Getting a callback to interview for law school is incredibly exciting. How should you prepare for NUS/SMU/SUSS law school interviews?
1. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
It is common sense to prepare for the interview. But what exactly should you do?
First, get acquainted with the subject matter - law. Start with the broad basics. Read about Singapore's legal system (read a quick primer, figure out the difference between common law vs. civil law legal systems, what is the rule of law?). The good news is that information is available online about virtually everything these days, so there's no excuse not to do some background preparation and reading!
You don't need to know everything about law (that's what law school is for), but you do need to know something.
If you have more time, borrow a book from the library about any area of law. Choose a beginner text. You don't need to be an expert, you just need to dip your toes in the water.
If you have less time, but still want a measure of depth, read a court judgment about an exciting case. Choose an area you're already interested in, and follow that trail to find out more - it could be criminal law, intellectual property, contract law etc.
Check out what's happening in the news. There's always something exciting happening - and you will quickly realize that everything is linked to the law.
Make sure you are aware of contemporaneous events in the legal sector as well (i.e., important news, big developments, major reform & legislation etc.) This is also an excellent way to come up with good questions when your interviewer asks you if you have any questions at the end of the interview.
2. Think about the WHY
It's almost inevitable that you'll be asked about your WHY. Think carefully about this. Interviewers will see through you straight away if you give them platitudes / generic answers. You have to dig deep.
Think about your career goals. Where do you hope to be after law school? Do you want to be a corporate lawyer? Is your goal to be a prosecutor? What kind of areas of law are you potentially interested in? It's OK if you have no idea what you want to do (it's perfectly normal - and the good thing is that a law degree doesn't limit you in any way) but show that you've given some genuine thought as to your longer-term goals.
This is also a good opportunity to show your interviewers that you are serious about considering a career in law. Have you done an internship? How was the experience? Why are YOU suited for law school and a legal career? What have you done that would make you well-equipped to suceed in law school and a legal career?
3. At the Interview
Before the interview, get a good night's sleep. You need to be awake, alert and confident. Practice speaking in front of a mirror. Make sure you have good posture and are well groomed. Make sure to schedule ample time to arrive early. You also want to double check all the items you need to bring to the interview.
Waiting for your turn is probably the most nerve wrecking part. It's good to have a ritual to calm yourself down. Bring your own music, something to read etc. Being calm is the best way to approach an interview.
Good cop bad cop: Law school interviews sometimes adopt the good cop bad cop interviewer style. Law school interviews are known to be intimidating - but that's exactly their intention! They want to see if you can perform under stress, if you'd be able to logically debate your point and substantiate it under pressure.
These are all useful traits in a lawyer, and being able to conduct yourself confidently in the interview showcases these skills. After all, law school is not exactly a walk in the park, and you should be equipped to handle a basic level of pressure & public speaking will definitely be required if you intend to be a litigator!
Group interview: Some law schools like to conduct group interviews, and you should be prepared for that. It's a masterful balance between respecting your fellow interview candidates, and also making sure you are standing out. Do not afraid to be vocal, but always be respectful.
Pro tip: If you know yourself and your enemies, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles (Sun Tzu).
Familiarize yourself with the law school that you're applying to. Go through the law school's faculty and read through their profiles (they might be your potential interviewer!). Find out the latest developments about the law school - any new programmes, milestones etc. What do they pride themselves in as a law school?
At the end of the day, always remember that if you really really want it, you can always apply again. So just try your best & trust in the process!
Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
Preparing for law school interviews? Schedule a Mock Interview with our team! We'll connect you to an industry insider & maximize your chances of success!