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The top 100 law firms in the United States touted a collective revenue of around $130 billion in 2023, showcasing that the market is growing at a healthy pace.1 For law grads launching their careers and aspiring lawyers looking to make a switch, the legal industry is ripe with opportunities to pursue.

That said—much like every facet of the law profession—competition is fierce. 

When you land an interview, you need to make the most of it. Knowing how to prepare for a law firm interview can make all the difference between standing out and being another resume in the crowd.

Understanding What Law Firms Look For

The old adage says you have only seven seconds to make a good first impression. Assuming you make it past screening, you can expect multiple rounds of interviews. In other words, you have to make a good first impression more than once, and then repeatedly prove that you are fit for the role and demonstrate your competence. 

So, how to prepare for a law firm interview? You first need to understand what law firms generally look for. 

Granted, not all law firms are the same, but all top law firms have an ideal candidate in mind. This candidate has to possess several key competencies and skills.2

  • Legal knowledge – This is foundational but nevertheless worth stressing. Be ready to discuss in detail relevant transactions, issues, or cases where you had a meaningful role. You can also demonstrate this by referencing a recent development relevant to the firm's practice areas. 
  • Attention to detail – Law hinges on precision, so strong attention to detail is paramount. Listen actively, research your potential employer, or bring up an instance when you spotted an issue others missed.
  • Problem-solving abilities – Lawyers solve problems. Reference a time when you offered an innovative solution that led to the resolution of a conflict. 
  • Business acumen – Business skills may not come naturally to lawyers, but having an understanding of finances and risk management is important. Demonstrate this by showing that you understand the firm's business needs and goals. 

Remember that demonstrating your skill set is critical to persuading the interviewer that you would be a valuable asset to their company.

Pre-Interview Preparation

You have to come prepared if you want to confidently demonstrate your competencies and prove you're the right person for the role. For a start, research the law firm as thoroughly as possible. What are their practice areas? What are some notable projects they have worked on? What is the company culture like?

Naturally, you also need to have an understanding of the specific role you are applying for. This includes researching the responsibilities and skills required for the position. You can tailor your resume and interview responses accordingly, which will not just increase your chances of getting a positive answer, but also show the employer you have done your homework. 

Asking questions during the interview will also show the firm that you are enthusiastic about the prospect of getting the job. There's nothing wrong with the usual question about the role itself, or questions about the team you'd be working with. However, you can spice this up and stand out by asking the interviewer to discuss an exciting project the team is currently working on, or just pose open-ended questions that encourage conversation. 

Common Legal Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

In a typical interview, you are asked to introduce yourself, discuss your qualifications, and share examples of relevant experience for the position you are applying for. These law firm interview questions may seem prototypical, but don’t underestimate their importance. What interviewers in legal firms pay close attention to is how your answers stand out from the large group of applicants.

Then, there are behavioral questions. Behavioral questions are questions that are meant to assess your actions in real situations that took place in the past. Case study questions, on the other hand, revolve around asking a candidate to recommend a solution to a specific problem. 

One example of a behavioral question is: What is the greatest achievement of your legal career thus far, and how did you accomplish it? 

Most of the time, the goal of a question like this is to gain some insight about how you think and operate in a professional setting, while gauging if your abilities would be beneficial to the company.  

In your answer, you need first to provide some context and describe the problem you were tasked with resolving. Outline the steps you took to resolve it and, most importantly, explain how your actions benefited the firm.

Case study questions are meant to evaluate your skills as a lawyer, so you will usually be given information to work with, and then asked to propose a solution. For example, they might ask how you would proceed with a specific situation. 

In response, after analyzing the problem, you typically have to present your findings, argue your decision, and recommend a solution or make a final recommendation.

Dressing for Success: Law Firm Interview Attire

When you're contemplating how to prepare for a law firm interview, attire is probably not your top priority, but how you look matters and can make a huge difference. 

Lawyers should project confidence and inspire trust. A good lawyer is someone you can rely on, who deals with sensitive matters and gets the job done professionally. Consider where you’re interviewing and their company culture to guide how formal or casual you need to be – just remember to present yourself as professional. Though some law firms have a less formal dress code, it's best not to risk it when you're interviewing for a position.3

During the Interview: Best Practices

Remember—the person, or people, interviewing you are just human beings. Simple things like smiling and maintaining eye contact can go a long way in building rapport.

Take a deep breath before you sit down opposite of your interviewer, relax, and let things flow naturally. It helps if you remember the interviewer's name and actively listen to what they have to say. Even if you feel under pressure to sell yourself, there is no need to dominate the conversation. It's always a good idea to ask thoughtful questions when the opportunity presents itself and express interest in the interviewer themselves as a person, as well as their role in the company.

As long as you are relaxed and feeling comfortable, you will be able to communicate who you are clearly and demonstrate your value. Speak clearly and project your voice, and don't just list your previous jobs and qualifications. Instead, try to concisely quantify your achievements and provide specific examples of your contributions to previous roles.

Post-Interview Strategy

Thank-you letters or follow-up emails are optional, but generally considered good practice. After the job interview, you can write to the interviewer and thank them for the opportunity. This demonstrates good communication skills, reiterates your interest in the position, and may potentially help you stand out from other candidates.

Interviewers will typically indicate when you can expect to hear back from them. If more than a week beyond that date passes without any communication, you can send an email (or make a phone call) asking for an update on the hiring process. Keep it short, polite, and professional. Mention the position you interviewed for, the date of the interview, the name of the person who interviewed you, and ask the status of your application.

In the event that the law firm you interviewed with decides to go with a different candidate, send a brief email thanking them for their time and consideration. You can also express your continued interest in the company and inquire about any future opportunities. This is helpful for your lawyer networking strategy.

Advance Your Career With a Legal Recruiter

Knowing how to prepare for a law firm interview is important, but applying that knowledge in the real world can be challenging and take more trial and error than you would ideally like. To save time and avoid those initial stumbles, consider partnering with a legal recruiter.

E.P. Dine has been helping candidates find the right law jobs and opportunities for more than four decades. E.P. Dine's experienced team will understand your qualifications and goals, then craft and execute a personalized strategy to help you secure interviews and land positions.


  1. Statista. Legal services industry in the U.S. - statistics & facts.
  2. Clio. The Top 7 Skills for Lawyers.
  3. The - M - Dash. Interview Outfits for Lawyers: 13 Tips for Nailing It.

At E.P. Dine, we are committed to delivering content that is not only relevant and insightful but also rooted in professional integrity and expertise. To achieve this, every article published on the E.P. Dine blog undergoes a meticulous review process by qualified professionals with deep knowledge and experience in the legal field and legal recruitment.

David Walden


As Co-CEO of E.P. Dine and leader of the Law Firm Practice Group, David is a premier legal career strategist and search industry expert to law firm executives and partners throughout the United States. His clients, among the world's finest law firms, engage him when seeking the highest standard of excellence in their search efforts and hiring initiatives.

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