Legal secretaries do the administrative work in cases when working with lawyers and paralegals. They prepare and proofread legal documents. They need high organization skills, dedication, and efficiency for the organization to run well. A high school diploma and a genuine interest in law can earn you this position. This is a competitive role and may attract many applications.
Below are 20 interview questions and answers that will help you in your preparation for an interview in this role.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
You need to demonstrate a genuine interest in this role. The interview wants you to demonstrate your genuine interest. Share what made you apply for this position.
“I am interested in this role because of my experience working in various law firms. I have two years of experience as a Legal Secretary and I believe this will be important in this role. I am an efficient and organized person with experience handling different legal documents. I believe this experience will come in handy and make me shine in this role.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Legal Secretary?
Do you know what role you will play in the organization you are interviewing with? Share what you expect to handle in this role. Keep your answer in line with the job description.
“In this role, I expect to answer phone calls and schedule appointments for clients. I will also do legal research and type documents for court. I will assist in managing calendars for staff members. I will also attend court at times and file court documents on behalf of the lawyers. I will also ensure office operations run smoothly and office supplies are available.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Legal Secretary Needs To Be Successful?
A variety of attributes will make you stand out in this role. Share with the interviewer what qualities you will bring on board. Share what makes you the perfect candidate for this role.
“To be successful in this role you need to be organized, efficient and reliable. You also need to maintain confidentiality as you will have access to confidential information. You need to be able to listen and communicate effectively. You also need to be able to proofread and correct errors in documents. These skills I have worked at developing in the past few years and I believe I will be the perfect candidate for this role.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
Challenges are inevitable in every role. Share the challenge you have encountered before and how you managed it.
“In my previous role, one partner in the firm always accused me of sabotaging his work. He used to forget who he had assigned his typing work to and ended up blaming me for not doing his assigned tasks. To counter this, I ensured every task I was given was written down in my diary together with deadlines. This helped give an account of the tasks assigned to me. He finally figured out he kept forgetting to assign work. He corrected this and work ran smoothly going forward.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Legal Secretary?
Do you know your daily tasks? When answering this question, your organization and planning skills will be put to test. Ensure you demonstrate that you like to keep your hands full.
“For my opening duties, I will ensure that the office is clean and adequate office supplies are available. I will also inform m superiors of the appointments they have for the day. I will hand over any documents required for court. I will answer phone calls and direct them to the relevant person if need be. I will also reply to emails and any correspondence received.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
The interviewer is interested in knowing what experience you have had in this role. Share what you have worked on that is relevant to this role.
“I have two years of experience as a Legal Secretary. In my role, I scheduled appointments on behalf of the partners in the firm. I prepared legal documents by typing and proofreading court documents. I received phone calls and answered emails on inquiries on behalf of the firm. I also ensured that the office supplies are available and everything runs smoothly. Through this experience, I was able to develop organizational and planning skills that I believe will be beneficial for this role.”
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindset Is Required For This Role?
Being a Legal Secretary requires a certain mindset shift to be successful. Share with the interviewer what strategy and mindset you have that will make you a great candidate.
“This role requires someone confident and resilient. You need to have a growth mindset. Each day will present learning opportunities for you to be better at your work. I work hard not to miss these opportunities as my work becomes better as days go by. Strategically you need to be very organized and be able to deliver results on time. Other people depend on your work to be able to deliver on theirs. It is imperative to ensure you deliver accurate and timely results to ensure the whole office runs smoothly.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
It is good to be prepared ahead before starting a new role. The interviewer is interested to know if you already have a plan of action for handling challenges that may come your way. Share what you expect to encounter. Ensure it will not affect a major area of your work.
“The biggest challenge will be getting to know my colleagues. This is a bigger firm than where I was working. During the first month, I aim to get to know everyone I will be interacting with within my day-to-day work. This will be important for me to be able to know who will be requiring input from my work and how I should be of assistance to them. I will also be able to know who deals with what specific areas so that coordinating the office work is easy.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
Self-motivation is key in this role. You may face difficult customers and you should know how to effectively handle them. Share with the interviewer what keeps your spirit up every day.
“To keep my motivation going, I like to consider my work in context. I like to look at the bigger picture of how my work affects my colleagues. This way, I keep working even when I do not feel like it because I know other people require my input for their work to go smoothly. I also like to think of the effect my work has on colleagues. I always strive to keep my momentum going as it will inspire everyone else in the firm. This way, the workplace becomes a pleasant place to be. In my spare time, I engage in exercises to keep my head clear and ready to face another day.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt?
Failure is imminent and when it happens the ability to rise above it is what is important. Share a failure you have encountered and how that made you a better person.
“As a Legal Secretary, my work is expected to be thoroughly researched. One time, a partner in the firm gave me a legal document to research and type. He also gave me references for where to get the research. I went all in and gave my best. However, I did not ask if I can offer additional information from other references. He complained that the work was not thoroughly researched. From this, I learned that when I see gaps I will always request to add additional information to make the work more meaningful. This also helped me learn how to be a better researcher and make my work better.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suited For This Role?
