Lawyers share interview skills

Lawyers help students learn to ace interviews

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Few things are more nerve wrecking than a job interview--especially in a tough economy where scales are tipped in the employer's favor.

That's why 30 Cooley Law School students at the Ann Arbor campus recently took advantage of a speed interviewing event in which local attorneys talked with them for five minutes, then gave helpful feedback before they moved on to the next mock interview.

Whitmore Lake attorney Erika McNamara is a graduate of Cooley Law School, so she was happy to participate.

"When I first came into the field, it was really difficult," said McNamara, who graduated in 2008. "So I'm sure all these young people here are in the same boat I was four years ago. I can really feel for them."

The event was sponsored by Cooley's Career and Professional Development office and the student chapter of WLAM, Washtenaw region.

Attorney Bonnie Shaw said she was happy to give law students a leg up on their interviewing skills.

"I've done a lot of interviewing now, so I think I can impart some of the things I've learned," said Shaw, who suggested that the students be ready to talk about things that interest them besides business.

Alana Glass, who coordinates the Career and Professional Development office, explained that some job-seekers don't realize how important it is to research the company.

"Employers like to see that you know who they are and what their organization is all about," she said. "Employers these days want applicants who contribute value, and really understand their mission. And they should be able to explain how their experience will be a good fit for that law firm."

Glass said it's her job to help the students prepare to enter the legal profession after they've gotten a great education.

"You can be a great candidate on paper," she said, "but if you can't articulate your skills, and how you'd be an asset to an organization ... That employer only gets 15-20 minutes with you."

Attorney Mark Jane has done a lot to help Cooley become integrated to the Ann Arbor community since it opened in 2009.

"When I saw another opportunity to do that, and a unique opportunity at that, I jumped on board," he said.

Student Michelle Murtha, who is treasurer of WLAM, said the event was just one of the many ways Cooley helps prepare students for life after law school.

"You want to be able to present yourself professionally and eloquently when you go to that first job interview," she said. "You want to nail it. An event like this really prepares students and helps them be the best candidates they can be."

Published: Thu, Jul 5, 2012

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