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Summer Law Clerk Interview

17 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 17

What is your greatest weakness, and what are you doing to improve it?

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Summer Law Clerk Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What is your greatest weakness, and what are you doing to improve it?

      Tell the interviewer your greatest weakness which can nevertheless benefit you in this position.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am sometimes overly independent and incredibly meticulous as I am used to completing projects on my own instead of delegating them, to complete them in a quicker fashion. But throughout my career, I have come to realize that I am working as part of a team of professionals who are as capable as I am and whose perspective can be greatly valuable. As such, I do my best to seek my colleagues' input as much as possible as we are all working to benefit the firm."

  2. 2.

    What is your philosophy towards work?

      The interviewer and the employer are looking for commitment towards the company and work to be performed, and respect toward colleagues, members of the team management team and clients.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I take my work seriously and am committed to performing to be best of my ability. The firm's success is my success. I also value respect and as such, am extremely respectful toward all clients and every single individual at the firm."

  3. 3.

    Tell me about your typical workday. How do you prioritize assignments?

      Tell the interviewer about your organizational and time management skills in a work environment by providing an example of your capabilities.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe excellent organizational skills are essential to successfully perform in a work environment and meet deadlines. For example, in my last position I used a strategic approach by anticipating, and keeping track of, all upcoming deadlines. I used lists to keep track of upcoming duties and a calendar to keep track of upcoming events, that way I know the duties to work on when I get to the office in the morning. I also kept a record of all documentation pertaining to each of these duties, which I updated on a regular basis, to ensure the most up-to-date information was easily accessible, enabling me to be prepared should unanticipated events occur."

  4. 4.

    What are your educational qualifications that would support your application for the position of Summer Law Clerk?

      Ensure to review the job posting before the interview to familiarize yourself with the educational requirements for this role.

      Answer this question by mentioning your degrees and certifications that you have, by putting emphasis on those that are relevant to the position you applied for. Should you hold one or several of the preferred educational
      qualifications listed on the job posting, tell the interviewer you directly meet the educational qualifications, making you a great candidate for this role - and this is an opportunity for the interviewer to see you did your due diligence before the interview. Alternatively, tell the interviewer why you believe your education has prepared you for this role.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I read on your job posting that one of your preferred educational qualifications is a bachelor's degree. As you can see on my resume, I hold a Bachelor's degree in (X) from (X university), granted in (X year). I also have a Certificate in Legal Studies, which I am positive will be highly beneficial in this role as I have developed the required skills throughout my studies."

  5. 5.

    Why do you want to join our firm?

      Answer this question by telling the interviewer what seems great about the firm, e.g., their services, initiatives, growth opportunities, and so on. Make sure to answer by providing evidence that you did your due diligence before the interview (e.g., by mentioning something exciting you saw on the job posting, firm website or social media pages), which demonstrates you are serious about working for this employer specifically and are not simply looking for any job. Link this evidence to your professional goals proving this position was made for you and it is one in which you will excel.

      For instance, you can point to their seemingly friendly firm culture as per some specific programs or initiatives you came across on their website, and say how friendly and how much of a team-player you are - and that this is exactly the type of work environment you are looking for.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I saw on your website that your firm is participating in (X initiative). This is a great initiative contributing to the firm morale by strengthening relationships while giving back to the community. I also always seek the opportunity to develop my team playing skills and hope to work with colleagues I will consider family."

  6. 6.

    What is your greatest strength, and how will it help you as a Summer Law Clerk?

      Answer by telling the interviewer what your greatest strength is, related to the position you applied for. Ensure to mention how this strength will contribute to your success as a Summer Law Clerk.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My greatest strength is that I am extremely dedicated. For instance, while employed for (X employer) as a (X position title), I (X further information on your past experience demonstrating your dedication to your work, relevant to the job posting)."

  7. 7.

    What do you know about our firm?

      Tell the interviewer about your knowledge of the firm you applied for. It is imperative to always conduct your due diligence before an interview by reviewing the job description, firm website and social media pages to familiarize yourself with the firm and work involved. It is also important to show the interviewer you did not apply to the advertised position simply because you are looking for just any job, but that you wish to work for this firm specifically.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I reviewed the job description and website before this interview and know you are a firm specializing in (X services you noticed on the firm website). I am particularly excited about (X programs/initiatives) that I saw on your (website/social media pages) as I (X reasons you are excited about these programs/initiatives, such as passion or similar initiatives undertaken in school or volunteer capacity)."

  8. 8.

    How do you evaluate success in your work?

      Answer this question by mentioning what constitutes success for you, such as meeting all deadlines, being recognized as a team player by your employer, and so on. Do not mention monetary incentives. The objective is to show the interviewer you wish to grow as a professional, not simply be rewarded monetarily.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Success is meeting my daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals and being recognized as a hardworking professional by my employer. The firm's success is my success. I also value becoming the best in my field."

