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Legal Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. Why have you chosen to make your career in the field of law? See answer
  2. How do you handle working for difficult people? Can you give an example of when you felt mistreated? See answer
  3. What is your familiarity with technology? What sort of legal systems have you worked with and what is your expertise? See answer
  4. What is your system for staying organized and meeting pressing deadlines? See answer
  5. What would you do if you received an urgent call from a client but the attending attorney was in court defending another client? See answer
  6. Tell us about your favorite and least favorite supervisors you’ve had in the legal profession.
  7. How do you stay aware of challenges in the law that apply to your clients and accounts?
  8. Do you have experience billing clients for legal services and devising payment plans?
  9. Describe the steps you take to locate a witness and conduct an interview to learn more information about a case.
  10. One of the most significant parts of your job is proofreading and synthesizing legal contracts and research. Are you comfortable reading extensive documents that have complex legal jargon?
  11. How do you stay organized when performing research and managing case files for multiple lawyers at once?
  12. Do you have any experience creating litigation graphics for use in the courtroom?
  13. Legal assistants are expected to attend depositions and record essential details for the attorney to reference. Explain the steps for summarizing a deposition.
  14. What are the strategies you use to cultivate professional relationships with people in the court system to facilitate the process of going to trial?
  15. As a legal assistant, you will deal with confidential information about clients legal, financial and personal information. How do you ensure that you uphold client confidentiality when organizing records?
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6 Legal Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why have you chosen to make your career in the field of law?

A:

It takes a dedicated person to deal with the stresses of the law profession. This question is aimed at learning what motivates your candidate to work as a legal assistant and where their personal and professional goals lie. Whether or not your candidate has future aspirations to be a practicing attorney themselves, make sure their personal passions align with your firm’s needs.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A passion for the field of law
  • Particular subject matter interest
  • Desire to be in this specific job setting

Example:

“While I am not a lawyer, the legal profession has long excited me. Being a legal assistant is my way of playing a role in it.”

Q:

How do you handle working for difficult people? Can you give an example of when you felt mistreated?

A:

Busy attorneys are not always the easiest people to work for due to the stresses, pressures and frequent strict deadlines of the legal profession. This question will help you understand how your candidate will handle the expected stress, tensions and tight deadlines. The best applicants will be able to stay focused and perform well under pressure without letting professional conflicts become personal.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure
  • Confident and self-assured enough to not let tensions get personal
  • The ability to do their job even if feeling pressure or stress

Example:

“I recognize that getting the work done comes first and that sometimes, there are tensions. I try not to let it bother me much as it’s to be expected in this line of work.”

Q:

What is your familiarity with technology? What sort of legal systems have you worked with and what is your expertise?

A:

The legal world is changing rapidly, driven primarily by technology. The more proficient a legal assistant is in using various technologies, the more valuable they will be to your agency, and particularly if they are proficient in working with legal technology. This question is aimed at figuring out how tech-savvy the legal assistant is and if they have the capacity and willingness to learn new systems if needed.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience working with different legal technology programs
  • The desire and aptitude to learn new technologies
  • Familiar with commonly used office and online programs

Example:

“Technology makes my job as a legal assistant easier and helps me to work faster and smarter. I’m always looking for new platforms which can make my work more efficient.”

Q:

What is your system for staying organized and meeting pressing deadlines?

A:

Legal assistants need to be highly organized in order to meet all the demands that are placed on them on the job. The applicant should have strong organizational and time management skills and a system of keeping track of tasks. How the candidate describes their organizational system will give you an idea of how methodical they are and whether they will be able to keep everything straight on the job. You may want them to use a specific method for maintaining schedules or internal communications, but this question will reveal their usual work habits.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Sound principles of organization
  • Evidence of being able to multi-task and not miss deadlines
  • The ability to keep up with a busy schedule

Example:

“Staying organized is a function of the system that you use. The more you have put in place, the better you can keep up.”

Q:

Tell us about your favorite and least favorite supervisors you’ve had in the legal profession.

A:

When you hear a person describe their boss, you get a sense of how the legal assistant views their role in the workplace. If they are harshly critical, it can be a red flag, but an inability to communicate any downsides is likely to show a lack of honesty. Law is hierarchical, and you want to know how respectful the legal assistant is of authority. This will also give you an idea of whether the candidate is someone with whom you can work and also reveals how well they are able to communicate diplomatically.
What to look for in an answer:

  • Self-awareness of their role as a legal assistant and an understanding of the challenges inherent in the legal profession
  • Objective rather than emotional analysis
  • Ability to communicate with tact

Example:

“My favorite supervisor was one who took me under their wing and taught me the basics of the legal profession.”

Q:

What would you do if you received an urgent call from a client but the attending attorney was in court defending another client?

A:

Legal assistants hold an integral role in maintaining communications within a legal department or law office. They may have to field calls of varying priority levels, including calls from clients. Good legal assistants apply their understanding of the legal system to keep clients informed and connect them with legal resources when necessary. Interviewers can ask this question to see how candidates perform under pressure and solve problems when they don't have a superior to assist or answer questions.

A strong answer should include:

  • Staying calm under pressure
  • Situational awareness
  • Timely service

Here is a strong sample answer:

Example:

"If a lawyer's client called me in distress, I would first determine the nature of their problem. Of course, legal issues are stressful, but I need to know the level of urgency before I can decide if I need to recruit another lawyer to help, try to solve the issue myself or wait for the main attorney to return from court. I'd communicate with the client about whatever steps I took to solve their problem."

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