作者 | 林佩

来源 | 智合LawSchool




A single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Had she been alive today, and bizarrely interested in the market for legal talents, Ms. Austen might have paraphrased herself: an open position at a good law firm must be in want of a candidate with interview skills. 

A successful job hunt in the legal profession is a match between a candidate’s degree, experience, and interests, and a firm’s standards and requirements, all of which means, if you have the grades and experience, you have a chance. It is the interview, however, that counts.  

Resume Screening

(for assessing

the basic competencies)

Senior Interview

or HR Interview

(usually 10-30 mins)

Written Test

 (depends on each firm)

Partner Interview

(usually > 30 mins)

Basically, preparing for an interview conducted in English is no difference from doing that in any other language. It starts with your resume and ends with the final interview. For candidates working in English as a second language, the main difficulty, if it exists, will probably lie in how comfortable you are when speaking English. Because the first interview will probably only last 15-20 minutes, a good grasp of spoken English is a prerequisite.

Having armed yourself with an impressively good resume and the ability to talk fluently and logically in English, you can start to think about how navigate the three basic components of the interview. 


第一部分 自我介绍

The first step is to come up with a way to introduce yourself in one minute.

Your introduction should not be a simple repetition of your resume. For instance, a very talented student might introduce herself this way:

“My name is…I graduated from XX university…I worked at XX law firm as a legal trainee in 2014 and worked at XX people’s court as a judge assistance in 2015…”

This is important information but it’s also right there on your resume. It doesn’t do anything to highlight your unique abilities. The interviewer wants to get to know you, not have your resume read to them.

Instead, tell the interviewer something that can’t be communicated through your resume. Try to present your own skills and experience in as short a time as possible.

An effective self-introduction can be a story framed by experience. If you aren’t sure what to talk about, start figuring it out by practicing the story of why you became a lawyer and why you are perfect for this job. The key point of your story is to provide examples of your dedication to becoming part of the profession and the hard work you did to get to this interview.

For example, a candidate shared how she became interested in law and technology and why she decided to be an IT lawyer in an interview:

“…In that European summer program, I attended many invaluable lectures taught by distinguished professors. The most impressive subject discussed was about the liabilities of Internet service providers for false and defamatory statements. The professor used influential cases, such as Cubby Inc. v. CompuServe and Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., as examples.

The complexity of the content aroused my curiosity, and I began to think about the relationship between law and technology. So, I decided to further explore this field in Berkeley and pursue of becoming an IT lawyer after my graduation.”

This tells her story but it’s also full of useful information: her interest in the field of law, her experience in foreign summer school, her degree from U.C.-Berkeley, her reasons for becoming a lawyer, and most importantly, her ability to study legal issues independently. The information is also well organized so that the interviewer might ask some questions related to her statement. This starts the conversation in a natural way.

But do not recite your story like it’s a grade school English exam and the teacher is just counting the words you get right. If you want to use your English skills at work, you have to get comfortable using them naturally. More importantly, reciting answers comes off as insincere. You appear to be saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

And that’s the most important part. Your self-introduction must be true. Any overstatement or false information may damage your credibility and influence your future career. Believe it or not, legal circles are quite small. Therefore, be careful.

Personal Questions

第二部分 互相了解

Many insiders at well-known international firms described their interviews as “chatting with the partners”. This is the secret: the partners just want to find someone they can work with. They aren’t there to be critical of your performance. So, treat the interview as a true conversation, be honest and don’t be so nervous.

The best cure for feeling nervous in the interview is knowing you’re well prepared. You can’t predict each question but you will usually have enough information to be able to identify the competencies being assessed in the interview.

For example, many law firms set out a list of desirable and essential capabilities in their recruitment ads. It will be likely that the bulk of the interview will be focused on assessing these competencies:

● You will be a skillful and tactful communicator.

● You will be a responsible member willing to work at a high intensity.

