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Polsinelli Interview
Questions

26 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 26

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

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Polsinelli Interview Questions

  1. 1.

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

      Whether you've worked with large organizations or private individuals throughout your career, knowing and consulting on local zoning laws is an important aspect of real estate law and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are knowledgeable and experienced in this area of the law. Talk in detail about the experience you have working in zoning and don't hesitate to bring up a success story you may have in advising a client on zoning laws.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Being well versed in Illinois zoning laws and those in particular around the suburbs of Chicago, I worked with a very large manufacturing company a couple of years ago on applying for a change in zoning for them to build a large distribution center in a development that was originally zoned for residential housing. Being that it had been years since the first two houses built had been sold, our argument of adding significant jobs to the area and the potential to bring more business to the area was a real no-brainer for the city. During the meeting to review, I was very pleased when all of our hard work had paid off and the city rezoned the area and ground was broken just months later for the company."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I think a unique part of my career that makes me a great fit here at Polsinelli is my experience working with clients and local boards of zoning appeals. As you can see from my resume and experience, I have spent time practicing in California and I worked with several Temecula Valley wineries on obtaining proper zoning for their vineyards through the local boards of appeals. I put together facts and helped write new zoning for the wineries that met both the needs of my clients and the counties to promote true win-win situations for all."

  2. 2.

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

      While this may seem like the age old question of pointing out your biggest weakness, it is important for you to see this question as more of an opportunity to point out where you may have some inexperience or deficiencies. This gives you the ability to talk about personal growth in your career and what you have done or would like to do to grow professionally in this area.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having come out of law school and began in a high stress, high case load environment for the past six years, I haven't been able to really hone in on and craft my time management skills to the point I would like to. I most often relied on our paralegals and office secretary to keep me organized when things were busy. Coming to this role with Polsinelli, I would look to learn from others about their best methods for time management without relying on the assistance of others."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As you can see from my experience on my resume, a majority of my litigation experience has come in the area of labor laws, work comp and FMLA. Now, I am at a point in my career where I'd love to branch out and hone my skills in other areas that interest me and I believe that opportunity exists for me here at Polsinelli. In talking with some of your colleagues here, I'd love to take on and be a part of cases that involve the environment and energy."

  3. 3.

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

      Polsinelli 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."

  4. 4.

    To be successful here at Polsinelli, we want to ensure that you are motivated each and every day on the job with our clients. What drew you to working with patent and trademark law?

      At the heart of this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear what your personal motivation was to pursue a legal career working with patents, trademarks, copyrights and/or trade dress. Whether your drive stemmed from a background and passion in science or the firm belief in artists/inventors/creators owning their own work, be sure to speak passionately about your pursuit of work in this field and leave your interviewer convinced that you are ready to come to work everyday at Polsinelli to best represent their clients.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "While I always knew that law school was in my future from the start of high school, I always had a passion for the sciences like chemistry and physics. This naturally led to a legal career in intellectual property. Out of law school, I had the chance to represent one of the large electronics manufacturers here in the United States and helped them patent many great technologies that have shaped the future of entertainment as we know it today. I would look forward to bringing this same skill and motivation to your clients here at Polsinelli."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am a firm believer that a person needs to be invested in their work and passionate about their work and I know I have found that in working in intellectual property law. Growing up, my parents were artists and since I've been working in the small boutique firm setting, I've been able to work closely with artists, musicians and filmmakers in their pursuit of copyrights and trademarks. As I look to move on to a place like Polsinelli, I've developed and honed my skills to take on bigger clients in their pursuits and am ready for the challenge here."

  5. 5.

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

      For this question, your interviewer is really giving you the chance to highlight your own qualities that you feel you could bring to the success of the team at Polsinelli. They know that many qualities make a great attorney and are looking to hear what you feel your best attributes are. Speak passionately about the qualities that you will bring to the team at Polsinelli and explain why they are important to success.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "To me, the key qualities of a great attorney are research skills, analytical skills and people skills and I bring these attributes every day to my work. The passion for this career really stemmed from my ability to be analytical and a passion for law and further research into our changing world has helped build my success to this point. In now looking to focus my practice more in the corporate world with Polsinelli, my research and analytical skills would help to build your practice to new heights and I'd greatly look forward to the opportunity to showcase the qualities here."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to have worked with an array of very talented and inspirational attorneys. As I've analyzed their work, I've found that a common thread between the best attorneys has been their creativity and their sound judgement skills under pressure. Creativity to find new solutions for clients and think outside the box when necessary comes naturally to me in my work and I'd look forward to bringing this quality to the clients here at Polsinelli."

