Law Career Guide

First Round Motivational Interviews: How to Prepare

First-round interviews can feel intimidating or nerve-wracking but think of it as a two-way process; it’s about finding out if the firm is the right fit for you as well as the firm working out if you’re the right fit for them. 

Think about your ambitions and values and how they align with the firm which you are applying to. Are you passionate about pro-bono work? Are you interested in innovation? What research have you done around the programme you’re applying for and what was your inspiration? This is your chance to show what you’re capable of. 


Think about the skills demanded of a lawyer and how your experiences demonstrate those skills. 

Research as much as you can about the firm’s areas of expertise, so that you can come to the conversation prepared to respond to a case study. 

Speak to lawyers and grow your knowledge about the legal industry. Use any conversations you’ve had with lawyers or at law fairs as examples to show your interviewer how motivated you are.

Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview – this helps demonstrate your motivation and interest in the role.


Forget to think about the structure of your responses. It’s important that you give enough detail in your answers while speaking concisely. 

Give generic answers but answers bespoke to you and your experience as well as the firm and the programme you are applying to.

Ignore what’s happening around the world. The legal industry and our clients are impacted by current affairs, and it’s important to show an understanding of this. 

Be afraid to be open. Interviewers want to get to know you, so when they ask how you are or how your day has been, use the opportunity to start a conversation and build rapport. 

Here’s some advice from our team to help you ace your interviews:

The partners who interview you may ask questions about the case study relating to their particular practice and interests – this isn’t to catch you out, but to give you the opportunity to show your thoughts and have a discussion about some of the nuances in the case study. It can be daunting as some of the interviewing partners will be leaders in the field they’re asking you about, but this gives you the chance to go beyond the case study and have a much more in-depth chat.

Alex Denny

Take advantage of your family and friends and practice your possible answers out loud. As uncomfortable as it sounds, it is so beneficial to listen to yourself back and see how coherent your answers sound. Try to add some colour to your answers by linking them back to life experiences and how different decisions led you to wanting a career in commercial law.

Saranya Barthe

Think back to the types of scenarios you dealt with on the SJT. Prepare by trying to verbalise how you would react to those types of situations step-by-step. In particular, presenting your thoughts logically and with reasoning would be important here.

Hafsah Nawaz

Have some key facts and figures on the firm that are easy to remember in your head, such as number of offices etc.

Max Brankin