If you have a keen interest in law but are looking for a little bit of practice, a paralegal career is for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals and legal assistants “perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.” But, as always, there’s a bit more to it than that. These paralegal interview questions will help prepare you, whether you’re just starting out or are switching organizations.
Once you’ve brushed up on the following, check out our available paralegal jobs. Our On Call Counsel is ready to find you the perfect role and get you hired. Onto the interview questions:
1. What area or areas of law are you most interested in?
The initial question in an interview will most likely be “why do you want to be a paralegal,” a straightforward ask that you should certainly have an answer to. But to go a bit deeper, it’s helpful to share what area of law you’d like to specialize in. Options include, but are not limited to: corporate law, family law, estate planning, government, immigration law, intellectual property, litigation, and real estate.
2. What legal research skills do you have experience with?
To be successful, a firm must have experience “identifying, finding, and cite-checking the information and applicable laws needed to support [their] legal decision-making.” Walk the interviewer through your typical research process, referencing any specific software that you’ve used prior to bolster your skills.
3. Have you answered discovery requests before?
Here’s another question that centers on hard skills. As paralegals are aware, “discovery is the pretrial process of obtaining documents and information from the opposing party.” Be prepared to prove your prowess in answering discovery quests.
4. What types of legal documents have you drafted prior?
Like the question above, this ask offers another opportunity for you to demonstrate both industry knowledge and expertise. From litigation documents to e-discovery documents, you’ll want to show your breath of experience to a potential employer.
5. What tools do you use to stay updated in the legal field?
Whether you subscribe to newsletters or attend networking events, an employer wants to know that you’re keeping up with legal updates. When reading articles and case studies can get a bit dry, you can always seek out more contemporary content, like a podcast or blog.
6. How do you stay organized with a large caseload?
Finally, a soft skills question! Once you’ve done your homework preparing the answers above, this one should be a breeze. Talk through your organizational methods, no matter how specific they may be. Employers want to know that you’ll be able to handle the minutiae of the workload efficiently.
7. How do you deal with stressful situations or disagreeable clients?
Here’s another instance where you can speak from your own experience. Prepare an anecdote or story in which you handled a difficult situation with grace. Real-life examples speak louder than vague, basic answers.
8. Why do you think you’re the right candidate for the job?
Ideally, this will be the final interview question. Prepare this ahead of time, offering a summary of your experience, expertise, and goals, speaking to the specific points initially presented in the job description. Practice pitching yourself so that you end the interview on a high note.
There you have it: the paralegal interview questions that you can expect an interviewer to ask. Demonstrating that you have a mix of hard and soft skills will optimize your ability to get hired.
What’s more, the TemPositions’ On Call Counsel team would love to help you find your dream paralegal career. Connect with a recruiter to get started ASAP.