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Goodwin Procter LLP Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

Working with clients here at Goodwin Procter LLP entails the need for strong finance and accounting principles. Why is this important and what will you bring to the team here in this realm if hired?

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Goodwin Procter LLP Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Working with clients here at Goodwin Procter LLP entails the need for strong finance and accounting principles. Why is this important and what will you bring to the team here in this realm if hired?

      In the legal field surrounding tax law, attorneys work side by side with accounting and finance departments to ensure that laws and regulations are adhered to from the company's perspective. Because of this, representatives from Goodwin Procter LLP must have working knowledge of finance and accounting departments and their principles to be as successful as possible. Talk about the importance of speaking knowledgeably about these principles and pull from your experience and education to explain why you'll be able to do this.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, my pursuit of this profession involved a dual law degree and CPA education and this path has been vital to my success thus far in my career. The CPA side of my practice has been vital in helping clients develop new processes and techniques for changes in legal processes, making me a two headed ally for them as their legal representation in tax law."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My inspiration for pursuing a career in tax law really stemmed from my early days post-bachelor degree in the business world. There, I was exposed to the finance side of a large retail business where I learned many things. When the time came to apply and get accepted into law school, the solid job prospects and exciting work made this career a no-brainer for me. If fortunate enough to come work for Goodwin Procter LLP, you will quickly find that my business experience and acumen will make me a key player on the team here."

  2. 2.

    Do you have any particular areas of wage and hour laws that particularly interest you?

      A large firm like Goodwin Procter LLP often prefers staff to sub-specialize to be of best use to clients as subject matter experts. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to gauge your familiarity with the different aspects of wage and hour laws and where you find your abilities are best suited. There are no right or wrong answers for this question as your interviewer will be looking to see what clients you will best be suited in representing if hired for the position.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "A majority of cases that I have represented during my career so far have revolved around exemption status laws under the FLSA. I have a great working knowledge of the salary basis tests and duties tests to advise clients to make proper decisions when considering statuses of their positions. With changes in law, like we just had recently regarding the minimum salary level for exemption, I am thoroughly versed in changes when they happen and can take swift action with clients to ensure compliance."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I've always had a particular interest in the child labor laws as I feel the United States is falling faster behind the world when it comes to preparing our future through our youth. I've been an advocate at the federal level for real changes in the surrounding this aspect, but I have also advised and represented organizations in their child labor practices in the food and hospitality industries. I think my experience and passion in this area would be a unique fit for the team here at Goodwin Procter LLP."

  3. 3.

    What was your motivation for pursuing a career in the field of law/legal services?

      As your experience and education were reviewed and desired by the hiring manager for the position you are interviewing for, this question is giving them the chance to really hear about your own personal motivators for your career in law. This is an opportunity for you to show what has driven you up to this point in your career and what will continue to drive you to help bring success to Goodwin Procter LLP. Be open and honest with your interviewer as you give them insight into your own personal motivating factors.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "My venture into a career as a lawyer stemmed from my passion for helping people meeting with my desire to be intellectually challenged throughout my career. I love the fact that I've had to stay on my toes throughout my career to this point to learn and be up to date on changes in laws as they relate to my clients. I am a lifelong learner in this field and I always look forward to new educational opportunities for myself in this field. Along with this, I absolutely love working with clients and their legal rights. I am a client first advocate in the legal profession and my work is ultimately for them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My passion for the field of law stemmed my pursuit of a degree as a Paralegal. My aunt is a very successful trial attorney and she was definitely a role model for me during my teenage years. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to shadow her for a two day period for a report my sophomore year of high school and the drive to be in this field was ingrained at that point. Having worked as a Paralegal for five years now, I have a desire to pursue a Juris Doctorate degree and am slowly preparing for the LSAT's now."

  4. 4.

