Mostly Asked Business Lawyer Interview Preparation Guide
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Business Lawyer related Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with professional career as Business Lawyer. These list of interview questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job interview and quickly revise your concepts

61 Business Lawyer Questions and Answers:

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Mostly Asked  Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions and Answers
Mostly Asked Business Lawyer Job Interview Questions and Answers

1 :: Tell us how much experience do you have with my industry?

Such issues as intellectual property, franchise agreements and service contracts require special knowledge and skills, says Leach. Find out if the attorneys you're screening have worked with a company similar to yours and if you can speak with any previous clients. While some attorneys might be offended by this request, "they shouldn't be put off if you ask them to give a couple of names," Leach says.

2 :: Explain me how long do you typically take to get back to people?

If you want your attorney to be prompt and easily accessible, be sure to ask how long he or she takes to get back to you when you call, Leach says. Sometimes, you have to go through a paralegal first and may not connect with the lawyer for several days.

3 :: Tell me how your role relates to the overall goals of your department and firm?

This not only probes your understanding of department and corporate missions by also indirectly checks into your ability to function as a team member to get the work done.

4 :: Tell us how do you typically communicate with your clients?

Some attorneys prefer to correspond primarily via email or phone; others don't communicate much beyond scheduled office meetings. You're likely going to want to work with someone who is available to answer your questions as they come up, so be sure to find out what their communication style is and whether it works for you.

5 :: Tell us how do you bill?

To avoid surprises when your attorney's bill arrives for the first time, find out exactly how lawyers bill, Leach recommends. Some may bill for minimum increments of 10 minutes, while others might not bill for less than an hour. Also, ask about other expenses such as research and paralegal fees.

6 :: Explain me will there be anyone else handling my work?

Most lawyers assign work to paralegals, but Sweeney cautions against attorneys who delegate an extensive amount. Taking the time to explain something to your lawyer, then having it re-explained to a paralegal could cost you more money and might muddle the message, she says. While some work can certainly be delegated, be sure that you're clear on who will be handling which tasks.

7 :: Explain me how do you feel about your progress to date?

This question is not geared solely to rate your progress; it also rates your self-esteem. Be positive, yet do not give the impression you have already done your best work. Make the interviewer believe you see each day as an opportunity to learn and contribute and that you see the environment at the company as conducive to your best efforts.

8 :: Tell us who else are you interviewing with in Seattle?

A possible throw away, but the interviewer wants to see how serious you are. Know the list of other firms. Cold. Don’t blow names. Do not infer that Seattle is one stop on your coffee tour through the Northwest.

Your answer should be, “I have contacted the 5 or 6 leading firms that match my practice interest and background most closely.” If pressed for specifics mention the names, accurately and without bravado.

9 :: Tell me do you have any clients who could create conflicts?

Find out if your prospective attorney is working for other clients such as competitors or former business partners, who could pose a conflict of interest. If so, problems could arise, and you may not feel comfortable sharing competitive information with the attorney.

10 :: Please explain a difficult problem you’ve had to deal with?

This is a favourite tough question. It’s not so much the difficult problem but the approach you take to solving problems in general, this question is designed to probe your professional profile, specifically your analytical skills.

11 :: Tell me what can I contribute to right away?

One of the most frustrating things about hiring someone new is that it can take forever to get them trained and up to speed. When a candidate asks a question like this, they let the interviewers know that they will find a way to help as soon as possible, which is a major bonus. This again gives you the opportunity to sell yourself as someone who can help on those projects, and as an added bonus — it lets you know what skills you need to brush up on before your next interview or even before starting the job.

12 :: Tell me are there ways to reduce the cost of your services?

Don't be discouraged by what seem to be high fees. Ask if there are ways to cut down on costs, says Fred Steingold, an Ann Arbor, Mich., attorney and author of Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business (Nolo, 2011). For example, you might be able to save money by rounding up documents or writing a summary of events for a legal case yourself. "There are things clients can do that are often helpful," Steingold says. "If the lawyer is not willing to explore some of those options, it might raise a red flag."

13 :: Tell me what is your approach to conflict resolution?

Find out how much of an attorney's time is spent battling it out in court and how much is devoted to mediating disputes. Then, decide which approach you're more comfortable with. "Sometimes attorneys who are highly litigious are hard to mold when you want to settle a case," says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of Calabasas, Calif.-based MyCorporation, a document-filing services firm that helps small businesses incorporate.

14 :: Tell me in what ways has your job prepared to take on greater responsibility?

This is one of the most important questions you will have to answer. The interviewer is looking for examples of your professional development, perhaps to judge your future growth potential, so you must tell a story that demonstrates it. Other skills you may want to demonstrate here are listening skills, honesty and adherence to procedures.

15 :: Tell me how do you feel about long working hours?

Part of working in the law, particularly a large commercial firm, is being in action outside standard working hours, which could mean being on the job all through the night or for a whole weekend, at short notice. Law firms want to know that you've done your research into working life in the sector and that you can explain why you're not put off.

You might think the attractive aspects of the job outweigh this downside, or you might even like the idea of the buzz that comes from working full-tilt on the kind of headline-grabbing big deals that demand this way of working.

16 :: Tell me have you done the best work you are capable of doing?

Say ‘yes’ and the interviewer will think you’re a has-been. Personalise your work history, for this particular question, include the essence of this reply: “I’m proud of my professional achievements to date, especially [give an example]. But I believe the best is yet to come. I am always motivated to give my best efforts and there are always opportunities to contribute if you stay alert”.

17 :: Tell me is this team empowered to find better and more efficient ways to do things?

