Traits That Law School Officials Seek In Interviews
Interviews are an important opportunity to showcase your personality as a law applicant.
Ilana Kowarski, a reporter for U.S. News, recently discussed three qualities that law school officers covet in an interview.
Commitment to Interests
Showing commitment to your interests can go a long way. Experts say that applicants should highlight their commitment in interviews – even for interests outside the law.
Danae McElroy is the director of admissions of the law school at the University of California—Los Angeles (UCLA). McElroy tells U.S. News that she appreciates applicants who show commitment to their interests.
“Whether it’s leading a campaign on campus, starting a student organization, gaining meaningful work experience, starting a business, crafting a thesis, or engaging in creative endeavors, students who pursue their passions (and are able to talk about them!) stand out—critically, even if those passions don’t relate to the law,” McElroy tells U.S. News.
Good Relationships and Strong Personality
In addition to your LSAT scores and academic performance, law schools are interested in the type of person you are and how you get along with colleagues.
Doug Sylvester is the dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Sylvester tells U.S. News that applicants who can demonstrate strong personalities off paper tend to do well among admissions officers.
“It’s not your numbers, it’s not your LSAT, it’s not your GPA,” he says. “It truly is personal enthusiasm for the institution and a real ability to convey a sense of self in a short amount of time.”
Shawn P. O’Connor is a contributor for U.S. News and graduate from Harvard Law. O’Connor says the best way applicants can convey their personality in an interview is to be genuine.
“Demonstrate who you are off paper and do not reiterate examples from your essays,” O’Connor writes. “Also, do not talk about your numbers – they already know your GPA and your LSAT score, so focus on your qualities that they may not know.”
Experts say an interview should be conversational and applicants should appear as relaxed and composed as possible.
Jacob Baska is the director of admissions and financial aid at the University of Notre Dame Law School. Baska tells U.S. News that poise says a lot about how an applicant will perform later down his or her career.
“If a student is clearly nervous speaking with me, I have to wonder how they will interview with a judge, a partner at a firm, or our faculty for a research assistant position,” Baska tells U.S. News.
O’Connor further stresses the importance of not coming off as scripted during an interview.
“While it is important to brainstorm key aspects of yourself you wish to get across to the interviewer, think of them more as bullet points than an essay,” O’Connor writes. “This will allow you to speak freely and authentically while sounding organized and coherent.”
Sources: US News, US News