17 Managing Attorney Interview Questions and Answers

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

As a managing attorney, you are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the work that goes on in your law firm. This includes supervising the work of other attorneys, managing client relationships, and ensuring that all work is completed in a timely fashion.

To be successful in this position, you need to be able to think on your feet and be able to answer a range of questions during your job interview. This guide will help you prepare for some of the most common interview questions for managing attorneys.

Are you comfortable managing a team of attorneys?

Managing a team of attorneys is an important part of this role. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the confidence and skills necessary for managing others. In your answer, explain that you are comfortable with this responsibility because you have done it before. Share one or two examples of how you managed a team in the past.

Example: “I am very comfortable managing a team of attorneys. I’ve been doing it for five years now. When I first started out as an attorney, I was managing a team of three other attorneys. We worked together on many cases and learned from each other. Now, I manage a team of six attorneys who work under me. I feel confident in my ability to lead them and help them grow.”

What are some of the most important qualities for an effective managing attorney?

This question can help interviewers understand your perspective on what it takes to be a successful managing attorney. When answering this question, you can discuss the qualities that are most important to you and how they’ve helped you succeed in your career so far.

Example: “I believe one of the most important qualities for an effective managing attorney is being able to communicate effectively with others. I have found that when working as a managing attorney, there are many different people who need information from me or want my input on various projects. Being able to clearly explain ideas and respond to questions has been helpful in making sure everyone understands what’s expected of them.”

How would you manage a situation where two of your attorneys are not getting along?

Managing attorneys must be able to resolve conflicts among their staff. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with conflict resolution and how you would handle it. In your answer, explain the steps you would take to solve the problem. Show that you can use your interpersonal skills to help two employees work together more effectively.

Example: “I would first try to understand why they are not getting along. I would then meet with both of them separately to discuss the issue. If one attorney is causing problems for the other, I would talk to that person about his or her behavior. If the conflict is due to a personality clash, I would encourage both parties to find ways to get along better. If there is an actual problem between the two, such as one employee stealing from another, I would address the situation immediately.”

What is your process for managing a large case load?

Managing a large case load is one of the most important responsibilities for an attorney. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience managing multiple cases at once and can prioritize your work effectively. In your answer, explain how you plan out your day and manage your time so that you’re able to complete all of your tasks on time.

Example: “I usually start my day by reviewing my calendar for the week. I then look over each client’s file and decide which ones are due for court dates or depositions. After that, I create a list of priorities based on what needs to be done first. I try to get the most urgent matters completed as soon as possible so that I can focus on other tasks later in the day.”

Provide an example of a time when you provided constructive feedback to an attorney who was struggling to complete their work on time.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you handle challenging situations. Use your answer to highlight your communication and problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to help others improve their performance.

Example: “In my previous role, I had an attorney who was a great lawyer but struggled with meeting deadlines. At first, I tried to give them gentle reminders about the importance of submitting work on time, however, it didn’t seem to have much of an effect. Eventually, I scheduled a one-on-one meeting with the attorney to discuss the issue further. During our conversation, I learned that they were overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to complete each day. I offered to help them find ways to manage their workload better so they could meet all of their deadlines.”

If an attorney on your team was accused of misconduct, what would your investigation process look like?

An interviewer may ask this question to understand how you would handle a challenging situation. Your answer should show that you can lead your team through difficult circumstances and make the best decisions for the firm.

Example: “If an attorney on my team was accused of misconduct, I would first meet with them privately to discuss the allegations. If they admitted to any wrongdoing, I would immediately report it to our HR department so we could take appropriate action. If they denied the accusations, I would conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. I would interview all relevant parties involved in the case and review any documents or evidence that might be related to the incident.”

What would you do if a case you were working on required knowledge outside of the typical areas of law that your attorneys specialized in?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach challenges and solve problems. Use examples from your experience to show that you are willing to learn new skills or take on additional responsibilities when necessary.

Example: “When I was working as a paralegal, I helped my attorney with a case where we needed to know more about patents and trademarks. At first, it seemed like an overwhelming task because none of us had ever worked on a case involving those areas of law before. However, we decided to research the topic together so we could all learn about it at the same time. We were able to successfully complete the case.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

Managing attorneys often have to make important decisions quickly. Employers ask this question to see if you can handle pressure well and still perform your job effectively. In your answer, share a time when you had to make an important decision under pressure. Explain what steps you took to ensure you made the best choice possible.

Example: “I am able to perform well under pressure because I always prepare for my meetings and presentations. When I know exactly what I’m going to say, it helps me feel more confident in front of others. I also try to remain calm during stressful situations. If something unexpected happens, I take a few moments to think through my options before making a final decision.”

