Law School Interviews Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Padya Paramita

Law School Interviews Guide: Everything You Need to Know

As the opening dates for law school applications start coming closer, it’s likely that you’ve been wondering how to prepare for your law school interviews. Even if you’re currently focused on getting your LSAT scores and recommendations submitted on time, it’s never too early to familiarize yourself with the interview process, and whether or not the schools on your list conduct them.

No matter what stage your application is in right now, it’s helpful to know ahead of time which law schools do offer interviews and what it means for you to get one. To guide you through navigating law school interviews, I have outlined the top 20 ranked law schools in the country which consider interviews, some common questions you should prepare for, and the importance of law school interviews in your admissions decision. 

Law School Interviews Offered by the Top 20 Institutions

First things first, not all institutions offer law school interviews. In fact, minus a few exceptions, it’s rare for a school beyond the top 20 to offer interviews. Some of the most well-regarded schools around the country invite all students to interview, some send invitations depending on the limited number of interview slots, and some invite only the top candidates. Interviews may be conducted in-person, online (via video calling tools such as Skype, Zoom, and Kira) or over the phone with an alumni or admissions committee member. Let’s take a look at the policies for institutions within the top 20 which invite students to partake in law school interviews

Table Key

  • Everyone encouraged, by applicant request - Interviews are considered in the admissions process and unless there is an unavoidable conflict, students must contact the school to schedule an interview. 
  • Strongest students, by invite - The school considers interviews in the admissions process and no candidate is admitted without an interview.
  • Many students, by invite - Applicants are chosen to interview for a variety of reasons. Usually a lack of slots prevents the school from interviewing everyone. Candidates who are not invited to interview are still considered for admission.
  • Some students - The school usually does not consider interviews in the admissions process, but might contact an applicant on a case-by-case basis e.g., for a scholarship or to clarify information in the application.
  • N/A - The law school does not invite applicants for interviews.
Rank School Name Frequency How Selected Candidates are Informed Format
1 Yale N/A
2 Stanford N/A
3 Harvard Strongest students Invite In-person or Zoom
4 UChicago Many students Invite Skype
5 Columbia Many students Invite Skype
6 NYU Some students Invite, especially named scholarship candidates In-person, Skype for those with “truly extenuating circumstances”
7 UPenn Some students Lottery In-person or Skype
8 UVA Stronger students Invite Skype or phone
9 UMichigan Some students Interviews only for Darrow full scholarship applicants In-person
10 Duke Some students Invite In-person, Skype for scholarship candidates
10 Northwestern Everyone encouraged to interview Applicant request In-person or online via Kira
10 UC Berkeley N/A
13 Cornell Many students Invite Kira
14 Georgetown Strongest students Invite In-person (alumni interview or group interview with the Dean)
15 UCLA Some students Invite In-person or Skype
16 UT Austin Some students Invite Kira
17 USC N/A
18 Vanderbilt Everyone encouraged to interview Invite In-person
18 Wash U St. Louis Some students Invite or request during campus tours Skype
20 University of Minnesota N/A

As you can tell from the table, the degree to which your law school interviews matter depends on the institution. Schools that require everyone to interview want to make sure they’ve given all candidates the chance to elaborate on their application components. But if you haven’t received an invitation from Cornell or UChicago, for example, don’t worry. You’re still in the running.

Importance of Law School Interviews in Your Admissions Decision

Law school interviews are an added component to provide the admissions committee with more context on who you are, how you’ve pursued your commitments, and how you’d fit into the school. In your interview, try to answer the questions authentically and specifically, and expand on your goals and interests. Mention how the school’s unique resources help as you pursue your legal career.

You can’t get admitted to schools like Harvard or UVA without receiving an interview. Once you’ve been invited, you have the opportunity to make a strong impression on the school and you’re one step closer to affirming their initial interest in you. If you don’t receive an interview for these schools, unfortunately you’re out of the running. To ensure that you don’t fall into that pile, work hard on the preliminary components of your application such as your grades, LSAT score, resume, and personal statement.

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At schools that don’t interview all of the applicants and still consider candidates they haven’t interviewed, your law school interviews count as just another component in your application. Ace the interview and it’s all the more positive, but it’s not the end of the world if you haven’t received an interview. Not hearing back about an interview won’t make or break your application to Columbia for example. According to the school’s policy, “You should not be concerned if you are not invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee. In no way does an interview invitation imply or guarantee admission. Similarly, a favorable decision may be rendered even if you are not invited to interview.”

Common Questions to Prepare for in Your Law School Interviews

Practice makes perfect for your law school interviews. While you can’t anticipate every single question you’ll be faced with, law schools generally follow a pattern in what they ask. Practice answering questions about your specific interests in law, your application components, and why you’re applying to the school. Harvard for instance asks that you arrive at your interview having prepared answers to the following questions: (1) Why you?, (2) Why Harvard Law School?, and (3) Why now? 

Admissions committees want to know about you and your plans. Let’s take a look at some of the more common questions that you might encounter: 

  • Why do you want to become a lawyer?
  • Why are you interested in our school?
  • What kind of law interests you the most?
  • What is your dream job in law?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • How would you contribute to your class?
  • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about an experience you had in an internship, or job that makes you proud.
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • What’s one thing that you might be scared of or hesitant about in law school?
  • What has been your biggest challenge so far?
  • What kind of law student do you expect to be?
  • If you had a chance to have dinner with anyone alive or dead, whom would you choose?
  • Share a book that influenced you or a book you’re currently reading.
  • Explain your journey from your previous career to law.
  • What excites you the most about moving to this city?
  • Tell us more about a particularly meaningful extracurricular activity.
  • What would you tell the US President?
  • What was the best part about your summer job last year?
  • What kind of student do you expect to be?

Questions in your law school interviews might focus on your time management skills, leadership capabilities, or your undergraduate experience. You might also be asked about your thoughts on a current event or different components mentioned in your application, such as your musical career or junior year internship. For example, Cornell has previously asked its applicants, “What do you think of the Burka ban in France?” You could also be asked questions about the school itself to inquire whether you’ve done the research, such as what electives you would take or what classes you’re most looking forward to. In previous years, the University of Chicago has asked interviewees what excites them about the city of Chicago. 

At the end of your interview, your interviewer will most definitely ask whether you have questions for them. Come prepared with specifics to ask because you don’t want to appear unenthusiastic and uninformed. The questions could center around courses, school culture, or the location of the law school. It should be thoughtful and encourage an engaging response from them. Avoid yes or no questions or questions that you’ve come up with on a whim. At the end of the day, make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep, had a good breakfast, and are ready to articulate your passions.

When your law school interviews start knocking on the door, make sure you come across as a motivated, committed, and likable individual. Moreover, do your research on each of the schools you’re talking to and be prepared to answer why you’re interested in them and how you hope to take advantage of their resources. If you’ve applied to schools that only invite top candidates, an interview is the make or break factor of your application decision. Even for schools which don’t interview all applicants, a successful and impressive interview can definitely help get one step closer to getting that JD.

General FAQ

Do all law schools offer interviews?

No. In fact, minus a few exceptions, it’s rare for a school beyond the top 20 to offer interviews.

Are all students invited to interview?

This depends on the institution. At some law schools, all students are invited to interview. At others, invitations are sent depending on a limited number of slots or are only sent to the top candidates.

Which T14 schools offer interviews?

Of the T14, Yale, Stanford, and UC Berkeley are the only schools that do NOT offer interviews.

What are some common interview questions?

Common law school interview questions include: “What is your dream job in law?” “What’s one thing that you might be scared of or hesitant about in law school?” and “What would you tell the US President?”

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