How to Prep for a Law School Interview
- Jun 16, 2022
- acceptance into law school, Admissions, General LSAT Advice, law interviews, Law School, Law School Admissions, Law School Advice, law school interviews, Law School Life, LSAT
The law school interview is unique from most other typical interviews. Because it is not a job interview, your approach is somewhat different. Instead, the law school interview is primarily designed to investigate prospective student potential, interest in the law school, and potential fit within the law school. As you prepare for your interviews, be mindful that the people observing you will be assessing those three factors. By the end of the interview, they should be able to determine whether you will be a strong law student, whether you will contribute to the campus culture, and whether you are actually interested in going to their law school.
Should I even do the interview if it’s optional?
Yes! While many schools make the interview an optional part of the admissions process, it is an “option” you want to take advantage of. The goal is to stand out against candidates with similar LSAT scores and/or GPAs. This is an opportunity to show the school another side of you and to demonstrate that you really want to attend this particular law school. If you pass up the opportunity then you may lose out on an acceptance that goes to someone with similar raw numbers. Dress professionally. Act professionally. Be on time!
Overall Goals for Your Interview
You want to Show the interviewer that admitting you to their school is a no brainer! To do that, you’ll want to be sure you show the following:
Show that you are likely to be a great student
By the end of the interview, you want the people observing you to understand that you are an intelligent person who will excel in law school. Take your time to think through your responses to each question. Most importantly, be engaged! This will help demonstrate that you are going to be an engaged student who will participate enthusiastically in class discussions.
Show that you will represent the law school well
Interviewers will want to know that you will be an excellent representative of their law school as you enter your professional career. Take time to discuss your goals. It is totally fine if you do not have them completely figured out. Ultimately, your professional career will reflect back on your legal alma mater. Show them that you are personable and can interview well. If you interview well here, you will probably interview well for a job. Law schools want students who are likely to get those highly sought after jobs in the legal field.
Finally, take time to show the interviewer why you are interested in their law school. Move beyond the numbers. Does the law school offer a program, clinic, and/or course that is of particular interest to you? Are there any professors that you would love to study under? The more that you can convince the school that you are likely to matriculate if given an offer, the better your odds.
Common Interview Formats
Law schools tend to employ four common interview formats: A recorded interview, a one on one interview, a panelist interview, and a group interview. Although your approach should not change dramatically for each format, you should research and prepare accordingly. For instance, if you are doing a recorded interview, it is less likely that you will have an opportunity to ask questions so you can take more time answering their questions.
Recorded Video Format
Law schools are increasingly using a recorded video interview format. While it can be somewhat more rigid than the other options, it does have some advantages. Namely, it gives a larger group of people the opportunity to review your interview and consider your replies.
Because the recorded interview also will rely on preselected questions, it may be somewhat easier to prepare for. To begin your interview, you will login to the law school’s website. Most interviews have about five questions. You will typically have about a minute to think about your reply to each question before the recording begins. Take that time to consider your response and to calm yourself down. You want to sound professional and relaxed. Avoid the common trap of talking too fast when being recorded!
One on One
A one on one interview will typically be conducted by someone from the law school admissions committee or an alumni of the school. The person will likely report their recommendations back to the admissions committee. If possible, take time to research the person and come with questions about their career and their perspective on the law school.
A panelist interview is similar to a one on one interview except you will speak with several people at once. Although this can be somewhat intimidating, make sure to come off as relaxed but excited to be there. Don’t feel rushed to answer questions. Similar to a one on one interview, take time to research the people interviewing you and come with questions about their career and their perspective on the law school.
Some law schools conduct larger group interviews where you will interview alongside other prospective law students. These are designed to get a feel for the type of student that you might be once in law school. In this circumstance the interviewer(s) will be looking to see who is engaged in the process and intellectually curious. Take time to answer questions and to explain your justification for each answer.
Common Interview Question Types
The types of law school interview questions you’ll encounter typically fall into four categories: prior experiences (work and academic), professional aspirations and goals, reasons for attending law school, and questions about your intellectual curiosity. While the types of questions you’ll be asked can depend on the interview format (for example, the recorded interview questions tend to fall squarely into these four categories), you’ll want to be prepared to speak to any of these. Each can be used to highlight components of why the law school should admit you over a candidate with similar numbers.
Below is a list of common questions for each question type:
- Why did you choose your major / undergrad?
- What was the most challenging undergrad course and why?
- Who was your favorite college professor and why?
- Tell us about a time you can to problem solve at work
- Why do you want to be a lawyer?
- What are your long term goals and how do you plan to get there?
- What stimulated your interest in the law?
- What would be your ideal first job out of law school?
Reasons for Law School:
- Why are you applying to law school?
- When did you decide to apply to law school?
- What is your biggest concern in going to law school?
- What might separate you from other law applicants?
- What is your favorite book?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to dinner, who would it be and why?
- What are you passionate about outside of the law?
- Tell us about a thesis paper you have written.
Final Interview Advice
Be flexible! With the exception of the recorded video interview, these interviews allow the interviewer to respond and ask follow up questions in real time. This means that you might get a question that you did not prepare for. That is ok! If this happens, take your time (even a brief pause) to come up with a thoughtful answer. Be prepared for your interview, but be ready to go off script. Allow yourself to be flexible and to respond to unexpected questions without letting your nerves get the best of you.
If you’d like some extra support with preparing for your interviews, Blueprint can help! Check out our Law School Admissions Consulting packages and learn how we can help you!
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