How To Answer Odd Law School Interview Questions
You’ve submitted your application and have just received notice that you’ve been accepted for a law school interview. Chances are, you’ve rehearsed answers for 95% of the questions you’ll be asked.
Still, there is that 5%…
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News and admissions consultant at Stratus Admissions Counseling, recently discussed three types of odd questions typically asked in law school interviews and how applicants should go about addressing them.
“Law school interviews are often compared to job interviews, and rightfully so, because they give the admissions committee a chance to see who you are as a person, instead of an assortment of grades, scores, and words on paper,” Waldman writes. “The key to nailing the answers is understanding that what’s important isn’t the questions themselves, but what they’re trying to gauge.”
“Which person, alive or dead, would you most want to have dinner with?”
The two things that should come to mind when asked this question, Walman says, are intellectual curiosity and quick thinking.
The first thing you should do, according to Waldman, is to pick a person you know quite a bit about.
“Don’t pick someone that everyone else will – every time an applicant told me they picked Barack Obama I died a little inside, and so will your interviewer – but at the same time, don’t pick someone so obscure the interviewer won’t really relate to the answer,” Waldman writes. “Another trap to avoid is picking a family member: I’m sure your grandfather has a compelling life story, but picking him is not only cliché, but – try as you may to explain it – the interviewer knows nothing about him, and you don’t want the answer to revolve around you giving you a detailed account of his life story.”
Susan Adams, of Forbes, says the strategy to answering this question is to pick someone from your industry.
“If it’s financial services or anything related to investing, you can say, you know he’s still alive but you’d love to have dinner with Warren Buffett and talk to him about value investing,” Adams writes. “You could also say you wish you could have dined with David Rockefeller or Walter Wriston, the former CEO of Citicorp who helped save New York City from financial collapse in the 1970s. If you work in tech, say Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.”
“What is something common that most people do in a certain way, but you do differently?”
Waldman says this question is all about measuring your uniqueness and problem-solving skills.
“This is your opportunity to give the interviewer an answer that will stick in her mind and separate you from the stack of applications she’s reviewing,” Waldman writes. “It’s tempting to keep it ‘professional,’ describing how you study differently for example, but such an answer wouldn’t leave much of an impression.”
Rather, according to Waldman, applicants should try and come up with a response that showcases their creativity and logical reasoning.
“For example, an applicant answered this question by saying that she pours in milk in her bowl before adding the cereal instead of the other way around, explaining that she absolutely hates soggy cereal, and doing it her way makes the cereal absorb less milk,” Waldman writes. “This is the perfect answer: her uniqueness is a matter of personal taste where there’s no right or wrong way of doing things, and it showcases how she solved something that bothered her. As a bonus, it’s certainly something that the interviewer will remember.”
“Would you say you’ve had an easy life?”
This can be a personal question, but it’s really a gauge of your self-awareness and assertiveness as an applicant, Waldman says.
The best way to go about this question, Waldman says, is to use it as an opportunity to showcase your point of view.
“Thinking on your feet and handling an unexpected event and spinning it to your advantage – much like a lawyer in the courtroom,” Waldman writes. “This isn’t to say that you should default to disingenuity of the ‘my biggest weakness? I care too much’ variety, but instead use the question to make an impression in the short amount of time you had, as a platform to highlight your good qualities and unique insights.”