Interview in a Flash: Cooley event hones skills

By Roberta M. Gubbins
Legal News

The coveted job interview is the final step in a long line of steps to the law graduate’s first job. Its importance can’t be overemphasized — it may be the make or break move in the job-seeking-process.

Cooley Law School, recognizing its importance and to help students hone their interviewing skills, held an event called “Interview in a Flash,” on June 16 in the lobby of the Cooley Center in downtown Lansing. 

The rules were simple.  As Bradley Merritt, Career and Professional Development Coordinator, explained, “The student meets with a lawyer for five minutes. The attorney asks the type of questions typically asked at an interview and then a bell rings. We say ‘feedback’ and for one minute the lawyer gives the student some hints on how to improve his interviewing technique.  The bell rings again, we say ‘switch,’ and the student moves to the next table for the next round.

The interviewing practice lasted for an hour, giving most students a chance to meet with ten lawyers.

Thirty-five students, from all three classes of law school, took part in the interviews.

The 30 participating lawyers included those in private practice, with large law firms, in government, in the business world, and some who were candidates for judicial office. They came from as far away as Traverse City and as close as three blocks away in downtown Lansing.

Patricia Scott, a Cooley Grad and attorney with Foster Swift, a short walk away, echoed other lawyers when she said she took part in the event because “I am a proud Cooley grad.  I received a 100% scholarship from Cooley, and I like to give back to the school as much as possible.  Also, I participated in a mock interview program while I was a student, and I found it extremely helpful.”

Other lawyers commented that they believed what they were doing could make a difference in the students lives. Generally, the students did well in the interviews.

“They all seemed very well prepared,” said Scott.  “My only comment would be for the students to give some thought to their individual strengths and weaknesses.  When asked questions regarding their greatest strength or weakness, many of the students fumbled the question.  This should be a question that everyone person can answer quickly” because it demonstrates self-awareness.