Typical paralegal interview questions with excellent sample interview answers.
Paralegals are found in many types of organizations including law firms, corporate legal departments and government offices.
Paralegals and legal assistants work in many different areas of the law including corporate law, criminal law, labor law, family law, real estate and litigation.
Paralegal interview questions and answers
These interview questions explore the core competencies required by a successful paralegal regardless of the area of specialization.
1. What are the most important skills for a paralegal?
In your paralegal interview answer include the following paralegal skills:
- organization and planning
- research and analytical skills
- writing skills
- judgment and decision-making skills
- attention to detail
- strong communication skills
- patience and perseverance
- confidentiality and sensitivity
2. What tools and methods do you use for the day to day organization and planning of your work?
Describe the systems you use to stay organized.
- How do you prioritize your workload?
- How do you plan and schedule your work tasks and activities?
- How do you stay focused and productive despite interruptions and conflicting demands on your time?
This is a good opportunity to highlight the paralegal software you are familiar with such as Lexis/Nexis, Concordance, CaseMap.
3. Give me an example of having to organize large volumes of data in order to prepare a report by a tight deadline.
A paralegal must research and analyze volumes of data in order to prepare written reports and summaries. They also have to be able to work under pressure.
- Describe the steps you took, using a specific example, to identify key issues from a base of information.
- Highlight how you applied relevant legal principals to the facts in your analysis of the information.
4. Tell me about a time you had to interact with a difficult client.
You represent the company to the public and your ability to act professionally at all times is important. Discuss the specific techniques you use to handle a difficult interaction including:
- staying calm
- getting all the necessary facts and information
- discussing options and coming to agreement
5. Describe a complex legal decision you had to make. Take me through the process you took to reach your decision.
As a paralegal you need to be able to make sound decisions independently.
- gathering all relevant information and pertinent facts
- generating and exploring good alternatives
- selecting the best alternative and checking the decision
Focus on presenting a logical and systematic decision-making process.
6. Tell me about your experience dealing with confidential and sensitive information.
A paralegal needs to use tact and diplomacy when dealing with sensitive and confidential issues and situations. Provide a specific example.
7. How do you check the accuracy of your work?
- Highlight your attention to detail and your focus on all areas involved in the task no matter how small.
- Describe the systems and processes you use to check your work for accuracy and completeness.
8. Why are you the right person for this job?
Focus on what you can do for the organization – your legal knowledge, abilities, legal experience and skills.
Highlight your particular strengths such as:
- analytical ability
- specialist knowledge
- research skills
Highlight how they meet the needs of the job. Give examples of your past experience that relate directly to this job.
9. Why did you choose to become a paralegal? Why did you choose to specialize in this area of the law?
In your paralegal interview be convincing about your passion for the law.
- A paralegal position offers an opportunity to participate meaningfully in the legal process.
- It allows you to think critically and analytically and to optimize your communication skills.
- As a paralegal you will be constantly learning and growing.
Look at your particular specialization – litigation, criminal, corporate, insurance, family law etc – and consider what it is about the specific demands of the job that you enjoy?
Top paralegal interview tips
- A clear understanding of the paralegal role and responsibilities will help you articulate your interview answers and impress the employer. These detailed descriptions of paralegal duties for different areas of specialization will help you.
- Do your preparation. Use your company research during the paralegal interview to convince the company that you are a serious and committed candidate.
- Expect questions in your paralegal interview that explore your legal training and qualifications and knowledge. Show how your training has prepared you for this specific job.
- Direct your interview answers to what you know about the organization and the position and relate your expertise to their needs. The detailed information at what does a paralegal do? can help with this.
- Prepare for common interview questions using the sample interview answers.
- Prepare for behavioral questions in your paralegal interview. These behavioral interview answers show you what is required from you.
- Have some smart questions ready to ask the employer. List of interview questions to ask
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