  6. 6.

    When we look for diligent and effective people to join our real estate law team here at Polsinelli, 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 these areas.

      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 Polsinelli, 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 Polsinelli. 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."

  7. 7.

    Talk about a creative way that you helped ease the tax burden for a business during your career. How did you help put this process into place?

      Modern corporate tax law allows organizations a lot of personal freedom to change the ways they do business to help lessen their taxes on a year to year basis. Your role with Polsinelli could potentially entail you working with clients to find creative solutions to their tax issues and to get a better sense of how you would do this, your interviewer is looking to judge off of a prior example from your career. If you are new to the field or young in your career, it is okay to speak from the hypothetical 'what you would do' scenario.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my time working in private practice, a majority of my clients were running and operating small businesses and this client base was very vulnerable to heavy tax burdens. But fortunately, they were also open to the most lenient ways to be creative with their finances and process to help ease their tax burden. With a client a couple of years ago, I helped evaluate their situation of hiring seasonal employees and employees full-time that were laid off at certain times of the year. In the evaluation, it proved to be extremely more cost-effective to hire most employees as contractors to help lessen costs like Social Security and Medicare taxes while also making sense from their business perspective as well. I helped this client set up all necessary paperwork and processes for hiring contracted help moving forward in the future."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "With a large corporate client last year, I helped lead the educational side of training their finance staff to find deductions for depreciation of their equipment. Being a large manufacturer with a great deal of investment in capital equipment, they were missing out on this key loophole to corporate tax law and my education and insight helped them see a huge tax savings for that year."

  8. 8.

    Working with clients here at Polsinelli 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 Polsinelli 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 Polsinelli, you will quickly find that my business experience and acumen will make me a key player on the team here."

  9. 9.

    Do you have any experience in working with tenancy and leasing laws?

      Whether commercial or residential, many property owners look to Polsinelli to help draft lease agreements and your interviewer will be looking to hear firsthand about the experience you have in this realm of the law. Talk to your interviewer about the importance of factoring in local and state laws in all lease agreements and speak to your experience in representing clients in this area.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During my time working for XYZ Law Firm in Dallas, I helped draft lease agreements for large scale property ownership groups that were leasing residential apartments and condos in the city. As the paralegal representing the real estate team, it was my job to know and include Texas' legal obligation of landlords to return security deposits within 30 days of lease termination. I also worked directly with clients on some of the fine details of the agreement that included due dates for rent, procedures for requesting maintenance and pet policies."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "A significant part of my practice while in Colorado was working with commercial developers who were leasing both office and retail space in the heavily growing areas of the state. In drafting commercial lease agreements, I became very well versed in working with local zoning laws to include minute details in the agreements that obeyed local law to protect my clients. A great example of this was including details of number of parking spots designated under each lease and business hours permitted by local law."

  10. 10.

    What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?

      While this question can be a pretty standard interview question, the motivation of the interviewer here is two-fold. First, law firms can often operate like a family and life at Polsinelli is no different. Your interviewer will be looking to see if you will be a cultural and personal fit with the team so be sure to be open and honest with what personally interests you. Second, having personal interests that tie into the organization is important so be sure to do your research on Polsinelli and the job and try to think of hobbies of your that directly relate to them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "My biggest passion when I'm not advocating for clients is being outdoors. My family and I are avid hikers, kayakers and bikers and we spend all of the time we can in the great outdoors. For me personally, being outside really helps me re-energize and prepare for a new day ahead on the job. Other than being outside, another hobby of mine is reading and I've been very entranced lately in historical books about the drafting of the United States Constitution."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Outside of work, my loves in my life are my family and personal fitness. I avidly participate in running and biking events and have recently been training to run my first marathon this upcoming summer. Family interests include athletics for my two sons, who actively participate in baseball, cross country and basketball. We spend many evenings and weekends traveling around the state to watch them and cheer them on and I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything in the world."

  11. 11.

    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?

