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Watson, Farley & Williams LLP Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner
Published June 1st, 2019 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Companies     Talent     Commercial Services    

Question 1 of 27

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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Interview Questions

1.

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?

Working in the legal field and potentially in the future with Watson, Farley & Williams LLP will require a natural ability to think and act quickly when face with adversity. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear about that you had to do just so. In your answer, paint a clear picture of the situation that you were faced with and describe what it took for you to think and act quickly. In the end, make sure that great results were achieved due to your ability to think on your feet and react in a positive manner.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Last year, I was defending what I thought was a routine DUI case that we had prepared to help my client proceed to trial on. During the arrest, local law enforcement had failed to both read her Miranda Rights to her and also promptly test blood alcohol content. I felt we had a pretty slam dunk case to get the charges dropped. When in questioning though, my client began admitting her guilt and also confessing to being under the influence of other narcotics as well at the time. In a last ditch effort to protect my client, I immediately asked the judge for a delay in proceedings. It was allowed, but only after questioning had finished. At that point, my client read the writing on the wall that she was obviously saying too much and she quieted down from there during questioning. Coming back from break, I proceeded to break down the facts that the county had failed to show proof of intoxication at the time of arrest and the charges were later dropped."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Early in my career as a Paralegal, I had a very upset client come into our office demanding that he speak to his attorney immediately. Being the only person manning the front of the office that day and knowing that his attorney was out of office that day, I calmly asked the client to explain the need for meeting with his attorney and assured him that I would get any messages to the attorney. While the client continued with his questions and concerns in a very heated tone, I reflectively listened and empathized with what they were going through to the point where he eventually calmed down and asked great questions for advice. In the end, I was able to connect the two later that day and likely could've helped diffuse a potentially bad situation with my ability to stay calm and empathetic with the individual."

2.

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

A large firm like Watson, Farley & Williams 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP."

3.

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 #1

"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 #2

"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."

4.

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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP. 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."

5.

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

This is a twofold question where your interviewer is allowing you to talk about what you feel your best skills is as a litigator and/or arbitrator as well as letting you talk about what you feel is the most important quality of someone who is successful at trial or arbitration. Speak to your top strength and prove that it is vital to your success by using a specific example of a time that you've put it to use on the job.

Ryan's Answer #1

"Really my number one reason for pursuing a career in law has turned out to be what has made me the most successful I could be in my career and that is my verbal communication skills. In the courtroom setting, my persuasive skills come from a concise and logical place and this sits well with judges and juries alike. My communications skills extend to an innate ability to listen attentively and be witty enough to ask great follow up questions during cross examination."

Ryan's Answer #2

"If I am lucky enough to be hired here at Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, you'll quickly find that my attention to detail makes me stand out from any other paralegal you have had on staff here. During the pre-trial process, I spend the extra time to dig for information that can help my firm win their case and any of the attorneys that I've worked alongside during my career would be willing to tell you that as well. Last year, I was researching a case and my close inspection of police reports noticed a blatant error made by officers during the arrest of a client. This was enough to have all charges dropped and put a big win on the books for our firm."

6.

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

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 Watson, Farley & Williams 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 Watson, Farley & Williams 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."

7.

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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP 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."

8.

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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP 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."

9.

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

10.

At Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP. 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."

11.

What would make you a great trial advocate if you were to join the team here at Watson, Farley & Williams LLP?

The decision to work for Watson, Farley & Williams 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 #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 Watson, Farley & Williams 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."

12.

If hired here at Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, how would you best build trusting relationships with our clients?

The law firm/client relationship is built upon trust and your interviewer at Watson, Farley & Williams 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 Watson, Farley & Williams LLP."

13.

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."

14.

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 Watson, Farley & Williams 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."

15.

How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?

When you feel torn between multiple projects or tasks, how do you decide which one needs your attention the most? Assure the interviewer that you can be diligent when it comes to assessing your priorities through a process of assessing your workload and ranking the overall importance of each client and/or cas.

Ryan's Answer #1

"I will determine which project requires my attention by the number of hours we are behind and then the case size. I am comfortable delegating tasks when needed, but I am also aware that these times will require an additional commitment of hours from me. Never have I under delivered on a deadline."

Ryan's Answer #2

"Assuming that the projects have different stakeholders, I take time to speak to each stakeholder to determine the value of increased productivity, morale or revenue, decreased costs, and the overall impact. Our world can be hectic at times and the need to stay calm, cool and collected is vital to the success of my firm. If hired for this position, you'll find that I have an impeccable ability to stay calm yet focused when the going gets tough on the job."

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Behavioral
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Phone
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