Because the legal industry is incredibly competitive, many students who have a desire to enter law are anxious to find some type of position at a law firm. Some of the options provided to students who are anticipating working in the legal field include working at law firms, summer school, and various study abroad programs that allow the opportunity to work or study law.
The 1L Summer Program
Many opportunities to work at law establishments and schools during the summer for first year law students is called a 1L Summer program. The 1L Summer allows future lawyers to gain experience and learn the details that are involved in working at a law firm. It can further confirm or deny the student's desire to work in the legal profession. While working, interning, or studying in the legal workplace, students are given diminutive tasks that helps with the overall legal process and have the opportunity to observe what lawyers and partners do. A 1L Summer program allows students the opportunity to interact with clients, work for a lawyer, and thrive in a legal environment.
Whether the student has a distinct understanding of the exact type of law they pursue is not irrelevant when seeking a law internship. For example, a student with a desire to pursue personal injury law will likely apply at firms where they can learn the legal repercussions of disabling accidental injuries or workers compensation claims. On the other hand, a student who takes an internship at a personal injury firm may learn multiple things that pertain to that area of law. The legal aspects of car collisions, injury, car or bus accidents, and car accident settlements will serve as the types of information that the student learns about during their internship. Learning what a personal injury lawyer does better acquaints them with that area of law and also helps them to decide if they want to be an injury attorney.
How To Prepare for the Interview:
- Learn about the firm and be able to answer questions. If you don't know much about the firm you have a good chance of blowing the interview when you answer questions incorrectly.
- Stay confident. Lawyers must always appear confident even if they are not. Staying confident during the interview makes a student seem more like a winning candidate.
- Work on how you will maximize your accomplishments. If you got an “A” in a course, or helped an attorney in the past find out how you can mention it once you have the interview.
The Personal Questions Asked at Law Firm Interviews:
- Why do you want to work at THIS law firm and not the millions of others?
- If you had the choice, what field of law would you work in?
- Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years?
- What do you really want out of life?
- Are you satisfied with what you have achieved in law school so far?
- How well do you react to stressful situations?
- Tell me about your weaknesses and strengths.
The Legal Questions Asked at Law Firm Interviews:
- How would you handle a denied petition?
- As an attorney what circumstance would make you realize it's time to settle?
- How do you feel about the legal mandates of social security reform?
- In what cases should medical records not be released?
- In what cases should workers compensation not be released?
What Not to Say During the Interview:
- Is this position paid? Although many internships are unpaid, they more than make up in the long run for the time and effort invested. Students who decide to accept unpaid internships their first year, often find that they more easily find paid positions later on. Working for free opens the door to job offers with considerable salaries and benefits.
- I'm not sure I can do this... Never behave as if you are questioning your abilities in front of the interviewer. The interviewer needs someone they can trust to get to the job done, and questions of doubt will often close the door.
- How many hours a week is it? Attorneys often work long hours, especially when there are major cases being fought. An intern must be able to work hard and be willing to stay during some of those long nights.
The next phase of the law firm interview may include a case study. Case studies may involve solving a legal issue with a car or bus accident, or some other type of dilemma that requires critical thinking. During case studies, students learn about the liability each party holds in various cases that often involve personal injury. These types of case studies are commonly used when interns are seeking positions at firms where clients hire attorneys for car accidents.
Excel at the Interview
To be seriously considered for an interview, students need to be able to sufficiently answer interview questions smoothly. Law firms desire to have a clear view of the potential intern's abilities and personality and that is often reflected in the way interview questions are answered. Many interview questions are focused on work and academic experience which is why previous internships are incredibly critical. Excelling at a case study and interview can open the door for an intern to tackle significant projects and gain first-hand experience in a legal environment.