When studying the job description, some things will make you apply for a particular role. Share with the interviewer what makes you think you are the best fit for the organization.
“Based on the job description for this role, I saw that you are looking for a smart, resilient, organized, and discreet Legal Secretary with a minimum of two years of experience. These are all qualities that I have developed in my role at my previous employer. I am also able to discreetly handle confidential work as this role involves handling sensitive information. I am flexible and can easily adapt to new environments and this will be an asset when I join your organization. Based on the above, I believe I am the best-suited candidate for this role.”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.
Achieving results and getting rewarded for them is a great indication of someone committed to delivering excellent performance. The interviewer is interested in knowing if you are competent and committed to delivering excellent results. Share what has made you proud in the past in your career journey.
“In my previous role, I joined the firm when the meetings were not delivering the required results. I was heavily invested in designing and ensuring that meetings held are fruitful. In the first two months, I was able to learn what made the meetings fail. I incorporated this information in planning meetings from that point on and ever since the organization has enjoyed fruitful meetings. As a result, the firm honored me with an employee of the year prize in that year, an award which was introduced because I made the work of the partners easy.”
13. Do You Have Any Legal Transcription Experience?
This role may require the production of transcripts from recorded meetings or court mentions. The interviewer is interested to know if you are great at this. Share your experience in this area.
“In my two years of experience in being a legal secretary, I have also handled transcription work. I do have a certificate in legal transcription which I saw was a great addition to my work. I have transcribed various court hearings and I am confident of my skills in this area.”
14. Do You Have Any Experience Working With Attorneys And Judges?
The interviewer is interested to know if you can work with judges and attorneys. Share your experience on this.
“Yes, I have. I have worked with judges and attorneys when filing court documents. Through this interaction, I have been able to create a rapport with them. This connection has also enabled me to know the go-to person when it comes to various court documents. They have been instrumental in making my work easier.”
15. How Do You Rate Your Time Management And Multi-Tasking Skills?
This role requires impeccable time management and multi-tasking skills. Share your level on this.
“In my work, I realize that time management is a key skill and therefore I have put in efforts to invest in this. I have developed excellent planning, scheduling, and organizational skills in my career. This has enabled me to have great time management skills. Due to handling tasks with different timelines and deadlines, I can multitask effectively. These skills I believe will be beneficial if given this opportunity.”
16. In Your Work As A Legal Secretary Have You Encountered An Angry Client?
The interviewer wants to know if you can stay calm amid a client’s outburst. Share how you will handle this situation.
“In my previous role, I once encountered a client who had an angry outburst. He was frustrated as a result of his case taking long to be taken to court. I was able to calm him down and he explained what the issue was. I re-affirmed what the partner had told him about giving incomplete information. I was able to advise him that if he offered all the requested documents, the process can be fast-tracked as there will be no dead ends when the case is taken to court. He understood the information and went ahead and organized for us to get the complete information.”
17. How Will Your Former Colleagues Describe You?
The interviewer is interested in your reputation as a person and how that will assist in your new role. Share what your former colleagues will say about you.
“My colleagues will describe me as a go-getter who is committed to achieving results regardless of circumstances. They used to say that I work like someone who never gets tired. I developed this trait to be able to be on top of my work and deliver exceptional results.”
18. How Many Words Can You Type In A Minute?
This role involves a lot of typing work and your typing speed is important in ensuring work is done fast. Share with the interviewer how good you are in this area.
“I can comfortably type 75 words per minute. I always work at making sure I develop my skills in this area and therefore I still practice to enhance my speed. I hope to eventually get to 90 words per minute. I believe this will shorten the length of time I take to work on documents.”
19. Are You Able To Identify Mistakes In Your Work?
Are you able to take corrections well? Mistakes may happen. Your ability to own up to them will determine your relationship with your colleagues. Share your strategy for this.
“In my work, I have developed checks to ensure their accuracy. When I discover an error in my work, I correct that. If the work had already been submitted, I own up to the mistake and take action to correct that. This helps instill confidence in my colleagues of the work I gave to them.”
20. What Inspires You In Your Day To Day Work?
This question may be used to gauge your personality. Share what makes you work hard.
“I get inspired by seeing that my efforts produce desired results and are rewarded. I set goals and work hard at them. Once I achieve a milestone however small it gives me the confidence to continue. This has inspired me to keep improving my skills as I can see the progress I am making as a result of the efforts I put in developing them. I also get inspired by client feedback of how the firm has been instrumental in helping them get justice in their various pursuits.”
This role may attract many candidates because of its requirements. To emerge the top candidate, prepare your answers to these questions keeping in mind the various legal fields your prospective employer is in. This way, you will be able to ace the interview. We wish you the best in your job search.