Hardest Articling Interview Questions

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The following are difficult questions that you should be ready to answer in your Articling Interviews. You can find more questions, all with model answers, in our online course and question bank.

Describe a time when you made a mistake or failed at something. How did you handle it?

During my second year of law school, I underestimated the complexity of a research assignment and didn’t allocate enough time to complete it thoroughly. As a result, I received a lower grade than I had hoped for. Initially, I felt disappointed and frustrated with myself. However, I quickly realized that dwelling on the mistake wouldn’t change the outcome.

Instead, I took responsibility for my actions, reached out to my professor for feedback, and developed a plan to improve my time management and attention to detail on future assignments. I also learned the importance of asking for help when needed and not being afraid to admit when I’m struggling. This experience ultimately taught me valuable lessons about resilience, adaptability, and the growth that can come from failure.

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How would you handle a situation where you were asked to do something unethical by a senior colleague or client?

If I were asked to do something unethical, my first step would be to clarify the request and ensure I fully understand the situation. If it’s clearly unethical or illegal, I would respectfully but firmly explain my concerns and why I cannot comply with the request. I would cite relevant ethical rules or legal principles to support my position. If the situation is more ambiguous, I would seek guidance from a trusted mentor or supervisor to discuss the best course of action. Ultimately, my ethical obligations and personal integrity must come first.

I’m committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and would not compromise my values, even if it means potentially losing a client or facing pushback from a colleague. I believe that maintaining ethical conduct is essential to preserving the integrity of the legal profession and serving the best interests of clients and society.

Imagine you're working on a complex case and you're struggling to understand a key legal concept. What would you do?

If I were struggling to understand a key legal concept, my first step would be to review my notes and any relevant course materials or textbooks to see if I can clarify the concept on my own. If I’m still having trouble, I would reach out to a colleague, mentor, or supervisor for guidance. I’m not afraid to ask questions or admit when I’m struggling, as I believe seeking help is a sign of strength and a commitment to learning.

I would also research any additional resources, such as legal databases or practice guides, to supplement my understanding. If necessary, I would request a meeting with the assigning attorney to discuss the concept in more depth and ensure I’m on the right track. I’m committed to taking the initiative to fill any gaps in my knowledge and to producing the highest quality work product for clients.

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Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult colleague or team member?

During a group project in law school, I had to work with a teammate who had a very different communication style and work approach than I did. At first, we struggled to find common ground and had some misunderstandings that led to tension within the team. I recognized that our inability to work together effectively was impacting the quality of our project. I took the initiative to have an open and honest conversation with my teammate, focusing on active listening and trying to understand their perspective.

We identified our strengths and weaknesses as a team and developed a plan to leverage our individual skills while also compromising and adapting to each other’s working styles. Through regular check-ins and a commitment to clear, respectful communication, we were able to improve our collaboration and ultimately produce a successful project. This experience taught me the importance of adaptability, empathy, and open communication in navigating challenging team dynamics.

Why should we hire you over other qualified candidates?

I believe my unique combination of skills, experiences, and passion for the law make me a strong candidate for this articling position. Throughout my legal education, I have consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and ability to think critically and analytically. My experience in [X, Y, Z] has given me practical, hands-on exposure to the legal field and has honed my research, writing, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, my involvement in [extracurricular activities or community involvement] has further developed my interpersonal, leadership, and time management abilities. Beyond my technical qualifications, I am genuinely excited about the opportunity to contribute to your firm and to learn from experienced mentors. I am confident that my adaptability, eagerness to learn, and commitment to excellence will allow me to thrive in this role and add value to your team. I am passionate about building a career in law and am dedicated to making a positive impact through my work. If given the opportunity, I will bring my full effort, enthusiasm, and skill set to this articling position and strive to exceed expectations.

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