  9. 9.

    How do you react to stressful situations in the workplace, such as tight deadlines and a change in client priorities?

      Tell the interviewer what you do to handle situations calmly despite the high stress level by providing an example to support your position.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In stressful situations, I always remain calm and look for ways to be more efficient. For instance, if there is an unexpected deadline, I will determine what can be done to ensure the deadline can be met, I will write down the steps to take to ensure successful completion and will delegate a few tasks if necessary. In brief, I am always ready to adjust my approach because stressful situations are bound to occur in a professional environment."

  10. 10.

    What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?

      Tell the interviewer about a past situation you have considered the most challenging, preferably related to the position you applied for, e.g., similar firm or industry. If you do not have experience related to the position you applied for, mention a difficult situation related to any position/capacity, which could nevertheless be relevant in the capacity of a Summer Law Clerk.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The most difficult situation I have had to face was (X difficult situation preferably related to the position you applied for). It was difficult because (X reasons contributing to the difficulty of the situation, and how you nevertheless successfully completed the project or found a successful resolution)."

  11. 11.

    Tell me about a time when you were trusted with confidential information.

      Provide an example of a situation in a professional capacity, preferably related to the law or a past clerk position. Alternatively, provide an example in any other professional or volunteer capacity, or in a university setting. Add that you are positive your skills will be transferable in this role.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My last two positions entailed the management of highly confidential documents and I am used to following the firm procedures and processes to ensure confidentiality of all parties involved. For instance, while working for (X firm) as (X position title), I (X further information demonstrating your successful ability to manage confidential information)."

  12. 12.

    Give an example of a time when you made a mistake because you did not adequately listen well to what a colleague or superior had to say.

      Answer this question by providing an example of a situation when you, e.g., misunderstood what a team member had told you. Mention what contributed to the miscommunication and how you found a successful resolution to this problem while ensuring to nevertheless complete the task at hand in a timely fashion.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "When working for (X firm) as a/an (X position title), we had to complete a project (... what happened in this project which resulted in X mistake on your end). I soon realized this was due to miscommunication as I did not adequately understand my colleague's points she had communicated via email - and I should have instead requested an in-person meeting or a phone call as soon as possible as I had doubts about what needed to be done next. To resolve the situation, I (... what you did to resolve the situation and successfully complete the project in a timely fashion, and what was the final outcome)."

  13. 13.

    What have you done in past situations to contribute toward a teamwork environment?

      Ensure to review the job posting before the interview to familiarize yourself with the work involved. At the time of the interview, you should know whether this position entails mostly independent or team work. As such, should the position entails mostly team work, you should answer this question by emphasizing your love of team work and enjoying sharing/brainstorming ideas with team members.

      Should you not answer adequately as per the duties involved, you may be automatically disqualified - for instance, if you answer you prefer independent work and dislike team work when applying for a position that mostly entails team related duties. Not only will this show you are unsuitable for this position as you did not do your due diligence beforehand (as you did not read the job posting before applying for the position nor before the interview), but the interviewer may also believe you are simply looking for any job without being serious about working for this firm particularly.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I absolutely love team work and I pride myself on my team playing skills. I sincerely enjoy working with others and sharing ideas so as to come up with creative solutions and work toward a common goal. To contribute to a positive team environment, I (... X a situation when you, for instance, sought team members ideas in a project or promoted more effective communication channels so that each team member feels his/her voice is heard), while employed for (X firm) as (X position title)."

  14. 14.

    In your opinion, what skills are required to be successful as a Summer Law Clerk?

      Always review the job description before the interview to familiarize yourself with the personality traits required from the successful incumbent.

      Answer this question by mentioning some of the skills listed on the job posting, if outlined, and provide an example of these skills in a professional capacity. Alternatively, provide your top skills, which you believe will highly benefit you in this role, and provide an example of these skills in a professional setting, preferably related to the type of position you applied for.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The most important skills are having time management skills, dedication and hardworking capabilities, which I possess. These skills served me well in my last position at (X firm name) where I was employed as a/an (X position title). In this role, I (X further information as to how your skills benefited you in this role)."

  15. 15.

    Describe what you have done to achieve a professional goal.

      Tell the interviewer about the accomplishment you are the most proud of, preferably in a professional capacity and related to the position you are applying for. Alternatively, provide any accomplishment in another professional capacity, in a volunteer capacity, or in a university setting.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The accomplishment I am the most proud of is managing a very large project on a very tight deadline (... detailed information pertaining to this project, such as the firm name, your position title, why this project significantly mattered, and so on). As a result, I have developed strong project and time management skills that will undoubtedly enable me to thrive in this role at your firm."

  16. 16.

    Why are you the best candidate for us?

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  17. 17.

    Why are you considering leaving your current employer?

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