Interview

17 Legal Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a legal assistant, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Legal assistants support attorneys by performing a variety of tasks, including legal research, preparing legal documents, and maintaining client files. They may also be responsible for scheduling appointments, arranging conference calls, and coordinating with other members of the legal team.

Legal assistant interviews may vary, but most will cover some common ground. Review the following questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Are you familiar with legal terminology?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience with the language of law. Legal assistants often need to understand legal terms and be able to use them in their work. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few specific terms that you are familiar with and explain what they mean.

Example: “I am very familiar with legal terminology. In my last role as a legal assistant, I was responsible for creating many documents using legal jargon. I also had to proofread these documents to ensure there were no errors. I feel confident that I could do both of these tasks well in this position.”

What are your greatest strengths as a legal assistant?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with their team. When answering, think of a few strengths that relate to the job description or the company’s values.

Example: “I am highly organized and detail-oriented, which helps me stay on top of my work. I also have excellent communication skills, so I can explain complex legal concepts to clients and other staff members. Finally, I’m very empathetic, so I always try to put myself in others’ shoes when working on cases.”

How would you describe your work ethic?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your work ethic and how you approach your job. They want to know that you are a hard worker who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. When answering, think of an example from your past where you worked hard on a project or task.

Example: “I have always been someone who approaches my work with a positive attitude. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. In my last position, I was working on a case where we were waiting for some documents to arrive in the mail. I decided to go ahead and start organizing the paperwork so that when the documents arrived, I would be ready to file them away. This helped me stay productive while also saving time later.”

What is your experience with legal software?

Legal assistants often use software to organize case files, create documents and manage calendars. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience using legal software programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Pro. Before your interview, read through the job description to see which software they use. If it’s different than what you’re familiar with, look up tutorials online so you can show them that you are willing to learn new things.

Example: “I’ve used both Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Pro in my previous role as a legal assistant. I found these programs very helpful when organizing client information and creating contracts and other important documents. I also find them useful for managing my calendar and keeping track of deadlines.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to manage a difficult client.

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and stress. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you had to manage a challenging client and the steps you took to resolve the issue.

Example: “I once worked with a client who was very demanding. He would often call me multiple times per day asking for updates on his case. I learned that he felt nervous about the process because he had never hired an attorney before. I tried my best to explain the legal system in terms he could understand. Eventually, he became more comfortable with the process and stopped calling as frequently.”

If you could only take one item to a desert island, what would it be and why?

This question is a way for the interviewer to get to know you as a person. They want to see what kind of person you are and how your personality might fit in with their office culture. Your answer should show that you’re fun, friendly and easy to work with.

Example: “If I could only take one item to a desert island, it would be my phone because I’d use it to call for help. However, if I had to choose between taking my phone or bringing my dog, I’d bring my dog because he’s always happy to see me and he doesn’t need charging.”

What would you do if you noticed an error in a legal document you had drafted?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your attention to detail and how you handle mistakes. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to correct the error and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Example: “If I noticed an error in a legal document I had drafted, I would immediately inform my supervisor so they could fix it before sending it out. If the mistake was minor, I would simply make the correction on the document and send it back to my supervisor for approval. However, if the mistake was more significant, I would have to redraft the entire document. I would then ensure that I corrected the issue so it didn’t happen again.”

How well do you handle criticism?

As a legal assistant, you may be asked to perform tasks that are outside your comfort zone. Employers ask this question to make sure you can take constructive criticism and use it to improve your work. In your answer, share an example of a time when someone gave you feedback on something you did. Explain how you used the information to learn from your mistake.

Example: “When I was in college, I worked as a paralegal for a small law firm. One day, my boss called me into her office because she noticed I had made several mistakes while filing documents. She told me that if I didn’t get better at organizing files, I would have to find another job. After our meeting, I spent extra time practicing filing techniques until I got them right. By the end of the week, I had improved so much that my boss praised me for my hard work.”

Do you prefer working independently or as part of a team?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you might fit into their office culture. It’s important to be honest about your preferences, but it’s also helpful to explain why you feel this way.

