This week, we ask recruitment expert Alex McIntyre, senior consultant at Dolman Legal Search & Recruitment, for advice on how to tackle technical interviews.
Technical interviews are a common part of most law firms' recruitment processes, but answering technical questions in an interview can be quite confronting. Thorough preparation will help you feel more confident and assist you with how you present your answers. However, it is sometimes difficult to know the level of detail you will be expected to go into and what the interviewers will be looking for.
A technical interview will usually involve talking about the issues on a particular matter which is cited on your resume. More often than not, partners are looking for more than your knowledge of the facts and applicable legislation. They want you to demonstrate that you know the law but also that you have a "bigger picture" understanding on why the law has been applied in a certain way. They will want to assess your understanding of your client's objectives, commercial factors and legal strategy.
This can be drawn out through probing questions around applicable provisions of legislation, the documents you drafted and why they were drafted in a certain way, why a transaction was structured as it was or why a particular course of action was taken.
The best way to prepare is to ensure that you go through your resume and refresh yourself on the matters you have worked on with the above in mind. Be prepared to talk, in detail, about at least two significant matters you have worked on. Refresh yourself on the relevant law, what you did on each matter and why you did it - right down to the documents you drafted and why you drafted them in the manner you did. If you are unsure why a matter was structured in a certain way or why a particular course of action was taken, then ask more experienced lawyers in your network.
Preparing to demonstrate the depth of your knowledge, beyond just knowing the facts and issues, will leave you feeling confident and ready for anything the interviewers may ask, enabling you to set yourself apart from other applicants.