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Good questions to ask after a VS/TC interview? watch

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    I never really know what to ask! Anything I want to know, i've already found through a bit of research!

    Any pointers?
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    Appropriate questions are ones which are tailored and firm specific.

    (E.g.) US law firm - Questions about London/European strategy, levels of autonomy from HQ, partnership prospects, volume of office vs. firm derived work normally go down well.

    Magic Circle Law firm - New Markets (particularly the US) and weathering the economic downturn (spun in a positive way)

    Ultimately however, if your interview has gone really well, the best responses are those you are generally curious to know the answer to, and have emerged out of your interview with the partner/associate/GR/panel etc.

    But do ask questions at the end of your interview. If worst comes to worse, ask a question relating to the firms approach to training its trainee/NQ solicitors. Although make sure its a question that isn't clearly obvious after 20 minutes of reading the firms website.
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    ITs very hard to say generically because it really depends on the firm. Try to ask something interesting and firm specific, rather than something generic. For example, one of the firms I applied to won an award for diversity. I asked them why they think diversity is so important and what they are doing to attract applicants from a wide variety of social backgrounds. Another good option might be to ask something specific about the practices of the partners interviewing you, though if you aren't told in advance you'll need to think of this on the spot once the partners tell you where they practice.
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    (Original post by sak-y)
    I never really know what to ask! Anything I want to know, i've already found through a bit of research!

    Any pointers?
    The opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview isn't just a chance for you to fill in some gaps in your knowledge of the firm. It's also another chance for you to shine.

    Many of the questions that Redeyejedi suggests will do just that - you might not care about a firm's European strategy, but it shows that you know something of the way law firms work and how that particular law firm is structured.

    Don't be afraid to ask some of the hard questions. When I was assisting with interviews for vac schemes, a couple of candidates asked about how the firm intended to cope with the defection of a group of high profile partners to a rival firm. It was a sore spot for the remaining partners, including the one interviewing. However, it showed that the individual was up to date with recent events (in the days before the legal press was readily available on the internet!), wanted to know how the firm was going to deal with a blow to its profitability (and ego) and wasn't scared of asking a potentially embarassing question.

    A nice trick can be to turn around a question asked of you in an interview. If you're asked the usual "Where do you see yourself in 5 years time" then, at the end of the interview, you might ask "Earlier, you asked me where I saw myself in 5 years. How about the firm? Where does [Freshfields] see itself in that timeframe?". Or, if you're asked about the financial crisis and how law firms are going to cope, then fire the question back at them. It shows that the interview hasn't been one terrible blur for you and that you're able to turn the tables slightly. Plus, you might get a fabulous answer you can store away for another interview! If you're feeling confident, and have been asked the "Why do you want to join Freshfields?" question, then you might ask them "If I was offered a TC with you, why should I accept?" or "What do you think sets you apart from firms XYZ?".

    Finally, you can use the opportunity to improve an earlier answer. This can be risky but, if done well, is impressive. Let's say you know you stuffed up a previous question and now realise you could have said something differently, or forgot to mention something. There's nothing wrong with saying "Earlier, you asked me to talk about an achievement I was most proud of. I told you about scoring a C* in my GCSE woodwork. Now I think about it, you might be interested to know about the time I abseiled down the North Face of the Eiger carrying my injured fellow climber on my back, demonstrating fortitude, determination, team-work and outstanding leadership. All of which I believe are skills necessary for a City lawyer..."

    I'm being facetious, but you get the point. Turning back to an earlier question like that demonstrates a degree of confidence and calmness. It shows you're not desperate to bolt from the interview room and that you're not particularly concerned that you didn't nail the answer first time round.

    Please try and avoid asking the really mundane questions. "Are there opportunities to travel?" suggests you would rather be on a gap year than starting work as a lawyer. "Do you do much pro bono work?" might imply that corporate law isn't exactly what you want to do. "What's the work/life balance like?" in the context of a City firm might suggest that you're labouring under the misapprehension that you'll be going home at 6pm each day...
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    Thank you for the replies everyone - they've been really helpful!

    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    Another good option might be to ask something specific about the practices of the partners interviewing you, though if you aren't told in advance you'll need to think of this on the spot once the partners tell you where they practice.

    What sort of things would you ask specifically about a practice area?
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    (Original post by chalks)
    If you're feeling confident, and have been asked the "Why do you want to join Freshfields?" question, then you might ask them "If I was offered a TC with you, why should I accept?" or "What do you think sets you apart from firms XYZ?".
    I'm not sure about this bit. Any candidate should already have their own fully-fledged answers to these questions, so asking an interviewer could reflect badly on you. They're questions you shouldn't have to ask really.
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    (Original post by greatphilosopher)
    I'm not sure about this bit. Any candidate should already have their own fully-fledged answers to these questions, so asking an interviewer could reflect badly on you. They're questions you shouldn't have to ask really.
    You're asking them, as the partners of the firm you're interviewing at, what they think sets them apart from the competition. Those views may be totally different to the thoughts you have. As such, I think it's a valid question.

    I've seen candidates ask the question, and I think it works well.
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    I've been most successful in interviews where I have asked more personalised questions, personal to my circumstances. For example, if you've put lots of volunteering/pro bono on your application, you could ask about opportunities to do similar schemes at the firm (obvs not if its already been discussed). Firms love talking about pro bono :yes: xx
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    I'd love to see a statistic on the percentage of people who ask a question and those who don't who obtain vac scheme or training contract.

    I'm pretty sure it's somewhat a courtesy to ask - as someone who has just done a presentation would do. I'm also pretty sure if you genuinely felt you understood the firm and process sufficiently there would be no harm in having no question(s) to ask at the end.

    (Original post by Mensaka)
    Hi everyone and thanks to those who have given some really helpful replies above.

    I have a slightly more specific question along the same lines as the OP. Do you think that it is ok to ask the interviewer questions as you go along? E.g. if I'm talking about having done voluntary work, to ask if they have got involved with pro-bono? It just seems a little artificial to leave all the questions to the end when a lot of firms call their interview 'a discussion with a purpose'.
    Something to judge there and then - although I'd say no. It carries some risk with it. Most law firms will schedule aside a certain amount of time such as 15-30 minutes for the interview as they have more to do and obviously dont want their staff distracted for longer than necessary with interviews. If you end up hogging too much of that time and they fail to ask you key competence questions it'll likely be held against you as they've failed to extra the information they needed to confirm your ability to meet their criteria.

    I'd save the as-you-go-along questions to opening days/evenings.
 
 
 
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