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Hardest Law School Interview Questions and Answers

Law Application & Interview Preparation Specialists

Interviews for law school can require a breadth of knowledge and attributes. Here, we present 10 of the most difficult questions and answers suitable for candidates to top law schools in the UK or US.

Understanding of and Motivation for Law

What recent developments in the world of commerce have interested you?

Something that has drawn my interest recently which I feel hasn’t been reported on as widely as one would expect is the Chinese high-speed railway debt. Whilst Evergrande is much-publicised, and people are aware of China’s HSR, the amount of debt that the state owned rail companies have got into is little known. Debt began to accrue in 2018, when operators began to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, with the least profitable operator losing 1.8B. However, profitable routes at this point covered a significant amount of loss. It should be noted that a huge amount of borrowing had been undertaken in order to finance the construction of the railroads. Since 2015, the CRC (China Railroad Company) has faced interest payments higher than its operating profits. This issue has been compounded by COVID, and if the pandemic were to hit China again, it would be compounded further. I find this story to be a fascinating one. We could see China’s ambitious plans – like its ‘new Silk Road,’ the Belt and Road, fall into ruin – or we could see the country’s state-run corporations find a way to continue payments on the HSR, and new initiatives blossom.

What qualities should lawyers have?

All lawyers will rely on certain attributes, or qualities. I believe that core amongst these attributes are being professional, being organised, being able to solve problems, having integrity, and being hard-working. Being professional should be apparent – it is a challenging vocation that requires excellent behaviour when interacting with clients, the firm, other firms, etc. In order to succeed, you will need to be organised, as there will be a significant amount of work, deadlines, meetings, etc. Problem-solving will see you able to work quickly and efficiently, and deal with issues as they arise. Integrity goes hand-in-hand with professionalism – you will need integrity to take on deals with clients and remain impartial, maintain confidentiality, not act on particular information, etc. Lastly, you will need to be hard-working – willing to put in long hours when required, and go above and beyond the call of duty.

What are the negative aspects of law from a professional standpoint?

One of the most significant negative aspects of law is the demanding workload and long hours that are required to succeed in the field. Lawyers frequently have demanding schedules, which can be stressful and lead to burnout if not managed properly. Another negative aspect of law is the potential for ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest – lawyers are held to high ethical standards and must balance their obligations to their clients with their duty to the court and the legal profession. This can create challenging situations where lawyers must make difficult decisions that can impact their reputation and standing in the legal community. Lastly, the legal profession can be highly competitive and challenging, with a steep learning curve for new lawyers. The pressure to perform at a high level can be intense, and – as with the workload – could lead to burnout.

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Personal Qualities & Attributes

What makes you unique?

I believe that one’s uniqueness is simply a combination of their traits – so in my case, the traits that I would highlight would be my empathy, my drive, and my ability to communicate with others. I truly believe that I am an exceptionally empathetic individual, and that this is borne out by the positions of responsibility that I have held throughout school, that my drive is rare – as is borne out by my taking 12 GCSEs and 5 A levels, for example – and that my communication skills are also exceptional. I would argue that these traits combined make me unique in the context of applying to Law – perhaps I would highlight other traits in other contexts, of course.

Why are good teams important?

I would approach this question from two sides. I would consider first how good teams are important for their own members, and secondly how they are important for their ability to drive success. Considering the first part, I would highlight that good teams are important because they actively support those within them, they create a space that allows good leaders to lead well, and they promote success for all team members. They create a positive culture. Considering the second part, I would highlight that a good team is an effective team. Through empathy and efficient communication, through clear goal setting and clear roles, and through motivation, a good team is able to deliver on its goals – which it will have set out in an effective manner. These goals will benefit not just the team, but the wider context in which it operates.

When have you shown cultural awareness?

I showed cultural awareness during my role as a volunteer at a local old people’s home through my school years. The role was important to take on for me due to my own grandmother being put in such a home. The home was in a predominantly South Asian community, with many residents being Indian and Pakistani. I found the experience of looking after those from other backgrounds to be very interesting and rewarding, and was able to learn a huge amount from them. The other volunteers, as well as the staff, were also predominantly from South Asia, which gave me great experience in working alongside those from other cultures. In order to best care for those residing in the care home, I had to empathise with them and understand their cultures and beliefs, and what those beliefs meant that they would want or need.

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Work Experience & Working with Others

Describe a situation when you managed a conflict.

In one of my classes in my final year of school, two students would often become aggressive with each other. They had very differing views. I was put in a project group with both of them. I therefore had to find a way to manage the conflict between them. I spoke to each of them in private the same morning, before we all had a meeting set. I used open questions and was empathic, and found out what bothered each of them about the other. At the meeting I said to both that I had spoken to the other party, and was honest with them – I said that I had done so out of a desire for our team to work together well. They understood this, and were embarrassed that their attitudes had necessitated such an action on my part. They apologised to each other and were able to work together well from then on. 

When did you take constructive criticism?

I gave a presentation in my final year of school that I thought was excellent. It was for a literary criticism course. However, the teacher gave me mixed feedback, and said that my speech was slightly too fast, and that I had tried to deliver too much content in too short a space of time. I was initially irritated when I received the feedback, but then realised that it was justified. I therefore took steps to work on the feedback when I next had a presentation. I tried to be more succinct, highlight key points, and deliver the content in a slower and more easily-understood manner. I was rewarded with much better feedback in my next presentation, and was happy that I had taken the criticism on board and learnt from it. Since then, my presentations have been very well-marked and well-understood. 

What is the best team that you have worked in?

To decide what would be the best team, I need to first define what makes a great team. I would define a great team as one that has clearly defined roles, a strong leader who understands their team, people that take responsibility for their actions, honesty in the team, and solid communication. I was selected to be part of a team that would represent our school at a student summit, which had students from across the world debating a range of issues. The team from my school would attend and debate issues with others. I was proud to be selected, and found that the team worked fantastically together. We were all clear communicators, and set out clear goals from the outset. We ensured that everyone had a well-defined role, and that we could all ask for help from one another whenever we needed it. We were led by one of my school’s deputy head teachers, who was inspirational and empathetic, and who we all felt we could speak to about any problem. 

Have you ever faced difficulties whilst working as a leader?

I faced difficulties while working as a leader when I volunteered to lead a project in my final year of school. The project involved our group presenting findings in front of a judging panel, and we went up against students from other schools. It was therefore important to both us and our teacher – and the school – that we excelled. However, one student became very ill in the period before the presentation. He was vital to the team, as he was in charge of one of the sections of the presentation, and very knowledgeable. We were a team of six. I sensed that his illness had worried the others in the team, and they were becoming less motivated. I therefore spoke to the teacher as soon as I could, and outlined the situation. He suggested that we find a replacement. Together, we found another student to join the project who was a suitable last-minute replacement. It was a great fit and we were able to develop a strong presentation that saw us receive the highest reward.

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