Interviewing for a legal assistant position is not very different from applying for other jobs. As with any job interview, you should be well prepared, present yourself effectively, and make sure you leave a pretty good impression on your interviewer. However, there are some key points that you have to remember if you want to increase your chances of landing a legal assistant position. Below are some helpful tips for a successful interview.
Do your homework
Before your interview, it is important that you do some research about the organization and gather information on the company’s background, performances and future plans. Find out all that you can about the company through personal contacts, written materials, or the internet. It is also best to know the biographies, accomplishments and legal practices of the attorneys that you might be working with in the future. During the interview, you should ask relevant questions to show your interviewer that you have indeed done sufficient research about the company. Also, make sure you find out what kind of law the company is specializing in. For example, if the position of legal assistant is for real estate law, you should have some knowledge about closings and real estate law.
Refresh your memory
Most people tend to forget certain terminologies over time. It’s either you have been out of work for a long time, or simply don’t encounter all the technical or legal terminologies in your previous or current job. It’s time to go back to your old notes and books, and refresh your memory with some of the legal terminologies that the interviewer may use during the interview.
Wear appropriate business attire
You should wear the appropriate business attire. Though law firms have casual business attire, it is still advisable to look presentable during your interview. Prepare the relevant materials that you will need to take with you, like a complete portfolio containing copies of your resume, transcript of records, certifications, references, and other pertinent materials that show your accomplishments. In addition, make sure that you have a pen and a piece of paper with you so that you can take down notes during the interview.
Be on time
Show your enthusiasm to join the company and let your interviewer know that you are very interested in what they do and what they can offer. In the legal world, time is very important. Never arrive late for your interview; you should make it a point to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will show the interviewer that you are serious about the job you are applying for.
Stress on your best qualities and always stay calm
Try to present yourself as a person who is helpful, thoughtful and trustworthy. Bear in mind that legal assistants are required to keep confidential business information, so being prudent is very important. Remember to maintain eye contact at all times, listen attentively to the interviewer’s questions and take time to organize your thoughts. Make sure you take part in an interesting conversation about the firm, your work, and yourself. Relax and stay calm throughout the interview.
Relate qualifications to the need of the company
When you are asked questions about your qualifications or experience as a legal assistant, you should direct your answers to what you know about the company, and relate your strengths and accomplishments to the needs of the company. Give specific examples of your credentials as a legal assistant, and if possible, give a complete account of the different projects you have done in the past, your responsibilities in those projects and the importance of those projects to your position as a legal assistant in your previous working environments.
Do not pass judgment on your former employer
Never say anything awful about your current or previous employers. Always keep in mind that the legal world is very small. Who knows, the person you are spiteful of may be a friend or relative of your interviewer.
Show interest in the position you are applying for
As the interview comes to a close, you should let your interviewer know that you are very much fascinated with the position that the company is offering and inquire about the next step that you will need to take to complete your legal assistant position application. It is also good to ask when you can expect to hear from them about your application. At the same time, don’t forget to shoot a thank you email within 24 hours after your interview.