    When we look for diligent and effective people to join our real estate law team here at Goodwin Procter LLP, the ability to effectively research legal options and write contracts are vital to our success as a firm. Talk about your ability to excel in the

      With local and state laws being so unique in real estate, the need to effectively learn and research the laws couples with the need to be able to write effective deeds and contracts. To prove your worth to Goodwin Procter LLP, talk about your experience in working in real estate law as it applies to both research and writing and be sure to talk about a specific example where you were able to customize/personalize a deed or contract based on your abilities.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having practiced in Oregon for the last eight years, I worked with many clients on the local Homestead laws and last year I worked with a family in a unique situation after the father had passed away. Facing some financial trouble from many avenues, I recommended that the family first focus on debts surrounding their property and mortgage as financing on the home and property were not a part of the Homestead exemption. I researched the best way for them to claim the exemption when creditors were coming for their home and the family was really held together in the end by their ability to keep their home and property."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having worked as a Paralegal on the real estate side for a few years now, I have a wealth of experience in drafting purchase agreements, title documents and mortgage documents. In my current position, I have to work around a great deal of local and state laws and I fully realize that I would have a steep learning curve of local laws here at Goodwin Procter LLP. If hired for this position, my first goal would be to learn local nuances to contracts and other documents so I could be up and running as part of the team as quick as possible."

  5. 5.

    What in particular about our firm here at Goodwin Procter LLP interests you both personally and professionally?

      Goodwin Procter LLP and your interviewer are looking to find the perfect match for the position that you are interviewing for and to do this, they are looking to hear firsthand what truly interests you in the firm. Be sure to do your research on Goodwin Procter LLP and be able to speak about an aspect or two that appeals to you both personally and professionally. Putting a personal touch on your answer will help your interviewer understand that you will be invested into your job and be more likely to stay for the long haul versus your competition for the position.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As I've been searching for the right firm to join, the one aspect about Goodwin Procter LLP that really appeals to me is your international exposure and client base. My background and strong Spanish speaking skills could be a great asset to your firm and my desire to practice in international tax and corporate law would fit very well with what you are looking for."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In all honesty, this position is the only one that would pull me away from my current practice and that drawing factor that you have here at Goodwin Procter LLP is your reputation. The class, dignity and knowledge that are present among the staff here is world class and definitely a practice that I would take great pride in being a part of."

  6. 6.

    What are some of the key components that you would advise clients here at Goodwin Procter LLP to include in their employee handbook?

      Employment law requires some working knowledge of the ins and outs of a functional employee handbook and your potential role at Goodwin Procter LLP may find you advising clients on edits to their handbook or creating a new one. For your answer, speak to the legal aspects of what should to be included in an employee handbook to help protect employers from legal action against their employees.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "While federal law doesn't require employers to have a formalized handbook for their employees, I will always advise clients to create a handbook for existing staff and new hires that is available in both hard copy and electronic versions for easy access. The first key area I will focus on is a section for local, state and federal fair labor laws and this section of the handbook also includes collective bargaining agreements, when applicable. The next sections, often the most important to protect against legal action down the road, include things like at-will employment clause, FMLA, EEO, drug free workplace policy and time and attendance policies. Throughout my career, I've helped many employers create new and highly functional handbooks and consider myself a great resource in this area."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "While the standard legal issues surrounding attendance, leaves of absence and benefits are fairly standard in today's age, my inspection of existing handbooks really tries to nail down overly broad statements that can cause legal issues for organizations. A great example of this was with a client a couple of years ago that had a policy prohibiting photos or videos being taken by employees during their work hours. Their broadly painted policy in the handbook didn't get to the root cause of the issue: no cameras or video recording devices were allowed on premise. I helped them rewrite the policy to include this language and also added additional language on prohibited phone usage during work."

  7. 7.

    We have a wide range of services at Goodwin Procter LLP. What services are you familiar with and which services interest you professionally?

      The interviewer wants to know that you are well aware of the services offered at Goodwin Procter LLP. Have you used them previously or worked with anyone professionally from there? Discuss with the interviewer any exposure you have had to the company. Keep your response positive and lighthearted.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current position, I have worked closely with a couple of your paralegals on some cases we were coordinating on. As we talked and got to know each other more, I got a great sense of personal well-being and happiness from both of these people and they were really my inspiration to apply for this position. As you can see from my resume, most of my experience as a paralegal is in the corporate tax and employment law sectors. If hired for this position, you can consider me an open book to expanding my knowledge base and branching out from there as well."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "With such a reputable name in the technology industry, Goodwin Procter LLP is certainly one of my top choices as I pursue a practice out of law school. I have an interest in working with new and upstart clients on IPO's and my clerkship and most of my internship time has been spent working with some great attorneys in this area, which further boosted my interest."