We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions. They are designed to get to know the candidate in five categories:

Interest in the Law and the Law firm

How did you become  interested in X practice area or subject matter?

Why did you choose this  firm over others?

What do you like most  about this firm or practice group?

How did you improve your  understanding of the relevant issues in this field?

Educational background and relevant experience

What academic activities  did you take part in while studying in university? What were the results and  what role did you play?

Tell me about a  memorable case, deal, or issue you worked on while working.

Tell me more details of  your experience in the summer school you attended.

What evaluation or  feedback did you receive while working?

Preference and Characteristics

Can you give me an  example of when you’ve had to deal with a difficult person?

Where is your hometown?  Why do you want to work in this city?

Do you think you are an  aggressive or a nice person?

Why do you prefer  litigation?

What sort of books do  you usually read?

What sports do you play?

Expectation of Legal Work

What is your expected  salary?

Do you mind travelling frequently  for work projects?

What do you expect from  your supervisor and your team members?

What is your career goal  and plan for the next five years?

Other Questions that the Interviews are Interested in

What are the current  significant issues affecting law firms?

What do you think of the  development of XX and how it might affect law firms?

When answering these questions, remember to be as concise as possible but include all the essential details. Be specific.

“I had some work experiencein a couple of law firms.”

Compare this to:

“I got the opportunity to work at an international law firm after competing with more than 200 candidates in the summer vacation of 2015; and a work placement in a firm specialized in labor law with a staff of forty people after my graduation. I was mainly responsible for…in the firm and l learned…by…”

The second example gives a much clearer picture.

In this stage, you should customize the questions to fit the target firm and the position you are applying for. Your answers should reflect your own speaking style.

At the end of the interview, if you are given the chance to ask questions concerning the firm, ask important questions. For instance, how will my work be evaluated? What kind of feedback can I expect to receive? How will the firm grow in the next five years? Asking intelligent questions demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the firm and the position.

Technical Questions

第三部分 专业能力

You made need to demonstrate you have the necessary skills and knowledge to be a successful lawyer. Some “technical questions” might be asked at both international law firms and domestic firms. Sometimes these competencies are assessed through written tests (including case analysis, legal translation, contract drafting, etc.), instead of interviews.

To perform well in this stage, you need to know the answers to the questions but you also need to be familiar with English legal terms. Before the interview, read the official English translations of the Contract Law, the Company Law, the Trademark Law of the People’s Republic of China or other laws in English relevant to the position. However, we all know that to truly have a good grasp of legal English, requires studying hard for a long period time.

Finally, research your interviewer. You should know the well-known cases they have tried and the books or articles they have published. And know the hot topics in the relevant field. You should be ready to talk generally about recent changes in the law or famous cases.

If you are prepared for these three components of the interview, then you should do well. Good luck to every reader on every coming interview.






● 精炼,不要简单重复简历

● 结构化,讲嵌入经历的故事

● 自然,不要背诵

● 真诚,不要说谎或过度美化



● 根据招聘或岗位需求预测问题

● 熟悉常见问题并定制个人答案

● 对不熟悉的问题做好心理准备

● 提供足够的细节和例子

● 把握提问机会问重要问题


律所是需要硬实力的部分,往往这部分才决定了面试的成败。法律英语能力不是一朝一夕炼成的。这部分虽然也有技巧,不过如果缺乏内容,任何技巧都显得有些苍白无力了。 小技巧有:

● 练习英文案例分析、翻译、合同要素

● 通读官方版本的英文法条(尤其是合同法、公司法)

● 对面试官进行背景搜索(深入了解其案例、著作等)

● 关注相关领域的热点话题并形成自己的见解



林佩:曾实习于某Vault 100排名Top 30美资律所。英语专业八级,托福写作29分,法律翻译作品字数超过10万字。


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编辑 | Eleven

未经允许不得转载:智合 » 7分钟,快速掌握律所英文面试技巧