that you disagreed with and why " and " Share an experience in which you dealt with a difficult co-worker or teammate and how you handled it." Whenever you have a question whose response is rooted in an opinion, it's important to remember that you're not being judged for your opinion but rather for your critical thinking and communication skills. The interviewer is more interested in how you reached your conclusion and how you chose present the information.
Interested in a quick summary of the points covered in the next section? This infographic is for you:
How does one prepare for law school interviews?
Research the law school
At the end of your interview, you want the admissions officer to be convinced that you are a perfect fit for their law school program. In order to do that, you need to know about their law school program. You should, therefore, take the time to research the law school that you've applied to thoroughly. Find out what their mission’s statement is, what they look for in candidates, and what qualities they value. You can find a lot of valuable information on the school’s website, social media accounts and promotional materials. You will most likely be asked why you want to attend this school, so use your research to think of a thoughtful answer. Furthermore, your research will not only help you figure out if a law school is a good place for you, but it will also help you answer the interview questions in a way that appeals to the interviewer.
That said, it's important to keep your answers genuine and honest. Don't try to tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear. Instead, you should focus on the areas where your skills, experiences, and interests align with the school’s. For example, let’s assume that you want to get into Wharton school of business for their famous JD/MBA program, and your research tells you that it’s a very collaborative school. You don’t need to tell the interviewer that your greatest strength is delegating if it is not the truth. Instead, you can opt to highlight any experiences that you have working on a team to show that you can work with others.
Review common questions
This is one of the most important steps of your preparation. You should review common law school interview questions and prepare your answers for those questions. It’s impossible to know exactly what questions your interviewer will ask, but you can find out which ones are most likely to come up and be prepared for them. There are certain questions that seem to come up time and time again in law school interviews, and preparing your answers for those questions in advance can make a huge difference. If you are "winging it" during your interview, you won't have time to think about your answers. Meaning that they might not be structured in the best way, and they might not include information that could be pertinent to your application. Preparing your answers in advance will allow you to think about what you want to share with the interviewer, come up with concrete examples to back up your claims, and organize your answers in a way that shows your communication skills. Furthermore, It will help you feel more confident, and it will reduce the likelihood of you stuttering or rambling during the actual interview.
Practice with mock interviews
To be clear, we don't think you should keep doing mock interviews until you know your answers word for word. That would actually be counterproductive, and we do not recommend it. Instead, we highly suggest that you write the key points of your responses on a piece of paper to have an idea of what your answer should include and how it is structured. You should then use these responses during mock interviews. Once you're happy with the content of your responses, you should start practicing your presentation. Practice speaking clearly and confidently in front of the mirror, practice sitting up straight and making eye contact with those you're speaking to, and how to do a firm handshake. We also recommend that you film yourself or conduct mock interviews with someone else. Mock interviews are a great way to check for issues in your body language and to get a bit more comfortable with the material you'll likely be talking about during the interview. If your interview ends up being on video, it will also help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
Is your law school interview an online video interview? You won't want to miss these tips:
Prepare questions of your own
At the end of your interview, you will be given a chance to ask some questions. We recommend that you prepare at least two questions for the interviewer. By having questions ready, you are showing the admissions officer that you care about this opportunity and that you came prepared.
You should be careful when choosing what questions to ask. Make sure that it is not something you could have easily found yourself on the school website. Ask questions about the school, the program, or the admissions process. Here are three examples:
Get expert help
If you truly want to maximize your chances of getting into law school, you might consider investing in law school admissions consulting. Not only do consultants provide help with all of the preparation steps we've talked about above, but they are also trained specifically to help students get into law schools.
Consultants will work with you to develop the strongest answers to some of the more common law school interview questions and give you tips and strategies for answering unusual or unexpected questions. They can also help you figure out the different types of phrasing that questions can take so that you are not caught off guard. Additionally, law school admission consultants can provide you with personalized feedback to make sure you ace your interview.
Make plans to follow up
After your interview, you should thank the interviewer for their time in person, and the next day, you should do it in a handwritten note or email. A short, polite, and enthusiastic thank you note is a great way to make a good impression. It will reiterate your interest in the school and tell the interviewer that you valued their time. So, make plans to follow up within 24 hours of your interview. Set a reminder for yourself or buy a thank you card that you can mail shortly after your interview.
Your thank you note does not need to be elaborate. It is not an opportunity for you to tell the interviewer everything you may have forgotten to say during your interview or plead your case if you feel like you did not do well. A long letter will feel like additional work for the interviewer, and that's not what you want to do. Keep it short and sweet, but make sure you show appreciation for the interviewer's time, reiterate interest in their law school, and invite requests for additional information. If possible, you can also reference a key part of your conversation.
For reference, here is an example:
Dear Ms. Smith,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me yesterday to discuss my application to XYZ Law School. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with an alumnus about XYZ’s impressive law school program. Hearing about your experience as an XYZ student brought a unique perspective that strengthened my interest in attending. It’s nice to know how welcoming the student body is and how much support is given to students.
Please let me know if I can provide you with any additional information.
Thank you again for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
1. Do all law school students get called for interviews?
Whether you get called for an interview or not depends on the school you've applied to. Some schools interview all applicants to their law school program, others interview random candidates, and others only interview applicants who meet specific criteria. It is best to be prepared just in case your chosen schools use any of those options and you do get an invitation for an interview.
2. Aren't law school interviews just a formality?
No, they are not. Contrary to popular belief, getting called for an interview does not mean that you are almost guaranteed admission. Keep in mind that law schools are very selective, and your performance during the interview can carry a lot of weight.
3. What type of questions do they ask during law school interviews?
Law school interviews usually include a mix of personal and quirky questions, scenario and behavioral questions, and conversations about current events in the field.
4. How do you prepare for law school interviews?
You can prepare for your interview by reviewing common law school interview questions, preparing your answers in advance, conducting mock interviews, and researching the schools you'll be interviewed by. To maximize your chances of acing your interview, you may consider working with a law school admissions consultant.
5. How do I know what a law school looks for in applicants?
You can learn a lot about a law school, including what it looks for in candidates, on the school website and their social media pages. Look for qualities or skills that are mentioned repeatedly on different pages.
6. How competitive is law school?
Law schools can be pretty competitive, but the level of competition will depend on the school and specific program you're interested in.
7. Should I ask the interviewer questions?
Yes. Prepare at least two questions for the interviewer and ask them when you're given a chance at the end of the interview. Beyond the fact that you will get some answers to your questions, you will also be showing the interviewer that you cared enough to come prepared.
8. Is a thank-you note necessary after an interview?
It is not required, but we highly recommend sending one. It's a great way to make a good impression and reiterate your interest in your chosen school.
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