  8. 8.

    Who is your hero/heroine?

      This question is a simple way for your interviewer to gain insight into the values that you respect and aspire to achieve in others that you work with. Prior to your interview, put some thought into who you consider your hero/heroine to be and make sure to put emphasis on the why you see them in that light. If possible, be sure to point out qualities that would help make you successful in the role that you are interviewing for.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From a very young age, my grandmother has always been my inspiration as a person who is driven to succeed both personally and professionally. Knowing that she raised a family of six children while working around the farm to help out my grandfather always put a smile on my face and motivated me to work hard during my life. When my uncle and aunt passed away in a tragic car accident, she took in their two children at the age of 65 and raised them all the way through high school and into college. Her open heart, will and determination were definitely passed on to me and I bring those attributes to work each and every day!"

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "For the last ten years, I've considered Dr. Anderson from the University I attended to be my hero. He was truly the inspiration for my pursuit of a career in law. He taught me about the knowledge and dedication necessary to be successful in this field and also how to be a caring and compassionate person when working with people from all age, race and social classes in this field."

  9. 9.

    Here at Goodwin Procter LLP, carefully analyzing the cases of our clients is of utmost importance. What analytical skills would you bring to the team here?

      To be successful in the field of law and helping to achieve the best outcomes for clients, an analytical and evaluative mind are extremely important. To cut right to the chase, your interviewer will be looking to hear about the skills and experiences you have in analyzing data to come to reasonable and logical conclusions for both Goodwin Procter LLP and their clients. If possible, give a real world example or two where you put your analytical skills to good use.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "My analytical skills as a successful attorney start with my ability to see everything from a 10,000-foot perspective and then putting together all of the pieces of the puzzle to build the best case possible for my clients. A recent success story happened a couple of months ago with a client that was going through a very complicated workers compensation claim that was ultimately denied by the employer. By gathering all of the information I could from my client, medical records and from the employer, I was able to use my working knowledge of workers compensation laws in my home state to win the case for my client."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having been a paralegal in a personal injury settlement firm for the last three years, my analytical skills have been vital in working with the Attorneys in the firm. I'm relied upon to identify and evaluate the key factors in each case that I work on. From there, my analytical skills come through with my working knowledge of the law in this state to pull the necessary information for our Attorneys and leave out the irrelevant information. In looking to make the move to Goodwin Procter LLP, I understand there will be some learning curve to expand my knowledge outside of personal injury settlements and I would work hard to build that knowledge and let my analytical and logic skills take over."

  10. 10.

    Have you been involved in a corporate tax audit before? What did you learn from that experience?

      Goodwin Procter LLP is often called upon for their legal guidance when a business is facing a tax audit. For this question, your interviewer is looking to see if you have experience working under IRS audit conditions and to hear what vital information you could bring to the team if hired. If you have experience, talk in detail about the type of organization you represented and what the audit entailed. If you don't have direct experience working with an IRS audit, talk about your working knowledge of the audit process and what your role would be in that.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Two years ago, I represented a small business that retained my firm after being notified of an audit. From the start, it was pretty easy to understand that the business owner had failed to report some pretty significant chunks of business income based on records that weren't reported. When it appeared like the IRS was poised to bring in their criminal investigation team, I worked with the client and the auditor to negotiate the standard settlement of interest on missed payment plus a 20% penalty. The client was extremely pleased to avoid potential stricter penalties and learned some important lessons moving forward with their business."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Two years ago, I was brought in to a very large, well known corporation that was receiving a tax audit from the IRS. While knowing that the accounting and finance procedures of the organization were spot on, my role was mainly to fully prepare them for the field audit that was happening in two weeks. Knowing the audit process well and reading the request from IRS, I was able to work with them on preparation for the field meeting in having all documentation prepared and being ready for any form of questions the auditors would bring. On the day of the audit, I was onsite representing the team and audit went very well."

  11. 11.

    Some of our business here at Goodwin Procter LLP is representing companies in collective bargaining agreements. What experience in the collective bargaining process would you bring to the team here?