Example: “I prefer working independently because I enjoy being able to focus on one task at a time. However, I find that I’m more productive when I work as part of a team. When I worked for my previous employer, I was responsible for organizing all of the documents in our case files. My supervisor would then review them and decide which ones needed to go to the attorneys. This system worked well because we were both able to do what we did best.”

When was the last time you learned something new about the law?

This question can help the interviewer get an idea of your passion for learning and growing as a legal assistant. It also shows them that you’re committed to staying up-to-date on current laws, regulations and procedures. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific about the law that you learned recently.

Example: “I took a continuing education course last year on how to properly file documents with the court system. I found out that there are different ways to do this depending on what type of case you’re working on. This information was very useful in my previous role because we often filed documents with the courts.”

We want to improve our customer service. Tell me about a strategy you would use to improve our customer service levels.

Interviewers ask this question to see if you have any ideas for improving their company’s customer service. This is a great opportunity to show your creativity and problem-solving skills by giving examples of how you would improve the customer experience.

Example: “I think one way we could improve our customer service levels is by having a dedicated team member who handles all incoming calls. I’ve worked in an office where we had a receptionist who answered all incoming calls, which helped us answer questions more quickly and efficiently. It also made it easier for customers to get help because they didn’t have to wait on hold or speak with multiple people.”

Describe your experience with case management.

Case management is a key skill for legal assistants. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with case management software and how well you can use it. In your answer, explain what case management is and describe the type of case management system you’ve used in the past. If you haven’t worked with case management before, talk about another time you organized information or data.

Example: “In my previous position as a legal assistant, I used CasePro to manage cases. This software helped me keep track of all the important details of each case, including client contact information, attorney notes and deadlines. It also allowed me to create folders within the program to organize documents by type. For example, I could put all correspondence into one folder and all financial documents into another.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their law firm. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I have excellent communication skills, which is why I am so passionate about becoming a legal assistant. Throughout my career as a receptionist, I’ve learned how to communicate with many different people in various situations. This has helped me develop strong listening skills and an ability to understand what others are saying. These skills make me a great candidate for this position because they will help me work well with attorneys and clients.”

Which legal areas do you hope to work in?

This question can help interviewers understand your career goals and how you might fit in with their company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few areas of law that interest you and why. This can show the interviewer that you have some knowledge about the field and are passionate about working in it.

Example: “I hope to work in family law one day because I find helping families resolve conflict or create new relationships to be very rewarding. I also enjoy estate planning, as I like making sure people’s wishes are carried out after they pass away. However, I am open to working in any area of law where I can use my skills and contribute to the team.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a legal assistant to possess?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a strong understanding of what it takes to be successful in this role. When answering, consider which skills you feel are most important for success and choose one or two to highlight.

Example: “I think communication skills are essential for legal assistants because we work with attorneys who often have different opinions about cases. I’ve found that being able to communicate effectively can help me resolve issues before they become larger problems. Another skill I find valuable is organization, as I need to keep track of many details at once while working on projects. Finally, I believe attention to detail is also very important, as I am responsible for ensuring all documents meet company standards.”

How often do you perform legal research?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience with legal research. They may ask this to see if you have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform this task for them. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you performed legal research. This can show that you are familiar with how to do it and what resources you used.

Example: “I perform legal research on a regular basis. I usually use Westlaw or LexisNexis to find information about cases or statutes. I also use these databases to find relevant case law or other sources of information. In my last role, I was responsible for performing all of our legal research. I would check both databases daily to make sure we had everything we needed.”

There is a typo in a legal document you drafted. How do you handle it?

Typing errors can be embarrassing, but they are also common. An interviewer may ask this question to see how you handle mistakes and learn from them. In your answer, try to show that you take responsibility for your actions and have a plan for avoiding similar mistakes in the future.

Example: “If I make a typo while drafting a document, I immediately stop what I’m doing and fix it. Then, I save the document as a new version so I can keep track of all changes made throughout the process. If there is time before the client needs the final draft, I will go back through the entire document to check for any other typos or grammatical errors.”

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