Published on July 9, 2019 by Lauren Wade

So you’ve been invited to your first family law training contract interview. Congratulations! The next step is making sure you are prepared for any interview questions that may come up so that you can make a good first impression and convey your dedication to a career in law, as well as interest in the specific firm you’re interviewing for.

Training contract interview questions typically look to understand and establish four core strengths in candidates: skills, competencies, commercial awareness and motivation.

Clearly and passionately communicating what it is that attracts you to a specific law firm, and why you interpret yourself to be a good fit for the organisation and its entire team.

When preparing for a family law training contract interview, there are a number of questions that you can expect to be asked, and in turn, ask interviewers to help show your interest in being offered a training contract with the firm.

These are the common questions that you can expect to be asked as part of your family law training contract interview:

Training Contract Interview Guide

1. What are the three main attributes for a successful family lawyer?

Consider what the core values of the firm are and of family law in general that will support you in becoming a sought-after, all-round, successful family lawyer.

The best family lawyers have a whole selection of capabilities and qualities, including:

  • Empathy
  • People skills
  • Ability to communicate clearly
  • Ability to problem solve
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team

When answering, communicate your wide range of skills, experiences and competencies; even if they are not directly or obviously linked to the legal field.

Remember that the technical and educational elements can be taught, and so choose three of these core capabilities that resonate with you and the firm the most. Selecting these will highlight your genuine suitability.

2. What law would you introduce if you could, and why?

Based on your key skills, attributes and unique experiences, which area of family law do you think would benefit from a revisit, amendment or complete overhaul?

What influences your opinions? It may be that you have recently been outraged by a case highlighted in the media and scrutinised the judgement. Express these beliefs and argue your case well; these are the hallmarks of an excellent family lawyer.

When answering this question, remember to stay true to yourself. Your interview, and in particular, this question is an important way to highlight your beliefs and values.

It can be easy to try to act the way you think a firm wants you to be and say what other candidates will say, but it’s always best to opt for authenticity instead.

3. What do you think about the principle of legal aid?

During your family law training contract interview, the firm will be interested in both your understanding of how the law impacts, and is equally influenced by, wider societal, political and economic opportunities and threats.

It is also important to demonstrate a good level of commercial awareness to show your understand the balance between the necessity and calls for ongoing provision of legal aid, particularly  with the budgets and constraints affecting its distribution.

Relaying this understanding before making your case, again with strong reasoning and awareness of the factors at play, and concluding with your summarised points and position will show your broad knowledge of the area of legal aid.

4. Is there a recent legal decision that you have disagreed with, and why?

This type of question may initially spark panic, but honestly, there really is no need for it. Don’t worry if you have not progressed to certain questions, as some of these will be designed to see how you react to certain scenarios under pressure.

All candidates will be in the same position as you. Try to stay calm, show off your personality and remain as confident as you are able to.

Share your values and qualities that would make you a brilliant family law trainee candidate and showcase how your alignment with the firm’s values make you stand out in comparison to your peers.

Different areas of the law can overlap, so it’s important to discuss your experience of various legal subject matters – just don’t forget to bring it back to family law.

Questions to ask the interviewer

The opportunity for you to ask questions at the end of an interview is not one to be missed. Asking intelligent questions indicates your commitment to the training contract and excitement at the prospect of securing the role.

  1. Use the opportunity wisely and don’t ask a question that you could have easily found out through research before the interview.
  2. The interviewer is most likely someone who is in a position in an industry you’re striving to get into; ask them about the true reality of the role.
  3. Keep it positive by asking what the biggest opportunities available at the firm are, and how you could support them in making the most of these.

Lastly, remember to stay calm and enjoy it, as much as you can. It’s the next step on your career in the legal sphere.

Words: Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe

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