5 Common Paralegal Interview Questions with Answers

When preparing for an interview for a paralegal position, anticipate questions to be directed towards your organizational, research, writing, decision-making and analytical skills. In addition, equip yourself with examples of your experience handling confidential and sensitivegoogle information, time management techniques, and work ethic.   

Below is a list of commonly asked interview questions for paralegals. I have given general answers that can be tailored to your experience.  Go into specifics with your interviewer. For example, instead of mentioning that you use " legal software" to track hearings and depositions, mention the name of the software,  what it does, and how you utilize it so that the interviewer is made aware of the various skills you have. 

1. The legal profession can be very stressful at times, and you may often find yourself dealing with attorneys or clients who are behaving in an angry or unreasonable way. Please describe how you would deal with such a situation.
I take pride in my ability to present a calm and professional demeanor even in tense situations. Along with this, I do my best to find constructive solutions to the issue that is causing the problem. When employers and clients see that I understand the urgency of their problem and am doing my best to resolve it, this often defuses the situation. My approach is to do the best job I can under all circumstances. (Staying calm under pressure is important in the legal field!)

2. What steps do you take to keep up to date with legal developments in your field?

As a real estate paralegal, I make sure to peruse the relevant rulings in our local law journal. In addition, I regularly pursue professional education opportunities, including conferences and webinars. If, in the course of my job, I do encounter a concept I am not fully familiar with, I make sure to educate myself as soon as possible.  (This can be adapted to any niche you are working in.)

3. What are some ways in which you have contributed to the efficiency of your firm’s operation?

At my previous place of employment, I assembled a set of sample document packets for various types of cases and stages of litigation, from initial filings to trial preparation. This has enabled other paralegals and attorneys to reduce the amount of time spent writing up a document in which large parts consist of fairly standard language. At the same time, I reviewed the sample documents to ensure that they are of high quality and up to date in order to avoid the problem encountered in many firms where older document samples continue to be passed along without review or modification. (Make your answer your own and really show off your accomplishments in the efficiency arena.)

4. Can you tell me about a time when you had to interact with a difficult client?

One incident that comes to mind is when a client was very unhappy with the way his attorney was handling the case but not unhappy enough to leave the firm. This client would constantly look up legal information on the internet, which often proved inaccurate or incomplete, and would insist that the attorney use it to handle the case. As the paralegal, it often fell to me to interact with this client and explain why his attorney’s recommendations made the most sense. I had to employ a lot of diplomacy in order to ensure that the client felt heard and understood, while at the same time persuade him of the correct course of action. Eventually, the client came to trust his attorney’s handling of his case and was ultimately satisfied with the outcome. (Solving difficult situations is an important part of a paralegals job, and its a skill we use in several situations.)

5. What steps do you take in order to manage your workload and meet deadlines?

I use paralegal software to organize my cases and make a timeline for deadlines and priorities for each case. At the beginning and end of each day, I take a few minutes to review my current workload, add any changes and input new tasks. This allows me to constantly have in mind the total picture of my work obligations and ensures that tasks or projects do not fall through the cracks. (Be sure to tell the interviewer how you personally manage and track your time.)

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