      For this question, your interviewer is really looking for your own personal motivation to be successful in your career choice. Be sure to hit on the skills and abilities that you possess that make you successful in real estate law while also reiterating that you are easily motivated each and every day on the job. Both Polsinelli and their clients will depend on your ability to do so.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Going to law school as really an open book and looking to find my niche, real estate law was very easy for me to gravitate to because of my ability to be detailed in contracts and agreements while upholding the letter of the law. I also really loved the opportunity to work with very high profile clients on helping their businesses succeed through new land purchases. Still being pretty young in my career, my main motivator are my clients that I represent and they are truly the only need I have to be motivated for success in my work."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Growing up, I watched my mother thrive as a real estate agent in my hometown and she motivated me to pursue a license to sell property while attending school for my undergraduate degree. As I sold some homes and realized my knack in the field, may passion for large scale transactions was really my main motivator to pursue a law degree and eventually practice in real estate law. To this day, nothing excites me more than working with a client on a successful transaction."

  12. 12.

    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 Polsinelli, 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."

  13. 13.

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

      With the varying landscape of the legal field and the variety of firms that are out there, your interviewer at Polsinelli will be looking to make sure that you are a good fit the position by having you talk about what brings you joy in your work. By doing your research on Polsinelli and the job you are interviewing for ahead of your interview, you should be able to be open and honest about what makes you happy in your work while ensuring that your satisfaction factors match what Polsinelli can offer with this job.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I've read the studies and surveys about job satisfaction being the lowest among attorneys in the United States when compared to all other jobs and I'm a firm believer that many people in this field have chased the dream for wrong reasons like money and prestige. I pursued a career in law to help fight and advocate for clients where no one else can and that is what drives me to succeed and brings me here to this interview with Polsinelli. Employment law has developed into a passion and I greatly looking forward to focusing on that aspect here in the future."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my five years working as a Paralegal, the litigation side of the business has definitely been the most intriguing and fun for me and that is the reason I applied for this position. I am very good at the investigative part of the pre-claim process and I have a lot of experience and success in interviewing witnesses and taking statements. This work is both gratifying and exciting for me and you'll find that I excel in these areas if you select me for this position."

  14. 14.

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

      The decision to work for Polsinelli will put you in the middle of a team of very experienced and dedicated individuals who strive to succeed when cases go to trial. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear what your key qualities, traits and/or experiences are that will make you key player on their team for their clients. This question gives you the opportunity to talk yourself and your abilities up a bit, so be sure to prepare to speak about what sets you apart from your competition for this position.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Looking back on my career up to this point, I can honestly say that a a great deal of my success in working with clients and winning cases has stemmed from my interpersonal skills. I have a charming and likable demeanor when I am speaking in front of people and this plays very well with jurors. I also have the ability to analyze the body language and tone of people when I am cross examining to be able to ask the right questions that pull as much information as possible. When in front of the judge and jury, I feel right at home and I won't hesitate to send you footage from some high profile cases that I have worked if you would like."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If hired to join the team here at Polsinelli, my experience preparing subpoenas and evaluating jurors would prove to be vital to your attorneys. I would bring superior organization skills and analytical skills to your cases going to trial and you can rest assured knowing that I can be tasked with any duties surrounding cases with little oversight."

  15. 15.

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

      Clients going through the legal process can often be at their worst and for this question, your interviewer is looking to see how you specifically deal with clients that are difficult. Rather than focusing your answer on the details of the client in your example, highlight your techniques and qualities that make you effective in working with and handling difficult clients. Stress the importance of putting clients in this situation at ease to be able to move forward in a seamless working relationship.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Throughout my career to this point, I've worked with many clients that were experiencing a very difficult time and this has often translated into them being angry or sad. In these times, my ability to keep a level head and to be able to empathize with them is key to helping them get more centered in the moment. I hear them out and reflect back their feelings to show them that I care about their situation and understand what they are going through. When this sinks in with them, they are able to move forward from their feelings and start talking about the fine details of their situation."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "With clients that are feeling stressed and angry about their situation, it is important for me to be as respectful and educational as possible and my tactic for doing this is to keep them focused on the future and moving forward rather than reflecting on their unfortunate situation the brings them to me. I always focus on their options moving forward and how I will work with them to achieve the best results possible and this always helps shift their focus to moving forward. This is vital to resetting their focus and changing their attitude towards hope rather than anger."

  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.

    How did you maintain a good relationship with your most recent boss?

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  19. 19.

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

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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 experience do you have in working with large scale construction companies on state and federal regulations? Would this be an area that would interest you?

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  22. 22.

    We value diversity at Polsinelli. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people?

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  23. 23.

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

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  24. 24.

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

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  25. 25.

    What do you consider to be the most difficult case or project you have worked on during your career?

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  26. 26.

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

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