Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OCI -- Interview Questions every Law Student should be Able to Answer

Right now hundreds of law students around the country are participating in the dreaded OCI- (on campus interview) the first step to coveted summer associate positions, and ultimately the finish line of landing a job at the big law firm downtown.

As you prepare for your interviews, do some preparation, and be prepared to answer all of these questions (while you're sweating nervously in a small room, while dressed in an incredibly hot and uncomfortable 3 piece suit).

Personal (Attitudes, Attributes)

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • Why do you think you will succeed as a lawyer?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Is there any reason why we shouldn’t hire you?
  • What is the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in your life?
  • What did you learn from dealing with this obstacle?
  • When are you available to begin working?
  • What do you consider your greatest strengths?
  • What are your limitations?
  • Use three words to describe yourself.
  • What are you looking for in a firm/corporation/nonprofit?
  • Do you prefer to work independently or with supervision?
  • Do you work well under pressure?
  • Describe a situation that required a number of things to be done at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
  • How do you determine priorities in scheduling your time? Give examples?
  • What has been your experience in giving presentation? What has been your most successful experience in speech making?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • How do you maintain a well-rounded life?
  • What community or extra-curricular activities have you found rewarding?
  • Why should we select you for this position over the other applicants?
  • Are you more energized by working with data or by collaborating with others?
  • How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as a member of a team?
  • Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
  • Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across to someone.
  • Give me an example of one of your successful accomplishments.
  • Do you have the qualifications and personal characteristic necessary for success as a lawyer?
  • What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
  • What quality or attribute will most contribute to your career success?
  • What motivates you to put forth your best effort?
  • Give me an example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
  • Describe a situation where you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  • Describe a situation when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
  • Describe how you feel and how you react when others pressure you for deadlines.
  • Describe how you feel about taking direction from others and having them monitor your work.
  • Describe the ideal way to change a situation not to your liking.
  • Tell me about a time you solved a problem in a creative way.

Law School

  • Why do you want to be a lawyer?
  • Why did you decide to go to law school?
  • Why did you choose the this law school?
  • What was your favorite class? Least favorite?
  • Who is your favorite professor? Why?
  • Should we be concerned about your grades/class rank?
  • Why didn’t you pursue Law Review/Moot Court?
  • What activities did you participate in?
  • Are you involved in any activities outside of law school?
  • Do you find it hard to manage your time between law school and work?
  • Has law school prepared you for the practice of law?
  • Have your ideas about being a lawyer changed since you started law school?
  • What influenced you to choose this career?
  • Describe the type of professor that has created the most beneficial learning experience for you.

Previous Jobs

  • How would a previous employer describe you?
  • How did you get your last job?
  • What did you gain from that experience?
  • How do you function in a fast-paced work environment?
  • Describe the ideal supervisor/characteristics of a successful manager?
  • Describe the least effective supervisor.
  • What problems have you encountered in previous jobs?
  • Describe a time when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it?
  • Tell me about a major problem you recently handled. Were you successful in resolving it?
  • What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had?
  • What do you consider to be a positive work environment?
  • Have you ever worked with a difficult person? How did you handle the situation?


  • Have you decided what city you would ultimately like to settle in?
  • Why did you sign up for an interview with us?
  • What do you know about our firm?
  • Who else are you interviewing with?
  • Why do you want to live in ___?
  • To what extent would you be willing to travel?
  • What practice area do you see yourself in?
  • Are you interested in doing pro bono work?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What is more important to you, the job itself or the salary?
  • Why do you want to work at this firm?


  • What do you think makes a good leader? A good lawyer?
  • Describe a situation where you assumed a leadership role.
  • Tell me about someone you consider a good leader and why.
  • Have you even been in a situation where a good/bad leader caused success/failure?
  • Describe your leadership attributes.


  • Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 20 years?
  • What personal goals are you seeking through a legal career?
  • What will it take to attain your goals and what steps have you taken toward attaining them?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful as a lawyer?
  • How do you determine or evaluate success for yourself?
  • What are your standards of success in school? What have you done to meet these standards?
  • If you weren’t in law school, what would you be doing right now?
  • What long-term satisfaction do you expect to obtain from a legal career?
  • How do you expect to balance work and personal life?


  • How do you feel about lawyers advertising or soliciting clients?
  • Is there any type of work you would not feel comfortable doing at our firm?
  • How do you think your ethical standards compare with others in your law school class?
  • What do you consider to be the most difficult ethical challenge lawyers’ face?
  • What would you do if an employer made a decision with which you strongly disagreed? 

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