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Preparing for an interview at a US law school

LLM Student InterviewOnce you've submitted a US law school application, you may be called for an interview. For most students this produces a range of different emotions, on one hand you have the satisfaction of knowing that your written application was clearly impressive, on the other you now have to face a university interviewer – and that can feel daunting. It’s natural to feel a certain level of fear but bear in mind that getting through to the interview stage is an achievement in itself, now you need to prepare for your LLM interview in order to make the most of your opportunity.

Prepare for success

An invitation to interview confirms that you are being considered as a candidate and indicates the school would like to find out more about you. The secret to giving the best impression is being prepared on the day, and enjoying the confidence that brings. Consider your reasons for being interested in the specific area of law your chosen LLM relates to, think about how it inspires you and what you hope to achieve on graduation – an enthusiastic attitude speak volumes about your level of motivation.

Learn more about the law school where you’ll be interviewed

Next jot down some notes about the law school, a level of prior knowledge demonstrates that you genuinely want to study there. Does it have a reputation for excellence in your chosen subject? Are the tutors renowned for their high academic standards? Does the culture of the university appeal to you? If the number of applications outstrips the places available, admissions staff and tutors will naturally favour the students who are most eager to attend.

Think about what you might get asked

Revisit your CV and application form so you can elaborate on anything the interviewer picks out. They may ask about your extracurricular activities, why you chose to go to law school, or your favourite professor from a previous university. There are no right or wrong answers, but they will be looking for articulate, clearly expressed and reasoned responses. Having some pertinent questions of your own regarding the program, tutors or the university is also important, just be sure to keep them brief and to the point.

Be authentic in your responses

In law the ability to express yourself effectively is essential, so avoid churning out the kind of answers you think the interviewer wants to hear or recycling your CV. Try to regard the points you’d like to get across as headlines rather than sections of text, once you’re speaking you can elaborate in a natural, coherent way without sounding too rehearsed. Mistakes are normal in an interview situation, so if you do stumble over a word or phrase, just take a moment. People come across as more credible when they pause to think before answering a question, it’s also a great way to catch your breath and feel more relaxed.

Visualise the day

Sometimes students spend so much time thinking about the formal, spoken side of their interview, that they forget to consider the importance of engaging with the other person in less obvious ways. Your body language should be positive, so sit upright, maintain eye contact and nod to show both interest and comprehension. Allow the interviewer to direct you when it comes to sitting down, shaking hands, or leaving, this shows both courtesy and respect.

And finally…

It’s worth remembering that everyone feels nervous before an interview and that will be expected by any university. If you’re prepared, ready, and dedicated to getting a place on the program, you should be able to overcome the nerves and allow your personal qualities to shine through.


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