      Unionization throughout many industries has brought forth the need for employment attorneys to assist in representing organization's at the bargaining table. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear what experience you have in this realm so be prepared to talk in detail about the important and necessary aspects for helping the organization you are representing to meet all of their business objectives during the negotiation. Talk about the importance of communication and fact finding in your answer to demonstrate that you will bring those qualities to the organizations that you will represent.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During my years of practice out in California, I represented employers at the negotiating table with large unions like the SEIU and UNITE. Through any negotiation, my first order of business with my clients was to sit down with management to discuss goals and then to draft proposals to the union that met all of the goals of the organization. Ahead of negotiation, we made a plan for prioritizing the goals in the case any concessions were necessary to gain ground elsewhere. Having this plan always helped in coming to a winning deal for the organization that the union was also happy with. During bargaining, you'll find that I am a forthright and demonstrative communicator with business leaders and clients that I would be representing."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Choosing to specialize in the realm of employment law came because of my passion for the collective bargaining process, to help find win-win situations for both employers and employees. As we've discussed, I have experience representing both the union side and company side of negotiations and this has provided me a very well-rounded experience. In particular, I am a unique fit for this job because of the work that I've done with a large union group like the United Automobile Workers. Seeing the perspective and tactics of a large group like them has positioned me to better suit employers moving forward and I would look forward to that opportunity here at Goodwin Procter LLP."

  12. 12.

    To better help serve our diverse client base here at Goodwin Procter LLP, do you have an area of sub-specialization that you would prefer to focus on if hired?

      Administrative and regulatory law spans a wide spectrum of industries and focuses in the legal aspect and for this question, your interviewer will be looking to find out where your strengths are and what clients you would best be suited to represent. Prior to your interview, make sure you do your homework on Goodwin Procter LLP to be able to highlight your skills and interests that best suit their needs. Don't be afraid to talk about your personal motivations for sub-specializing to really highlight your interests to your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "After practicing in a pretty general matter as an Administrative Attorney for several years following law school, my passion has always steered towards working with businesses on environmental protection laws. As you can see from my experience, I have worked with many large manufacturing organizations along the west coast in the states of Oregon and Washington. My passion for this section of the trade really stems from my inner desire to do what is right for the earth. Being an advocate for the law and potential healthy changes to the law not only benefits my clients, but also future generations that will follow in our footsteps."

  13. 13.

    If hired here at Goodwin Procter LLP, how would you best build trusting relationships with our clients?

      The law firm/client relationship is built upon trust and your interviewer at Goodwin Procter LLP knows how important building trusting relationships is to the success of both the firm and the client. For you, it is important to understand and demonstrate that a trusting relationship helps open lines of communication and increases cooperation of the client in helping build cases. Talk about your own personal attributes and how they help foster and build trust with the clients you would be working with and reiterate to your interviewer why you believe trust is such an important factor in the relationships you will have with clients.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "For clients that I personally work with, a trustful relationship is the number one priority for me to show my clients that I care about them and that I am invested in the best possible outcome for them. To help build trust from the start, communication is key. I actively listen to them and show respect for their thoughts and opinions. If I disagree with them on anything, I do so professionally and tactfully while educating them on my thoughts. From there, I am quick with my decision making and setting of goals with clients and this greatly helps them trust me and us moving forward as a team."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having worked as a Paralegal in a large firm, I've always tried to put a personal touch on my work with clients by showing them they are a top priority for me. I keep very detailed files on clients and have the ability to talk to them about their personal cases. As well, I stay in continuous communication with my clients and help set expectations for them regarding what they can anticipate from me and their attorney. All of these things are vital to my clients placing their trust in me and my firm and I'd look to bring these qualities to the team here at Goodwin Procter LLP."

  14. 14.

    Talk about the most difficult work situation you have found yourself in and explain how you used sound judgement to find a great outcome?

      During your training and through your career up to this point, you have certainly faced some difficult situations that you could easily discuss with your interviewer. But your interviewer isn't so much interested in the situation here as they are in your ability to think on your feet and use your best personal judgement to make the situation better. In the example you give, be sure to prepare for a time where you can exemplify this ability with success.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Early in my career as a litigator for a large firm that handled criminal defense cases, I was slammed with a very large caseload almost always. In the months leading up to the Christmas period, I had three high profile trials that were all progressing to dates that would fall very near each other. After motioning to have some of the cases moved around with no leniency from the court, I had to think fast and work ahead as much as possible to ensure that all three cases were handled to the best of my ability. When crunch time came, I approached a colleague and their paralegal for all of the help I could get and they willingly obliged. With all three cases heading to trial without a hitch, I was very thankful for my resourcefulness and made sure to pay the favor back to my colleague the next time he needed it!"

