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Reed Smith LLP Interview
Questions

27 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 27

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

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Reed Smith LLP Interview Questions

  1. 1.

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

      The decision to work for Reed Smith LLP 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

      "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

      "If hired to join the team here at Reed Smith LLP, 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."

  2. 2.

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

      The legal field in general unfortunately will always provide ethical challenges for those that work in the field and life is no different at Reed Smith LLP. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are able to separate your own personal ethical standards from business matters by having you cite an example where you had to do this. In your answer, talk about the situation and even feel free to talk about why you were challenged ethically in that situation. In the end, make sure that your interviewer sees that you have the ability to separate personal feelings from your job.

      Ryan's Answer

      "During my career, there have been a few times where the attorney-client privilege has certainly tested my personal beliefs and opinions but I always keep level headed and focused on the rights of my client. In this business, the client is priority number one and this was most tested when I had a client that was being held on a string of charges, the worst in my mind being child neglect. During our initial conversation in the jail, she admitted to going on long drug binges and failing to feed her children and bathing them properly. Being a parent and a caring person, these accounts were extremely hard to hear first hand from someone. Hearing her rationalize her actions towards her children was making me extremely mad on the inside, but I had to and did remain focused on gathering the facts from her and proceeding forward."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Last year, our firm was handling the defendant's case of a very high profile case in our city. While I have known that this would one day happen with the sudden prominence of social media, I noticed many family, friends and community members were posting incorrect facts about the case and the rumor mill was certainly starting to spread around town. Being a part of the discovery of the case, I knew that most of the rumors just weren't true. As much as I wanted to correct people, I had to maintain strict confidentiality and wait for the facts to play out at trial."

  3. 3.

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

      A large firm like Reed Smith 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

      "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

      "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 Reed Smith LLP."

  4. 4.

    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

      "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

      "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."

  5. 5.

    To better help serve our diverse client base here at Reed Smith 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 Reed Smith 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."

  6. 6.

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

      With this question, your interviewer is not just looking to hear what you felt was the most difficult case or project you have worked on during your career to this point. While you should do a good job of painting the picture of what the case entailed, spend as much time as possible in explaining your process for helping facilitate the best outcome possible and the steps you took to get there. Prepare an answer that keep the process as much in mind as the end goal for this question.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Last year I worked on a patent infringement case where we were attempting to prove that the infringement was willful. After reviewing all of the case details with my client's executive, R&D and sales teams, I thought we had a case in that the infringing companies lead R&D Scientist had been formally employed by my client. I assembled a team from the client to help pull any communications and meeting notes that the competing scientist would have been a part of. The planning stage of the product in question had started almost eight years prior and the scientist had left employment six year prior, so there was a two year window that they would have been digging from. With my advice on when to dig and what to look for, the substantial record keeping of a couple of individuals helped prove our case of willful infringement and was a huge win for my client."

      Ryan's Answer

      "With the Supreme Court significantly narrowing the trade dress protections that companies have around their packaging and labeling, I had a difficult case last year with a statewide business that was claiming trademark infringement on their logo by a competing line of convenience stores. When the competitor rebranded their signage and logo in the same color and same font, my client felt they had a legit case for infringement. In court, the burden of proof was on us and I utilized branding experts and consumer feedback on the distinct similarities in the signage and logo. Quickly, a cease and desist was immediately issued to the competitor by the court. What made this case difficult was working within recent Supreme Court rulings that had further defined what could be considered an infringement."

  7. 7.

    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 Reed Smith LLP. Be open and honest with your interviewer as you give them insight into your own personal motivating factors.

      Ryan's Answer

      "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

      "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."

  8. 8.

    One common legal aspect that we work closely on with clients here at Reed Smith LLP 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

      "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

      "I think a unique part of my career that makes me a great fit here at Reed Smith LLP 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."

  9. 9.

    We value accountability at Reed Smith LLP. If a customer sent a formal complaint about an interaction with you, how would you handle it?

