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Five Tips for Interviewing at a New York Law Firm

Posted by: Laurence Simons 26/11/14

The New York legal market is still growing in several practice areas (Corporate, Real Estate, IP) and unusually stuck in others (Litigation, Labor & Employment). For New York lawyers, or lawyers looking to move to a firm in New York, the competition is as stiff as it’s ever been.

If you’re looking to advance your legal career in NYC (or anywhere else for that matter) here are five things to keep in mind when interviewing. While these may seem obvious and something that you were taught when first looking for a job, we always receive feedback from law firms highlighting the following:

1. Do your homework.

Be sure to research the firm’s history, locations, size and practice areas, as well as its key clients and client industries. Make sure you review the bios of everyone you know you’ll be meeting with and try to get a sense of their practice.

2. Make a positive impression.

A strong resume isn’t enough – you need to project the right combination of confidence, enthusiasm and humility to show, firstly, you’re up to the job and can manage even bigger challenges down the road, you’re still open to learning and growing as an attorney, and that you’re easy to get along with and someone they’ll want as a co-worker.

3. Make a list of your top selling points.

Are you a great legal writer? Are you a whiz at researching obscure areas of the law? Have you handled a large transaction with minimal oversight? Whatever your most important abilities and achievements are, make sure you emphasize them in person to distinguish you from the other candidates. Don’t be afraid to bring them up again in subsequent interviews, since that particular interviewer probably hasn’t heard them before.

4. Know why you’re looking.

When you’re asked why you’re looking for a new position - and you will be - make sure you have a good answer (and that answer shouldn’t be about money!).

5. Have questions.

Your interviewer will expect you to ask intelligent, probing questions about you’ll be working with, what your responsibilities will be etc. Don’t be afraid to ask!