When preparing for a Paralegal job interview, you should think about ways that you can demonstrate your research, organisation, prioritisation and interpersonal skills, as well as legal knowledge and a genuine interest in your practice area of choice.
Below is a list of common Paralegal interview questions and some tips on how to formulate your answers. Have a read through and write down some notes for each question and then start rehearsing your answers so you can provide confident and concise responses when the big day comes around.
- Tell me about your Paralegal experience to date.
- Why do you want to be a Paralegal?
- Which areas of law interest you the most?
- Why did you apply to work at this firm/company?
- How do you prioritise work, maintain composure and reach deadlines under pressure?
- What does the average day look like for you?
- How do you deal with a difficult or frustrated client?
- What do you do to stay up to date with legal and regulatory changes?
Tell me about your Paralegal experience to date
This question will likely come up early on in your interview, provided you have not applied for an entry level Paralegal role. In a few sentences, summarise your work experience as a Paralegal so far, mentioning where you have worked, the practice areas you have encountered and any notable cases you have been involved in. The interviewer is looking for a concise overview of your career so far, not a twenty-minute ramble about your entire work history.
Why do you want to be a Paralegal?
As an alternative to the above question, entry level candidates may be asked why they have applied for this role in the first place. This question provides an excellent opportunity to emphasise any existing legal work experience you have, including vacation schemes, court marshalling or open days. Interviewers asking this question are looking for genuine interest in the legal industry and passion for the Paralegal profession, so make sure your answer is enthusiastic and detailed.
Which areas of law interest you the most?
Here, interviewers are looking for evidence of your interest in the area of law that you will be working in with them, so it’s not advisable to talk about your emphasis for property litigation if you are interviewing for an employment law position. Tailor your answer to the role at hand and be prepared to demonstrate your interest with examples from your education, work history or personal life.
Why did you apply to work at this firm/company?
When you hear this Paralegal interview question, it’s time to dazzle the hiring manager with your knowledge of their business and explain why you are a perfect fit for the role. Interviewers will know immediately whether you have done your homework, so make sure to thoroughly research the history, culture, values, products and services of the firm or company at which you are interviewing. Websites, social media and job adverts are all good places to do your research.
How do you prioritise work, maintain composure and reach deadlines under pressure?
Due to non-negotiable deadlines and competing priorities, the working lives of Paralegals can be highly stressful. However, there is no room for error in the legal profession, so interviewers will be looking for evidence of your organisation skills and ability to maintain accuracy in high pressure situations. Think about the tools, methods and software you use to organise your day and prepare your answer around this.
What does the average day look like for you in your current role?
Your interviewer is trying to find out about the specific tasks that you have experience of, as well as the level of responsibility and autonomy you are granted in your current position. When preparing your answer, revisit the job advert and identify which duties of the new job you carry out in your current role. Highlight these in your response to demonstrate your suitability.
How do you deal with a difficult or frustrated client?
Many Paralegals are responsible for liaising with clients and updating them on the progress of their case, claim or contract, be this in face to face meetings, over the telephone or via email. Interviewers will be looking for your communication and diplomacy skills here, so prepare your answer around a conflict or tense situation that you defused and resolved in a calm, professional manner.
What do you do to stay up to date with legal and regulatory changes?
Naturally, law firms and in-house teams want their Paralegals to have a great breadth of legal knowledge alongside sound understanding of sector specific regulations and case law. For your answer to this question, you need to refer to the law journals, blogs and publications you read, the conferences or webinars you have attended and any other means you use to continually develop your legal knowledge.
Did we miss any Paralegal interview questions that you need help answering? Contact us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter with your questions and we will add them to this article.
Would you like to take part in an interview about your experience as a Paralegal? If so, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
What are the 10 common interview questions and answers? ›
- Tell Me About Yourself. ...
- Why Are You the Best Person for the Job? ...
- Why Do You Want This Job? ...
- How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role? ...
- Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job? ...
- What Is Your Greatest Strength? ...
- What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
The Paralegal (PL) assists with case planning, development, and management, legal research, interviews clients, gathers facts and retrieves information, drafts and analyzes legal documents and collects, complies and utilizes technical information, to make recommendations to an attorney.What is your greatest strength paralegal? ›
Some of the most common “traits or characteristics” listed in articles related to this topic include:
- Works well independently.
- Works well under pressure.
- Maintains a professional attitude.
- Case Preparation.
- Document Management.
- Courtroom and Legal Proceedings Assistance.
- Communication and Coordination.
Generally, paralegals may not represent clients in court, take depositions, or sign pleadings. Some federal and state administrative agencies, however, do permit nonlawyer practice.What are the 5 hardest interview questions? ›
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why should we hire you?
- What's something that you didn't like about your last job?
- Why do you want this job?
- How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?
- Here's an answer for you.
SUGGESTED ANSWER: “Being naturally someone who has great attention to detail, an inquisitive mind and totally dedicated approach to my work, I believe the role of a Paralegal is one I would excel in.What do employers look for in a paralegal? ›
Communication and client facing skills
Employers are highly impressed by those people. They are able to demonstrate previous experience of thinking critically and communicating clearly to solve problems for clients and colleagues alike. Foreign language skills are always an added bonus.
Paralegals should be proficient in legal research databases such as Nexis/Lexis and Westlaw and know how to perform in-depth Internet searches. They should also know how to use investigative skills in various contexts to uncover documents, evidence, witnesses and other relevant information related to a case.What are the four basic tasks that most paralegals perform? ›
- Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client.
- Locate and interview witnesses.
- Conduct investigations and statistical and documentary research.
- Conduct legal research.