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Law Firms Are Concerned with Three Questions from Candidates
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Summary: Law firm candidates must be able to answer three main questions if they wish to be considered for the job.

Lawyers can have top qualifications and prepare for law firm interviews but not of that will matter if they can’t ace the three most common questions law firms ask their candidates. Harrison Barnes tells that hard truth that law firm applicants need to hear in his article, “The Only Three Questions Law Firms Evaluate Applicant By.”


A candidate can be dressed to impress with all the proper interview etiquettes and a soothing voice but law firms are more concerned with whether you can do the job, can commit to the job, and actually want to do the job.

Convince the law firm that you can answer all three questions, then you can pretty much bet you are a shoe-in for the job. Convince them of only two and you may get the job. Convince them of only one and you had better hope you have a backup plan. Most often attorneys are not able to successfully prove to a law firm that they can answer all three questions and that is why it is so difficult to secure a new position.

To prove you can do the job, you must:

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  • Show that you can fit in with the firm. Having the skills and qualifications to do the job means nothing if you are not relatable and able to fit in with the firm. Law firms want to hire attorneys who they like, can get along with and who bring positive energy to the law firm. A law firm does not want someone that stands out and makes issues, they want a lawyer that blends in and is easy going.
  • Be willing to play by the rules of the law firm. Every law firm has different rules to play by so you must be willing to adapt. There are law firms that place an emphasis on hours while others place an importance on finding more clients. They want to see they can control you, that you will follow, and that you will do what is required.
  • Show you have a background that matches their needs. Law firms are hiring new attorneys because they have a need that must be filled. That need varies with each law firm, some want attorneys from specific law schools, some are considered with grades, some want to see candidates from a specific law school and so on.
  • Show you will do whatever it takes to get the job done. This may mean filing inaccurate documents or doing a job a specific way that may not make sense to you. Demonstrate that you can follow directions no matter what they are.

To prove you want the job, you must:

  • Be applying for a job that aligns with your experience. If you have things on your resume that conflict with the job, then it will be hard to show that you actually want to job. Your enthusiasm is a good indicator of how badly you want the job.

To prove you want the job long term, you must:

  • Show that you are committed by keeping your positions for longer than just a year. Where you go to law school can be a red flag for a law firm of how committed you will be to the firm. Those that go to Yale Law School are known for having short commitment times. Jumping around from job to job will not show that you want to keep any position for a decent length of time.
  • Where you are from, your primary practice area and more are signs of if you will be expected to stick around for long.

Law firms do not to take on more risk than is necessary. They especially do not want any of that risk to be in form of their attorneys and other staff. The only way they will be sure that you are not a risk is if you can any these three questions without a doubt.

Do you think law firms are willing to take risks? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about getting a job with a law firm, read these articles:



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