      Assure the interviewer that you are a person of integrity who will take responsibility for any shortcomings in the workplace. At Reed Smith LLP, accountability is an essential aspect of providing great service to their clients, so your interviewer will be looking to hear that you take being accountable seriously. Briefly explain to the interviewer that you will handle Reed Smith LLP clients with great care, even when things aren't going perfectly.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I understand that Reed Smith LLP has put a lot of work into building these long-term client relationships. If one of your clients complained about my communication with them, I would take full responsibility for my actions and issue an apology. I would also be open to feedback to avoid future incidences. Rest assured, in my 15 years of employment, I have not had any clients complain to my employer about my work ethic or delivery of service."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Constructive feedback is difficult to swallow at times, but it's helpful for me to remember that everyone receives constructive feedback from time to time. Feedback like this is the most important to me when it comes directly from clients, because they are my number one responsibility at all times in my work. As I look back on my career, I can say that I am where I am at today in my successes because I have the ability to learn from my mistakes and shortcomings and take that information forward to improve as an attorney."

  10. 10.

    At Reed Smith LLP, we deeply value our Pro Bono work and community giving. How do you choose to give back to others?

      As a highly successful law firm, Reed Smith LLP has won many awards for their pro bono work and values giving back to their communities through many great efforts. For this question, your interviewer would like to know that you are socially responsible and a team player - even outside of the workplace. Your answer can be as simple as babysitting your grand-kids every Sunday, to a standing-volunteer gig, to charitable contributions or work you have done pro bono. Prior to interview, be sure to research the firm and their charitable efforts. Commend the interview on any efforts that you hold near and dear to your heart.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I work a lot but, when I do have free time, I like to spend time volunteering at the local YMCA to help children with swimming lessons, fitness classes and tutoring of homework. The future of tomorrow will rely on these children and I find a great amount of personal gratitude in being a positive influence on their lives. I love the fact that Reed Smith LLP puts some great efforts into helping youth around your cities. I'd love to be a part of any efforts that the firm has underway if I'm hired for this position."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Volunteering and charitable acts are important to me and family, both on my own personal time and while on the job. An important aspect of my practice that I'm most proud of is pro bono work for wrongfully imprisoned people. I am proud of three exonerations that stemmed from work that I started and saw through. I was really excited about coming in to speak about this opportunity at Reed Smith LLP right away, but that excitement grew even more as I took the time to read about your pro bono efforts as a firm."

  11. 11.

    To be successful here at Reed Smith LLP, 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 Reed Smith LLP to best represent their clients.

      Ryan's Answer

      "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 Reed Smith LLP."

      Ryan's Answer

      "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 Reed Smith LLP, I've developed and honed my skills to take on bigger clients in their pursuits and am ready for the challenge here."

  12. 12.

    Some of our business here at Reed Smith 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

      "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

      "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 Reed Smith LLP."

  13. 13.

    Here at Reed Smith 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 Reed Smith 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

      "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

      "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 Reed Smith 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."

  14. 14.

    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?

      Regulatory law firms are often called upon to represent large construction companies to ensure that all federal, state and local regulations are being met throughout a project. These companies can range from home building contractors to road construction companies. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear what type of experience you have in the broad area of working with construction outfits. If you don't have direct experience in this area, be sure to talk about some areas of construction regulations that you may have experience in. Example of this could be alternative dispute resolution, OSHA, building codes or insurance.

      Ryan's Answer

      "With my current firm, we represent a couple of large construction companies and my role as a paralegal has me drafting payment agreements, contracts and completing applications for building permits and zoning. If hired for this position, I would be able to hit the ground running as I have familiarity with regulations in the state of New Jersey ."

      Ryan's Answer

      "This area definitely does interest me as I have had a lot of success in both settling cases both outside litigation and with litigation. Last year, I represented a commercial builder in a construction defect lawsuit that went to trial. The work of myself and my firm helped save the builder a large amount of money in a potential lawsuit based strictly on how the contract was written. Seeing it hold up at trial was very satisfying to me professionally."

  15. 15.

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

      Reed Smith 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 Reed Smith 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

      "As I've been searching for the right firm to join, the one aspect about Reed Smith 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

      "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 Reed Smith 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."

  16. 16.

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

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  17. 17.

    Talk about a time that you had to think on your feet on the job. What was the situation and what was your thought process for acting quickly?

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  18. 18.

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

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  19. 19.

    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?

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  20. 20.

    What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?

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  21. 21.

    Working with clients here at Reed Smith 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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  22. 22.

    To ensure that our clients here at Reed Smith 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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  23. 23.

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

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  24. 24.

    When we look for diligent and effective people to join our real estate law team here at Reed Smith 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 these ar

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  25. 25.

    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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  26. 26.

    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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  27. 27.

    Who is your hero/heroine?

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