Job Interview Tips for Paralegals

by Laura Heinz on April 17, 2013

Whether you’re a seasoned paralegal or someone new to the legal field, there are certain actions you can take that will help you stand out in an interview. We’ve put together some helpful tips to take your paralegal interview to the next level.

Dress the Part

When you interview for a paralegal position, be sure to dress the part. It’s a good idea to invest in a suit and wear it to your interview. The general rule of thumb is that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Even if the firm has a business casual dress code it’s a good idea to dress up. If you don’t own a suit, wear slacks, a suit shirt and a blazer or sweater. This applies to both ladies and gentlemen. Never wear tennis shoes, flip-flops or overly casual shoes.

Do Your Research

Before you interview you should be familiar with the firm. Take a few minutes to review their website to get familiar with how large the firm is, what areas of law they practice, and any notable clients or cases. In an interview you may be asked why you’re interested in working at the firm. Your research will help provide you with the information to answer that question.

Show Your Legal Knowledge

Even if you do not have hands-on paralegal work experience, in a paralegal interview it’s important to give examples that show your legal knowledge. For example, if you’re applying for a position at a litigation firm and you are asked a question about motions, although you may not know the exact requirements for the motion, you may want to indicate that you would go to the Rules of Court (or whatever they’re called in your state) and check the Court’s Local Rules. As a paralegal you may not always have the answer, but it’s important to show that you know the resources to use to find the answers.

Give Examples of Relevant Experience

If you’ve worked as a paralegal in the past, give examples of projects you’ve worked on, with specific detail about what you did. If you do not have paralegal experience but have other work experience that is relevant, be sure to note it. Perhaps you have experience working as an administrative assistant. There are lots of office skills that are directly transferable to a paralegal position, such as drafting correspondence, scheduling meetings, requesting payment for experts, etc. Even a job at a café has skills that are transferrable to a paralegal position, such as being able to multitask and deal with difficult customers.

Come Prepared With Questions

Without a doubt, in some of your interviews you will be asked if you have any question for the interviewer. Always try to have two questions in mind. They can be questions such as:

  • How many attorneys are assigned to each paralegal?
  • How long have most of your paralegals been with the firm?
  • Are paralegals required to work much overtime?
  • What legal software does the firm use?
  • Are there billable requirements for paralegals?

Interviews can be stressful and nerve wracking, but by taking the time to prepare yourself by looking the part, familiarizing yourself with the firm, and thinking about how to articulate your experience and skills, you’ll set yourself ahead of the competition.

Laura Heinz is a professional paralegal and a writer for ParalegalCertificates.org, a legal support resource where you can learn about paralegal training programs, as well as find paralegal salary stats and other career information.

Laura Heinz

Laura Heinz

Laura Heinz

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