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "During my time arbitrating employment disputes for the state of California and mostly handling unemployment cases, I encountered one particularly difficult situation where things got physical in the conference room of the county workforce resource center. My cases mostly involved disputes when companies would fight the payment of unemployment benefits based on malfeasance of the employee. During one particular case, a tow truck company was disputing a claim by a terminated employee and during arbitration, the supervisor from the company accused the terminated employee of harassing other employees and creating a fearful work environment. With that said, the terminated employee reached over the table and grabbed the supervisor by the collar of his shirt and started swinging. Being a female that is small in stature, my first instinct was to run and grab a member of the building's security team and they reacted quickly. When matters had settled, I immediately postponed the hearing and warned both parties that security would be present in a week when we met again. A final warning to the terminated employee was to let him know that charges would be pressed if any outbursts should occur the next time."

  15. 15.

    Employment law often involves deep human emotion when bonds are supposedly broken between employee and employer. How do you separate your personal feelings and emotions when involved with a case?

      This question gets to the root of your ability to keep your own personal feelings and biases out of your work while working to the letter of the law in what is best for your clients. In the practice of employment law, you have been involved with cases that have involved potential injustice to the rights of workers and/or employers and you need to stress your ability to keep your own thoughts and feelings separate from your work. The best way to do so is through an example or two of a case that you worked on.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Recently, I was consulting a large employer that was moving forward with a mass layoff and part of my role was to ensure that the organization was selecting the right employees to layoff based on performance records. I spent many days reviewing performance reviews, improvement plans and disciplinary actions and my own personal thought was that the employer was really an organization filled with high performing people. While in my heart I felt for the employees that would soon be out of work, my duty to the organization was to help them take the best action legally and I did just that through a thorough and well documented process. If hired here at Goodwin Procter LLP, I will bring the ability to remain focused on the best interest of your clients at all times."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As part of my pursuit of my law degree, I received great advice to train in emotional intelligence and the training I received has both helped me be able to relate to and recognize the emotions of other and also to recognize and control my own emotions in the legal setting. A couple of years ago, I was representing an employer that was facing a wrongful termination lawsuit. During the discovery period, quite an extensive list of emails that included discriminatory remarks and harassment toward the terminated employee surfaced. I knew that the emails were certainly wrong and made me personally feel horrible for the employee, I was still able to focus on my representation of the organization and proceeding through the case ethically and professionally."

  16. 16.

    Talk about a time your ethics were challenged on the job. How do you react to those situations in the legal profession?

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  17. 17.

    What Supreme Court ruling have you disagreed with and why?

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  18. 18.

    To ensure that our clients here at Goodwin Procter LLP are served in the best way possible, our staff must ensure that they are up to speed on all state and federal laws. How do you stay in touch with changes to local, state and federal tax laws?

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  19. 19.

    Where do you feel you could use some improvement in the litigation/arbitration process at this point in your career?

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  20. 20.

    What do you feel is the most important skill that you possess that makes you effective in the litigation/arbitration process?

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  21. 21.

    What drew you to an interest in pursuing a career in real estate law? What excites you each day to be successful in this area?

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  22. 22.

    Talk about a recent time on the job you were working under pressure or stress. How did you cope with that situation and ensure everything was handled smoothly?

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  23. 23.

    At Goodwin Procter LLP, employee satisfaction is very important. To ensure that you would be happy here, what brings you satisfaction in your day to day work?

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  24. 24.

    What do you feel are the key qualities that a great attorney should have?

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  25. 25.

    Here at Goodwin Procter LLP, we often have to work with very difficult clients. What would be your steps toward effectively working with a difficult client?

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  26. 26.

    What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?

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  27. 27.

    What would make you a great trial advocate if you were to join the team here at Goodwin Procter LLP?

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  28. 28.

    One common legal aspect that we work closely on with clients here at Goodwin Procter LLP is zoning for large scale construction and/or purchases. What experience do you have in working with local zoning laws?

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