Do you have experience managing budgets for legal departments?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your experience with managing budgets and financials. They want to know if you have the skills necessary to manage their department’s budget, which can be a large responsibility for an attorney in management. In your answer, explain how you would handle the task of creating and monitoring a legal department’s budget.

Example: “I’ve worked on several projects that involved working with budgets. I understand the importance of staying within a budget while still providing quality work. When I create a budget, I first look at the current spending levels and compare them to industry standards. Then, I set goals for the department based on those numbers. I also hold monthly meetings where we discuss our progress toward reaching our goals.”

When is it appropriate to seek outside counsel?

As a managing attorney, you may need to make decisions that affect the entire firm. However, there are times when it’s appropriate to seek outside counsel on certain matters. This question allows you to demonstrate your decision-making skills and ability to collaborate with others.

Example: “I would only seek outside counsel if I felt my expertise was lacking in a particular area or if I needed an unbiased opinion. For example, if I had a client who was facing criminal charges, I might ask another attorney for their thoughts on how we should proceed. In this situation, I would want someone who has experience working with clients who have been charged with crimes.”

We want to improve our attorney training programs. What training programs or initiatives would you implement if hired?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you would implement change within the organization. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a specific training program that helped you develop as an attorney or explain what you would do differently from past training programs.

Example: “I think one of the most important things we can do for our attorneys is provide them with regular feedback on their performance. I’ve found that providing constructive criticism regularly helps lawyers improve their work and understand what they need to do to succeed in their roles. Another thing I would like to do is create a mentorship program where senior attorneys mentor junior attorneys. This could help new hires feel more comfortable in their roles and give them someone to turn to when they have questions.”

Describe your process for reviewing case files and assigning them to attorneys on your team.

The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how you manage your team and the workload. Your answer should include a step-by-step process for reviewing case files, assigning them to attorneys on your team and communicating with your team members about their assignments.

Example: “I start by reading through each document in the case file to get an overview of the entire situation. Then I assign cases based on my knowledge of each attorney’s expertise and experience level. For example, if I have two new associates who are still learning the ropes, I’ll give them smaller cases that they can handle without much assistance from me or other attorneys. As they gain more experience, I’ll assign them larger cases that require more time and attention.”

What makes you stand out from other attorneys in your field?

This question can help interviewers understand what makes you unique and how your skills, experience or personality make you a valuable asset to their law firm. When answering this question, it can be helpful to highlight some of your most important qualifications that relate to the job description.

Example: “I have been practicing law for five years now, but I am still passionate about learning new things in my field. In fact, I recently completed an online course on patent law because I wanted to expand my knowledge of intellectual property rights. This is something that sets me apart from other attorneys because I want to continue growing as a professional so I can provide the best service possible to clients.”

Which legal areas do you most want to specialize in?

This question can help the interviewer understand your career goals and how they align with the open position. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific area of law that you enjoy working in or have experience in.

Example: “I am passionate about family law, especially when it comes to helping parents get custody of their children. I find it rewarding to see clients leave my office happy after getting good news from the court. In my last role, I helped several families get sole custody of their kids, which was very fulfilling.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of attorney-client communication?

This question is an opportunity to show your communication skills and how you can help clients feel comfortable. You can highlight the importance of attorney-client confidentiality, but also emphasize that you are a person who listens and helps clients understand their options.

Example: “I think it’s important for attorneys to maintain strict confidentiality with their clients. It’s our job to explain complex legal issues in ways that make sense to our clients so they can make informed decisions about their cases. I always try to be available to answer questions or concerns my clients have, even if it means staying late at the office.”

How often should attorneys meet to discuss their progress on cases?

Managing attorneys often need to meet with their teams of attorneys to discuss case progress and other important matters. Interviewers may ask this question to learn about your meeting frequency preferences. In your answer, explain how you decide when to hold meetings and what factors influence that decision.

Example: “I believe it’s important for managing attorneys to regularly check in with their teams on case progress. I usually try to have a weekly status meeting where we can go over the most recent developments and any challenges our team is facing. This helps me ensure that all my attorneys are making steady progress on cases and gives us an opportunity to brainstorm solutions to common problems. It also allows me to provide support and guidance as needed.”

There is a conflict between two attorneys on your team. How do you handle it?

Managing attorneys often have to resolve conflicts between their team members. Employers ask this question to see if you can use your leadership skills to help your employees work together and achieve the same goals. In your answer, explain how you would handle the situation and what steps you would take to ensure everyone on your team is working well together.

Example: “I would first speak with both of them individually to find out what happened. I would then schedule a meeting with all three of us present so that we could discuss the issue in person. If it was an ongoing problem, I would consider moving one of them to another department or giving them a performance review.”


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