Updated 7 March 2019
If you have secured a job interview with a law firm you have done very well and clearly, you have set a good first impression. But the job is far from over and you still need to nail the interview and subsequently secure the job. Today we going to share with a step by step guide how you could focus on a few areas when researching the prospective firm that will maximize your chances of success.
1. Must use research tools
Whilst the starting point for most of you would be the firm's web site, to ensure your research is detailed enough you will need to make use of other freely available resources. We would recommend you cover at least the following:
2. Know the core areas of practice
Simple as it may sound but knowing the firm main areas of practice is a must. Often firms are highly regarded in one to two areas, so make sure you use directories such as Legal 500 to glean this information. It is particularly advisable that you are familiar with the area of practice you have applied to work and to impress go as far as researching some recent work in the department. To impress the recruiter you could go further and research key individuals at the firm in those practices.
2. Who are their key clients?
In addition to getting familiar work the firm's work, you will also want to research some of its clients and the industries they operate into. Even if questions related to their clients does not come up, this part of the research could be useful when answering other questions and it will surely put a smile on recruiters face. Another way to impress the recruiter is by not focusing on obvious clients but on new or recently acquired ones.
3. Know who the firm is competing with
You could get an open question in the interview to name one or two of its competitors. Whilst we do not recommend you study all the competitors but as a minimum, you must be familiar with competitors for their strongest areas of practice. Use the legal 500 to see which firms are ranking in the same band for a particular area of law.
4. Be familiar with the firm's history and milestones
Pick one or two major milestones as points of discussion and showcase your knowledge in the interview. Milestones could be anything from merging with another firm to opening the first international office. You should be able to find all this information on its web site.
5. Study Law Firm's values
Researching the firm's core values is all part of good research into the firm. This part of the research will also help you understand more about the firm's ambitions and as well as the culture at the firm all of which may be important before deciding to accept a job. Equally the firm may ask some questions which are deliberately designed to see your understanding of its values and whether you can live up to them.
6. Research recent deals and cases
We would recommend you pick one or two major deals or cases in the last 12 months and research it well enough to be able to discuss it at the interview. Use Linkedin, which is a great source to find out about the latest deals at law firms. Our top tip here would be a pick a noteworthy deal in the area of practice you applied for and one in any other area. This will demonstrate a wider interest in their work beyond your preferred area of law.
7. Know what sets the firm apart
Give you have secured an interview you should be able quite comfortably to articulate what is the firm's unique selling point. This part of the research will be of great help when you will need to answer 'why do you want to work for a law firm'. A related question will come up both at the application stage and in the interview and the best way to answer it is by identifying what sets the firm apart and how that fits well with your goals. Please note you will not find the answer to this question online because the answer is specific to you, therefore, avoid at all costs using information found online for this question.
8. Top tip for a successful research
Do not over-research and discuss at the interview every client, competitor or deal done. The recruiter merely wants to know your broad knowledge about the firm and the job on offer.
If you are want to research a firm for a paralegal related interview the article on how to prepare for a paralegal interview will be of great help.
What is your top source for researching a law firm for an interview? Please feel free to comment and share your experience below and I will reply accordingly.
Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs