Not all law schools conduct interviews, but some will, generally over the phone or Skype. While law school interviews are usually very short, you should keep these 5 tips in mind.
1. Identify new accomplishments. If you have anything new to add to what is already in your application, you should mention it in your interview. This includes any new awards, publications, or leadership roles. Don’t talk about grades (although it is fine to discuss a thesis project or something similar).
2. Don’t repeat your resume. One of the biggest mistakes applicants make in interviews is running through their resume in a chronological order. That’s not what the interviewer is looking for. You can be assured that once you are at the interview stage, the admissions committee had already decided your experiences and qualifications make you a potential fit. Now, the school is trying to assess your commitment to the school and your personality. Instead of giving your accomplishments, give the interviewer a story about something you’ve done or learned during one of your experiences.
3. Don’t sound too scripted. Don’t write out answers to interview questions or sound too stiff. Practice enough, but not so much that it sounds as if you were reciting a script.
4. Do connect to the law school’s mission. You should be well-versed on the school and its mission before you interview. When you describe your experiences, connect them to the school and its mission statement. Similarly, you should be prepared with a few insightful questions for your interviewer about the school.
5. Do control your environment. Most interviews are done over Skype. Make sure you have a good internet connection, and check the light to make sure it’s not too dark or too bright. Adjust the shades. If you wear glasses, adjust the light to minimize glare. Wear colors that won’t distract the interviewer. And, finally, practice looking into your computer’s camera (the light), not the little screen of your own face at the bottom.
The best way to ensure that your interview goes well is to practice ahead of time and feel well-prepared. Also, be excited. If you have an interview, it means you are close to acceptance.
Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBac Program and teaches writing at all levels.