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Interview Guide – Helping Lawyers maximise their potential in an interview - THOMSON LEGAL
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Interview Guide – Helping Lawyers maximise their potential in an interview

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Everyone knows the importance of making a good first impression. This is never more important than in a job interview and at Thomson Legal we aim to help our candidates to prepare, perform and ultimately, to be successful in all interview situations. Modern interview techniques are considerably more complex with many law firms and companies having unique approaches and methods that they utilise to assess future hires. The interview presents an opportunity for you to showcase your experience and stand out from the crowd. It is your chance to impress, to ‘sell your experience’ and to convince the interviewer that you should be recruited. In this guide, we advise on how to best prepare in advance for an interview and how to optimise your performance.



Speak with current and previous employees to gain a competitive edge.


Spend time reviewing the job description, researching the firm/ company and the profiles of your interviewers.

Social Media

Take full advantage of social media to understand the culture of your future employer. Remember that this works both ways and that employers can now have the opportunity to review your social media footprint prior to interviews.


Anticipate in advance key areas of questioning and have accurate information to hand. This may include fee-earning figures, targets, business development approach and appraisal/ review documentation.


Be able to show the depth of your understanding of events in the legal market, competitors and recent transactions. Ensure that you are able to discuss your motivations for moving on from your current role and of course, the reasons you are interested in the role you are interviewing for.


Highlight key strengths for the role and also your weaknesses and be prepared to counter them. Have a plan of what you want to achieve in the interview. Ensure you know in advance questions you want to ask about the recruitment process, remuneration and career progression. Remember that the more prepared you are going into an interview then the more confident you will be.



Ensure you provide concise answers relevant to the questions being asked. If you are asked to expand on your response, this is an indicator that you have not got it right first time round. Ensure you provide answers that backup what you do as opposed to what your current team does and make sure all answers are on point. Do not be afraid to ask for clarity if you’re confused.


Have the knowledge that you have prepared in advance for the interview and let your interviewer see your personality as well as your technical ability. Your interviewer will also find it preferable for you to take your time to construct the right answer. An extra moment to think can make a real difference to the impression you make in an interview.


Use the interview as an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the role, the team and the organisation. Personality fit for a role is as important as technical ability and it is vital to ensure you demonstrate enthusiasm and energy to a potential employer.


Ensure you have pre-prepared questions. What this will show is your level of interest and additionally will provide assurances to the interviewer that you fully understand the role on offer.



Set the scene- always aim to use recent, relevant and professional examples from your career to date.


Focus on the specific actions that you adopted and your reasons for doing so. Demonstrate that your actions.


Describe the task that you undertook ensuring that you provide details of the challenges and responsibilities that you faced.


Demonstrate the results of your actions and highlight the overall success and learning outcomes.

The purpose of a competency interview is to allow employers to question you on specific character traits: leadership, autonomy, collaboration and peoplemanagement are common examples. Think of situations that demonstrate relevancy to the role. You may be asked to give particular examples and describe difficult situations where things did not go according to plan. For these types of questions it is important to recognise your faults and mistakes but also to show the lessons learned and the resolution to the situation.


Team Work

Describe a situation where you had to help a colleague or client and it took you outside of your comfort zone.

Problem Solving

Demonstrate how you turned a negative situation with a client into a positive outcome.


Explain a scenario where you were able to get an unpopular idea accepted by a client or your peer.


Detail a time where you successfully managed multiple deadlines and were able to meet all expectations.

Goal Setting

Provide an example of how you exceeded your financial targets and the adopted methods to achieve this success.


Describe a situation where you resolved a matter with an unhappy manager/ partner/ client and the strategy you utilised.

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Thomson Legal was founded by David Thomson, a veteran and leading expert in the legal recruitment market in Scotland. Having worked internationally and with a network of Scottish and global clients, the aim of Thomson Legal is to help candidates with their career moves both domestically and internationally. Thomson Legal is regarded as an innovative and market leading consultancy by clients and candidates alike.

After graduating in Law & Modern Languages from University of Glasgow and working in-house, David moved into legal recruitment in 1999, initially working with legal recruitment specialists Mahlab in Sydney, Australia. After returning and working in the UK and Ireland, David has built up the reputation of being an expert in his field working with leading global recruitment companies including Taylor Root, Hays Legal and Hudson. David provides strategic advice and recruitment assistance to major international
law firms and FTSE 100 companies and works with market leaders in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Offshore, the Middle East, Australia and Asia Pacific. For more information of to discuss how Thomson Legal can help you with your legal career, please get in touch.

Edinburgh:  +44 (0) 131 450 7164
Glasgow:     +44 (0) 141 244 0260
Aberdeen: +44 (0) 1224 502 044
London:      +44 (0) 203 174 2482

Dublin:       +353 (0) 1 699 1360
Mobile:       +44 (0) 775 380 9223




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