A guide on how to answer why you want to be a solicitor
A career as a solicitor can be financially rewarding and intellectually challenging yet this career path may not be for everyone. In order to decide if this path is for you and more importantly to actually secure a career as a solicitor you will need to be able to articulate why you want to become a solicitor. This is a question you will be asked in every interview be it for a training contract or even a vacation scheme but this question can be hard to be broken down into words. Here are our top tips and guidance on how to answer this question and the steps you can take to help you articulate the answer.
1. Understand the question
The starting point has to be understanding the question asked. We often advise the easiest way to understand and answer a question is by actually start asking yourself why you are being asked that very question. By taking this approach you will be able to grasp the aim of the question and get into the mindset of the assessor thereby giving yourself a much better chance to provide a convincing answer.
2. Compare solicitor career to other career paths
An alternative way to prepare yourself for this question is by looking at other alternative career paths perhaps that you have considered and why those career choices did not interest you. This could help you narrow down some reasons related specifically to you why a career in law would be suited.
3. Gained relevant legal experience
The reality is that if you have no previous experience, which provided you with an insight into lawyers day to day job, it is very unlikely you will be to answer the question and more importantly back it up with relevant examples. You need to get a handle on what solicitors actually do in their day to day job. Make sure you gain relevant and sufficient legal experience to give yourself a better chance to successfully navigate through the law interviews.
4. Make it personal
A compelling answer to this question will always be linked to a personal experience or even skill that you have. If you are going to simply repeat what other trainees have said about joining a particular firm you are not going to stand out and therefore unlikely to convince the interviewer. The key is to show what you bring to the table actually matches with firm's expectations. Herbert Smith Freehills has put together a very helpful video by looking closely at good answers and more generic ones, which do not make it past the interview stage.
5. Showcase skills required by a solicitor
Aside from linking the answer to personal experience, you could discuss a particular set of skills that you have, which are requisite for a solicitor. Pick one or two core skills required and provide a compelling answer by explaining how you have developed those skills and why you think they will be important in such a role. For instance, you could discuss negotiating skills you have developed through a workshop you attended at University and this will be a plausible answer because is personal to you and backed up with relevant examples.
6. Be prepared
Sometimes applicants believe if they memorize the answer word by word as part of their preparation it will work against them but this is far from true. Firms do like applicants coming prepared and if you have prepared answers prior to the interview this can only work in your favor as confirmed in this video.
Have we missed anything? Feel free to comment or add anything that perhaps you have experienced particularly.
Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs
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