Wednesday, March 30, 2011


One thing that lawyers love to ask you during interviews are questions that will make you "think on your feet."  Now, I find this annoying.  We all want to put our best foot forward and these questions are designed by their very nature to trip a candidate up.  I use to agonize as well about what questions I would be asked.  I would agonize over this.

Most interviews for legal positions are centered around behavioral questioning.  This is designed to put you in simulated situations to see how you did react and therefore to try and figure out how you would react in the future.  There are a ton of websites out there if you google behavioral interview questions, that will give you sample questions based on what character trait the interviewer is looking for.  I have found these sites helpful. 

I also have found a good formula for answering these questions.  In your legal research writing class, we all learned about IRAC (Issue, rule, analysis, conclusion).  But there is a way to answer these questions in the interviews -- STAR:  Situation, Task, Action taken, Result.  This keeps you concise and with a goal in mind.  At the end of the interview, I give a little closing argument that gives the interviewer tells them that I am interested in the job, and why I am a good fit for the team.

So now you have my secrets to a successful interview beyond the confidence, eye contact, and general warmth.

Oh, one more thing -- have an interesting/funny/memorable story.  For me, when someone says, Why are did you go to law school?  My story is simple.  I saw my first legal dance happen when I was nine and sat in Judge Roy Miller's courtroom.  I remember being in awe and watching the back and forth tango of a criminal trial.  I remember thinking, "That's going to be me some day."  I remember Judge Miller letting me sit in his big chair, at his big desk, and him rolling me around in the chair and pointing me towards Willamette Law Schools campus and telling me that there is where I needed to go.  Not to mention this coincided with the year that Geraldine Ferraro was running as vice president and I found out that I was a political creature as well, but that's another story.  That was the day that the love of law began in me and it never left....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More than money

Here I am, again, interviewing. I like to interview.  I am good at it.  I am confident and comfortable in who I am as a person and this comes across instantly.  I make direct eye contact, smile when appropriate and have a good time getting to know the person that is interviewing me.  AND I have an ability to read a person instantly. 

The interview today went great and I have a second interview early next week.  This job is a good opportunity.  This is a small firm with one stellar reputation in town.  In fact, when I went through my divorce, I wanted to hire this attorney but could not afford the retainer fee not to mention the hourly billing rate.  While the pay on this job is on the lower side, what I will say is that what I would learn from the two partners of this firm is absolutely priceless.... which brings me to the point of this post.

Think about where you are going to work and who you will work with.  While we all want to make a ton of money, factor in who you are learning from.  Factor in what the partner's attitude is towards mentoring and training a new hire.  What is their plan?  How long have the partners been in practice?  How are they regarded by other attorney's, by the local bar, and by the community?

I came away knowing that the pay is kind of low, but the education I will learn from this firm is priceless.