5 Common Interview Questions for a Paralegal (With Example Answers)
In order to play an important role in the justice system, paralegals need to have strong personal values and meet strict deadlines. If you want to be a paralegal, think about how you would answer some of the most common questions before your interview. Questions range from those about how to do your job to ones about your morals and the kind of law you want to practice. This article looks at some of the most common paralegal interview questions and gives examples of how to answer them.
What should you expect at an interview for a job as a paralegal?
During a paralegal interview, you will be asked questions to see if you have the skills and drive to do well in the job. To be a paralegal, you need both soft skills, like organization, and hard skills, like an understanding of how things work. With the STAR method, the best answers to the types of questions you’ll see below combine knowledge and experience.
Common questions and answers for paralegal job interviews
Here are some common interview questions and answers that will help you get ready for your next paralegal interview:
Why do you want to work as a legal assistant?
- Tell me how you plan out your day.
- Think about a time when you didn’t meet a deadline. What could you have done differently that would have helped you do better?
- In your own words, what do you think a paralegal’s operational activities are?
- What are the most important skills a paralegal should have, in your opinion?
1.Why do you want to be a legal assistant?
This question is trying to find out what drives you. Everyone’s answer might be different, but a thoughtful answer takes into account each person’s values and goals. After all, the law is based on making decisions, which is something that people can relate to for many different reasons. Before you go to an interview to become a paralegal, take some time to think about why you want to work in the legal field.
Also, a natural question to ask after this one would be, “What kind of law do you feel most comfortable with?” Because of their own experiences and worldviews, some people might be more comfortable with defense than with prosecution, or vice versa. Before you agree to an interview with a paralegal firm, make sure you can talk about how you feel about the type of law they do and why that firm fits with your personal goals and values.
“Being a paralegal appeals to my desire to have a meaningful job that makes a difference in the world. I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives when I work in the justice system. I work for defense lawyers because I believe that everyone has the right to a fair trial, which includes a good defense. Without it, wrongly accused people could be found guilty of crimes they didn’t commit. I feel like I’m making a difference in the world when I work in this field.”
2. Tell me about how you plan your day.
To be a paralegal, you have to be very organized. This kind of question gives you a chance to show how committed you are to the organization and how you’ve used organizational skills in the past to stay focused and ready.
If you’re getting ready for a paralegal interview, this is a question that could be asked about any hard or soft skills that the interviewer thinks are important for daily work. If the interviewer asks you about a skill, you can show that you know how using that skill affects your job in this field. Having an example ready can make your answer stand out in these situations.
“When I worked as a legal assistant before, I used project management software to stay organized and make sure I finished all of my tasks on time. When I first started working at Burke & Dudley, they didn’t have any tools for legal assistants to help them manage projects. I decided to find a free project management tool online and share it with the legal assistant team. We were better at meeting deadlines when we used the project management tool. If you hire me, I will use the same tools and resources if I work for your company.”
3. Think about a time when you didn’t get something done on time. What could you have done differently that would have helped you do better?
If an interviewer asks you to talk about a specific event, it’s because they want to see that you can learn from your mistakes.
In this case, being a paralegal is helpful, but you don’t have to be a paralegal to think about a time you missed a deadline. These types of questions about real-life experiences are meant to be broad so that you can use any experience that shows you understand how important deadlines are and have a good level of critical thinking.
Example: “At Burke & Dudley, I was putting together a large database of case information for an attorney. It was due at the end of the day for a deposition. While I was working on it, another lawyer told me to make slides instead for their deposition. I got so involved in that project that I lost track of time and missed the deadline for my first project. If I could go back in time and do things differently, I would have put the deposition that was coming up soonest at the top of the list and asked for help instead of trying to do everything myself.”
4.In your own words, what are a paralegal’s day-to-day tasks?
When you are asked to describe something “in your own words,” you can show that you understand a complicated topic. This question is meant to make sure you know what a paralegal does every day and that their company fits with what you think a paralegal does.
“A paralegal is a very important member of a lawyer’s legal team. This person needs to be committed, well-organized, and dependable. Paralegals have to pay attention to deadlines and know how to use technology to do research and organize information. These workers may also interview clients or witnesses, look into cases, and gather any information that could help a client win their case.
5. What are the most important skills a paralegal should have, in your opinion?
Answering this question shows that you know the many hard and soft skills that paralegals need and gives you a chance to talk about a time when you used some of those skills.
Most of a paralegal’s skills lie in three areas:
- Skills in office work and research
- Skills I’ve learned on my own
Administrative and research skills are the hard skills that help you do operational tasks well, like being tech-savvy and knowing how to use a database. Soft skills that are personally developed are ones that a person learns on their own, like having strong moral convictions or ethics. It is very important for paralegals who have access to confidential information and case data to keep things private.
Example: “Administrative, technical, organizational, and research skills are needed for paralegals. They should also be quiet and keep things secret. As a legal assistant at Burke & Dudley, I wanted to make sure I could get better at my job. So, I set a goal for myself to learn something new every three months. I learned how to keep the database running, which helped the team. In the end, they made me a paralegal instead of a legal assistant because I wanted to learn new things and grow.