Are You A Leader or A Follower?

Are You A Leader or A Follower?

Are You A Leader or A Follower?

Top Interview Questions from a Legal Recruiter. 

What makes you the best for the job? A list of the top 10 not only the frequent, but also the toughest questions asked in a legal recruiting interview.

It is always important to know what questions you may be asked in an interview, but it is often times best to know yourself as well. Knowing what makes you the best fit for any law firm increases your chances of finding the right fit. Below are the ten toughest and most thoughtful questions to keep in mind while vying for a spot for partner and how to your answers are interpreted.

1. Are you a leader or a follower?
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams

Now, be careful, don’t jump jump the gun. There are lots of generals out there, not too many soldiers to win the day. Carefully craft you response demonstrating how critical being a team player is to any successful firm from your leadership that proved necessary to overcome and win the case.

2. How have you changed in the last five years?

This is where the “knowing yourself” part comes in. This can be thought of more as a “how have you improved?” question. For instance, perhaps you lost a case. There is no shame in admitting a loss. It won’t harm you, rather, if you can bend the loss into a situation that you learned from, making you a better lawyer or legal worker, speak bounds about it.

3. Tell me about a time when you felt that you dealt with a situation inadequately, and how has that changed how you would approach the same situation?

This is a tough one, who can honestly say they have won every case? Present your evidence to the jury, what was brought up during discovery. Evidence was not admitted, testimonies were found not credible. It’s more about how the outcome changed you and what drives you as a person. Articulate your philosophical and fundamental over reaching principals that you bring to the table.

4. If offered the position, how long do you plan to stay at this firm?

Why should I hire you? Tell me why you want to work here? Why this firm is a perfect fit for me. Do your homework and prove to me that feel this firm is where you want to be, that this is you new home and you’re in for better or worse.

5. If you did not have to work what would you do?

How you spend your time speaks volumes about what type of person you are. Be honest, it’s all about how you approach your day at the golf course. What you do on the course reveals what kind of person you are, what drives you and what’s important to you. Increase your value proposition here.

6. What do you think about the principle of Legal Aid? Should clients have to pay for services they use in all circumstances?

Does the firm do any pro bono work? Why not? Isn’t corporate social responsibility the new norm? Tell me a story about how you changed someone’s life, how you made a difference and how the firm profited from your efforts.

7. What are the three main attributes for a successful partner?

What are your strengths, what has got you to where you are today. Perhaps it’s your ability to pick a jury well. Settling out of court, or how you treat your clients and associates. That winning way that has served you so well. Speak on what you know and how it has helped you succeed.

8. Would you be willing to branch out into any other area of law, if the firm priorities changed?

What this question is getting at is how you adapt to change. Tell me about how you turned a crisis into an opportunity. Offer up success stories where you worked with legal specialists outside of your area of law. Give me something that makes me feel confident that you always get the job done, whatever it takes.

9. In your view, what are the major problems/opportunities facing the legal industry?

Nobody likes a downer, think about challenges the legal profession is up against. Embrace the hard realities of your industry, then tell me how you turned these obstacles into opportunities.

10. What sort of activities are you interested in outside of work?

In other words, tell me about who you are and what type of a person are you? 

  • Shared meals: What does this say about you? Are you selfish or just social?
  • Volunteering: Why is this cause important to you?
  • Physical fitness? Are you more relaxed at work? Does being healthy translate into a better lawyer?

Prepare for unexpected questions knowing full well that there is going to be a question you never hear of before. Don’t just react, take a moment to compose your response. Buy yourself some time, ask a few questions to formulate your answer. Don’t compromise, let’s find you a firm that shares your values and where you will excel.

Click here for a complete list of the top 50 interview questions.


Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at  Opt in for tips and updates from On Balance Search consultants.

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Photo Cred.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: Reputation Is Everything

You are NOT a team player, you are disruptive and people find that you have a toxic influence on the firm.   

Your colleagues say tell me your one of the top performers at the firm. They also tell me you are a brilliant jerk. Most attest that you are highly capable, productive and in the same breath they say you are difficult to work with. They say you are an arrogant, a prima donna and they wish they could work for someone else.

They resent the way you deal with your clients, that you always need to have the last word. You are loud, and abusive and take your frustrations out on the staff. You are not a team player and your attitude is infecting the law firm’s reputation.

Do the ends justify the means?
Machiavelli, “Thus when fortune turns against them, you will be prepared to resist it. A man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done moves toward self-destruction rather than self-preservation.” Being a successful attorney is difficult, agreed. Its cut throat, it’s highly competitive and it’s adversarial. You’re a fighter, a winner and a top litigator, but at the end of the day your reputation is truly all you got. Means and ends of course are intimately related. The end determines the array of relevant means. But that is not the end of the story. Consider the collateral damage to your firm’s reputation:

  • Revolving door. From the legal secretaries, to the associates, all the way to the top, the best and the brightest partners will begin to leave the firm.
  • Lost business. A law firm with a bad reputation simply won’t get referrals.
  • Recruiting. No one is going to want to work at a firm that has a poor reputation.
  • How you are perceived in the industry. Your professionalism needs to be at the highest standards at the firm, in the courtroom and when you are out socially.

Play nice.
“I play nice, it’s not always easy but that’s how I’ve forged deep lasting connections with law firms and attorneys over the years. Niceness, however, does not need to mean weakness. You’ve got to be strong to be nice. I’m also known for being tough.” – Shari Davidson, President On Balance Search Consultants. 

Nice people play well with others. Nice people genuinely care about others, listen to their needs, and instinctively want to meet those needs, which, in turn, forms the foundation of trust for successful business relationships.

“I’m constantly opening doors, my advice significantly benefits my candidate’s. I cannot begin to tell how many opportunities come my way. Why? Because I never deceive or mislead my clients. I’m committed to my clients’ success. It’s about respect. My clients trust my judgement, my integrity.” – Shari Davidson. 

About On Balance Search Consultants
On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. We pride ourselves in understanding our clients and candidate’s needs, On Balance has an outstanding track record placing strong candidates with high retention rates.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media, legal recruiting and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Photo Cred. 

Kathryn Kerns, K. (August 13, 2015). Nice Women Win: Why Being Nice Is a Business Strength. Forbes.