Article written by Ola Alice, Babcock University, Third year LLB.
“Why us?” Many law students and graduates when seeking internship opportunities or graduate positions falter during interviews. Not because they are not interested in the role, but because of lack of substantial preparation. Before going further, as a law student or graduate, it is important to note that a great knowledge of the firm you are applying to is the solid foundation for any application you make.
These are some basic questions you should answer before going for any interview:
The first answer that could come to mind when you think about this question is most likely what you love the most, what you love doing the most, or what brings you contentment. These answers are fine but as easy as this question might seem, it is important to have a solid and developed answer. This is because this question lets the employer know what motivates you, what your strengths are, what value you might add to their organisation, and the kind of person you are. So, while “I am passionate about basketball” might seem entertaining, it is very vague, not properly thought through, very bland, and most importantly, it tells your employers absolutely nothing about you apart from the fact that you like a particular sport. Your answer should not only state what you are passionate about, but also why you are passionate about it, how you’ve pursued it, and skills you’ve gained from it that relate to the post you are applying for.
So, once again, what are you passionate about?
Say you are a law graduate. You’ve achieved almost all your set goals, you’ve gotten tons of awards and medals for your achievements, and many people know you. What exactly would you describe as your strength? Is it the medals you got? The goals you achieved? Or your popularity? Your answer to this question lets the employer know how you can work in their team, and what skill set should be expected from you. The answer to this question is unique. It should speak to who you are, how you’ve overcome challenges, what keeps you going, and what makes you stand out. In answering this question, you should also relate it to the position you are applying for and the goals or values of the firm.
With this, what are your strengths?
Of course, high pay, good working conditions, a friendly environment, and inclusivity are great reasons you could apply to work or intern in a firm, but it isn’t enough. This question is the most important question a law firm looks forward to asking. This question is to gauge your knowledge of their firm. This question is very important because no firm wants an employee or intern that has no knowledge about them. At the end of the day, this all boils down to how commercially aware you are. Your response to this question should be proof of any research you’ve conducted in relation to the firm. This shouldn’t be a time to question their abilities or achievements. You could impress them by even showing interest in working with them, relating your goals to the achievements they’ve had, how their activities and efforts are growing their firm.
Before you apply to that firm, ask yourself why this firm?
The best piece of advice is to keep in mind that interviews are fundamentally about people. The interviewer wants to know if you’d be a good addition to their team, but it’s also your chance to decide whether you want to work for the organisation. During the interview, the interviewer is deciding if they want to work with you. They are attempting to determine whether you will be worth the investment. If you worked with them every day, would they be content? Can they introduce you to a client? Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Positivity and being authentic are key. Most importantly, really emphasise, and connect it to your own interests and experiences, why a certain aspect of the company stood out to you.