Top Law School Interview Questions
Demonstrating your strengths on paper is one thing. Conveying those strengths in person is another.
For those who fear law school interviews, U.S. News & World Report recently compiled a few common interview questions and what exactly law school admissions officers are looking for when they ask them.
Why Do You Want to Become a Lawyer?
This is a question that experts say is a way to decipher whether an applicant truly is passionate about the law or merely attending law school as a delay tactic in their career.
“I believe strongly that we should prepare and produce graduates who passionately want to be lawyers, because I believe lawyers who are passionate about what they are doing will be happy lawyers,” Kathleen Boozang, dean of the Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey, tells U.S. News. “And so I am looking to see that the student is going to law school because they are inspired to go to law school, as opposed to [because] they really can’t think of anything else to do.”
Flora MacQueen, a contributor for The Guardian, writes that every applicant will have a different answer to this question. The importance lies in your own personality and motivations, she says.
“Consider carefully your own reasons and source of motivation,” MacQueen writes. “We may agree with Aristotle that ‘the law is reason free from passion’, yet an answer as to why you might want a career in law is the opposite — it is a rare opportunity to show your passion, so don’t be afraid to. It will help you stand out next to someone else, and an interviewer may well remember you by it.”
Why This Law School?
Experts say this question is a test of whether you’ve done your research.
“Students should go into interviews knowing everything on that school’s website, its values, how it describes itself, who the star professors are, etc.,” Ella Tyler, a retired lawyer who works as a tutor for Varsity Tutors, a virtual education platform, tells U.S. News. “Law requires preparation and research, so if you showcase those skill sets in your interview, it’s proof that you have what it takes to be a lawyer.”
Additionally, truly asking yourself how a specific school matches your goal can help you convey your reasoning in the interview.
“Ask yourself why these objective qualities are meaningful to you,” Amy Yvette Garrou, a former admissions officer, writes for Noodle Pros Blog – an education resource. “How will you use these elements of the campus or its community to your advantage if you’re admitted? How will you contribute to each if you’re admitted?”
What Are You Reading?
While admissions officers want to get to know you as a candidate, they also want to get to know you as a person. Experts say this question is aimed at gauging whether an applicant is intellectually curious and has a well-rounded personality.
Boozang says applicants should keep up to date with the news and continually pursue extracurricular interests, as these will come handy when the interviewer asks personal questions.
“I emphasize the importance to young people thinking about law school the need to be thinking about the world around them,” she tells U.S. News.
How Will You Contribute?
While your GPA and test scores may be impressive, it’s this question that will truly help admissions officers filter out well-qualified candidates from exceptional ones.
Nyana Abreu, an attorney at Sequor Law in Miami, says when it comes to this question, the key is to highlight your personality over your academic portfolio.
“That’s not an academic question, and I think that’s something that a lot of candidates miss – that when you’re given an opportunity to talk about yourself, they don’t want to know your GPA [and] they don’t want to know your test scores,” she tells U.S. News. “They already know all those types of things. They want to know something memorable about you. So I would say, think of that question as more of a first date question. You’re not so much telling the interviewer why you’re so studious and hardworking. You’re telling the interviewer why people want to spend time with you.”
Sources: U.S. News, The Guardian, Noodle Pros Blog