The interview process is all about differentiation, and a question like this shows the interviewers that you are determined to be a rock star. Most companies have many folks who are perfectly happy to learn how to do the basic tasks of their job and then sit back and collect a paycheck. What they are looking for is someone who is driven to make things better, who won’t just be satisfied with the status quo. By not only identifying yourself as a big time horse, but making sure that the company will give room to graze, you are guaranteed to stand out.

18 :: Tell us why are you leaving your current firm?

This question is posed to figure out whether it was your decision to leave or whether you are being pushed out of your firm.

Answering Strategy and Options
Remember to never say anything bad about your current firm. Instead start with, “I’ve learned a lot and had a great experience at Firm X. However…” It’s perfectly acceptable to move firms when the workflow is unsteady or you want to expand your experience. Perhaps you want to specialize in a particular niche within your practice area or the firm you are interviewing with has a stronger corporate practice or more interesting clients.

19 :: Tell us how have you benefited from your disappointments?

Disappointments are different from failures. It is an intelligent interviewer who asks this question; it is also an opportunity for an astute interviewee to shine. The question itself is very positive – it asks to show how you benefited. Note also that it does not give any specific details of specific disappointments, so you don’t have to open your mouth and insert your foot. Instead be general. Sum up your answer with “I treat disappointments as a learning experience, I look at what happened, why it happened and how I would do things differently in each stage should the same set of circumstances appear again. That way, I put disappointment behind me and am ready to face the new days’ problems”.

20 :: Tell us have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker? How did you solve it?

The answer to this question is not, "No." Conflicts arise in the workplace, and employers want to know that you will be able to resolve them effectively. The best situations to talk about in response to this question deal with work-related (not personal) conflicts. Describe a time where you and a colleague differed on your approach to an assignment. Then, explain the steps you took to come to an agreement. The anecdote should not end with a description of who "won," but rather how you reached a compromise with your colleague.

This question illustrates why it is so important to prepare for tough interview questions-while you may be able to rattle off a list of colleagues who irk you at a moment's notice, it is much more difficult to come up with a concrete example of a conflict that ended well. Think back on all the projects you have worked on-a "conflict" doesn't necessarily have to be heated or argumentative to qualify as an answer to this question.

21 :: Tell us what do you think you will be doing 5 years from now?

This is not a trick question. It is usually sincere and not intended to upset or confuse. Remember, the partner asking the question probably asks the same question of himself frequently and is just as uncertain about the answer (if one exists).

Few of us have concrete plans that are 95% certain 5 years down the road. Say something like, “I hope to be a partner in a firm like yours or to be in-house with a firm client. What does it take to make partner here?” These days, many associates do not make partner. If you don’t want to make partner, going in-house with a firm client is the next best thing for the firm. Still, asking what it takes to make partner at the firm shows motivation.

22 :: Explain me which of our practice areas interest you and why?

Your interviewers want you to explain to them why you're a good fit for their firm. That means you need to understand what law firms do, what their type of law firm does, what they do well within their category of law firm, and why their strength in a particular area or areas in the law matches your career aspirations.

So you'll need to explain what it is about finance or IP, and the firm's work in the area in particular, that has led you to apply. If you find that you can't identify an actual area of legal practice that grabs you, do more research or think again about a career in the law.

Remember, though, that your interviewers won't be expecting you to be an expert on your chosen area yet, and you don't have to commit to it for the rest of your career - this point of the interview can be a great time to ask some questions of your own, find out more, and clarify your aspirations - you'll be showing your interest is genuine by doing so.

23 :: Explain me do you consider yourself a natural leader or a born follower?

How you answer depends a lot on the job offer you are looking for and the stage you are at in your career. With more professional experience under your belt, you may need to be a bit more thoughtful in your answer. You may want to acknowledge that being a leader requires motivating, disciplining staff, and moulding a team involves a number of delicately tuned skills. You may also want to acknowledge that leadership is a lifelong learning process. To address the learning curve, you should highlight that in integral part of the skills of a leader is to take direction from his or her immediate superior and also to seek the input from the people being supervised.

24 :: Tell us what was the toughest problem you handled this year?

They’re looking for brain cells here. Take the question and run with it. Employers want to see a demonstrated ability to work hard, write well, solve problems, and deliver results. Your answer does not have to be limited to legal or professional problems. Use other challenges you faced, and explain how you overcame them.

Answering Strategy and Options
Professional Challenge: “Recently I researched a controversial contract formation issue arising from a defective letter of intent in a failed corporate acquisition. The question included the laws of three states, which were in conflict, and an acquisition of a $500 million company that was abandoned. The partner wanted to develop a motion for summary judgment, but was uncomfortable with the state of the law in the 9th Circuit. Over three weeks, I spent 95 hours developing a new angle that was incorporated into the briefs that were filed at the end of the summer.”
Personal Challenge: “Ever since college, I have wanted to run a marathon. It was a struggle trying to balance training runs and working at a firm, especially while I was in trial. I also injured my ankle a month before the marathon and was worried I wouldn’t have enough time to recover. However, I remained committed and finally completed my first marathon a few weeks ago. It was definitely physically and mentally intensive throughout the marathon, but I remained focused, stuck to my pace, and finished the marathon within my goal time.”

25 :: Tell us how would you describe a typical day on this team?

Last but not least, this question is more of an icebreaker, and should hopefully lead to some banter between you and the interviewer. If the interviewer relays struggles or frustrations, be sure to note how you will help them reduce their workload and make things better. If they respond positively, be sure to reinforce that you think it sounds like a great fit and you are excited for the opportunity to contribute.

Whether you use one of the above examples or not, please make sure that you have something planned for what you will say when asked this question in your next job interview. Rest assured, the question will be asked. It always is.
Business Lawyer Interview Questions and Answers
61 Business Lawyer Interview Questions and Answers