9 Must Have Tips for a Great Law School Admission Interview
Law school interviews can make or break your acceptance into not just a top ranked law school but any law school.
While not every student interviews for law school, it is best to interview if given the chance, especially for students who are on the borderline of being accepted. Interviewing allows law school admissions to see in person who you really are, gaining a sense of your personality, charisma, presence, and much more.
Today, we’ll cover 9 must have tips for a great law school admission interview, ensuring you have a great law school admissions interview and leave a lasting impression on law school admissions and improve your chances of getting into the top law school of your choice.
9 Tips for a Great Law School Admission Interview
1. Hold Eye Contact
Before we even cover information on answering the interview questions, let’s first focus on the body language.
If you’ve ever received advice for a date, you’ve most likely heard eye contact is key. While this may not be a date, you still want to leave a great impression, and confident eye contact is a great way to do this.
Strong eye contact displays confidence and self-assurance, two qualities that you want to display during your interview. While you don’t want to stare, be sure to hold strong eye contact and smile when appropriate.
2. Speak Up
Continuing with body language, make sure you project your voice. Speak slowly and clearly. Speaking fast signifies you’re nervous and possibly unsure of yourself, as does stuttering. Take a few deep breaths before the interview to stay calm, and make sure you speak slowly, clearly, and confidently.
3. Stay Still & Keep Good Posture
You’d be amazed how many people go into an interview feeling nervous, and unknowingly, are constantly shifting around in their seat or slouching. Neither of these project confidence, which is something you want to display.
We cover how to properly handle yourself during an interview in more detail here.
Be sure to sit up straight, as if a string were pulling you up to the ceiling by your spine through your neck. If you tend to get more nervous during an interview, have a few practice interviews with friends or family to not only practice responses, but your body language as well.
4. Dress Appropriately
While you don’t have to wear a tuxedo, dress professionally/business casual. This also includes those who have their interview over Skype (which is becoming more common). During the interviews over Skype, it is common practice to ask you to stand up to see what you are wearing. They want to see you wearing professional attire.
5. Remember & Use Their Names
It’s been said the sweetest word in a language is someone’s own name. At the beginning of the interview, the law school admissions committee (or whomever may be interviewing) will introduce themselves. Remember their name(s). You don’t have to use it with every question, but just a few times during the interview, and at the end will do the trick. It will be one more thing that makes you slightly more memorable in a positive light.
(Make sure to call them by their professional name, not their first name, unless they specifically request. For example, if the interviewer introduces himself as Dr. Brian Howard, refer to him as Dr. Howard, not Brian.)
6. Be Prepared for the Common Questions
While not every law school has the same interview format, there are some general “common” questions asked in a law school admissions interview.
These common law school interview questions include:
“Tell me about yourself.”
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
“What would you consider your greatest accomplishments?”
“What are your goals, both personally and professionally?”
“Why are you applying to this school?”
“What other schools have you applied too?”
“What makes you different from other students?”
“What would you add to our program?”
“Tell us about a recent legal issue in the news.”
“Do you have any questions for us?”
7. Be Prepared to Answer Personal Characteristic Interview Questions
While not every law school will ask the same questions, they do tend to have a tendency of looking for similar characteristics, all of which you can demonstrate answering the questions above.
Below is a link to a Duke Law sample interview evaluation form.
You’ll see the first 5 traits they look for are:
While you can’t be prepared for the specific questions you will be asked, you can be prepared to answer questions that will demonstrate these qualities.
Keep in mind, this is also an opportunity to show how you stand out and/or fit in toward that particular law school.
Make sure you’re prepared with stories that provide evidence of these main qualities that will demonstrate intelligence, motivation/dedication toward your goals, commitment, ability to work with a team, and leadership.
8. Be Aware of Recent Law Stories in the Headlines
While this is not every law school, some law schools will ask your thoughts on recent news headlines related to legal studies or a general major issue such as abortion, the death penalty, or gun control (a very major and relevant issue today in America).
When discussing any legal issue in an interview, have strong points to support your view, but also be able to show you understand the opposing point of view to the issue. This demonstrates you can both hold a strong view on a matter, which demonstrates leadership, but can also able to see issues from a common, civil perspective.
You may also be asked how you would rule a certain course if you were a judge or discuss a recent Supreme Court case you disagree with and why.
The best way to prepare for this is to keep up with the news and have point of view supported by reason and evidence.
9. Know About the Law School & Use This to Your Advantage
It’s amazing how many students go into an interview for a law school, or even a job, and know very little, if anything, about the law school.
Just knowing it’s a “great law school with a great reputation and ranking” will not make the cut. Law schools want to know both that you took the time to really learn about their school (which they learn when asking you why you applied to their law school) and how you will add specific value to the law school as a student or alumni.
Let the interviewer know you took the time to research the law school by telling them how you’re excited about something specific about the school that is not common knowledge. Also include how your specific qualities or talents will add something new to the law school, such as a club, organization, or in the classroom.
9 Tips for a Great Law School Admission Interview: Conclusion
The most important things to keep in mind for a great law school admissions interview is to be calm and confident, as well as prepared how to answer the questions in a way that demonstrates your characteristics and how you will add something new to the school as a student and alumni.
Law School Rankings