Preparing for a Job in the Legal Profession

As a job seeker, you’ve probably been told repeatedly to prepare some questions to ask at the end of your interview – but seldom got advice on what constitutes a good interview question. In brief, a good interview question is one that shows your knowledge of the field, and focuses on the company rather than on what you expect to get from your association with them. In other words, this is not the place to ask about salary and benefits. If you do your research on the company in advance, you’ll likely find some good subjects for questions. Some examples of questions you might ask include:

I saw in the trade papers that the property boom is expected to continue. How much of my job will involve supporting solicitors involved in real estate law?

How much of the firm’s efforts are put into charity work, and how can someone in my position assist in that area?

Is this opening the result of someone leaving, or is it an entirely new position? If the former, can you tell me under what circumstances the person who held this job formerly left? If the latter, what does the firm expect this new position to accomplish?

What would you say are the biggest challenges for the person who accepts this position with your firm?

What would you expect the person hired for this position to be doing in six months?

What would my typical day be if I accept this position?

I have particular skills in (name an area). How do you see those skills being utilized in this position?

Likewise, you’ve probably been told to prepare answers to the most commonly asked interview questions – but again, few people tell you what those questions are. It’s rather difficult to prepare answers to questions you don’t know! Here’s a list of some of the most commonly asked questions in interviews for jobs in the legal profession.

Describe your experience in the legal field.

Tell me about yourself.

How do you see yourself fitting into a team here at our firm?

Where do you see yourself in five (or ten) years time?

What special skills do you bring to our firm?

Why should we hire you?

How do you deal with conflict in the workplace?

Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a coworker. How did you handle it? What was the result? What would you do differently?

Tell me about your greatest – or fondest – achievement.

Do you prefer to work on your own or do you function best as part of a team?

We all have comfortable ‘roles’ in the workplace – the organizer, the cheerleader, the communicator, etc. What is your typical role in a team/workplace environment?

Have you ever been in a situation where someone at work disliked you? How did you handle it?

The pace can get frantic here sometimes. How would you deal with being overwhelmed with too much work landing on your shoulders at once?

In most cases, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The way to deal with them is to answer as honestly and positively as you can. Some career advisors will recommend that you attempt to divine what answer the interviewer is seeking and answer accordingly. In truth, if that strategy is successful and you are offered the position, you’ll simply find yourself in a job that is not a good fit. Be honest, give your best answers, and expect that the interview process will work as it’s meant to work – by matching you up with a firm where you’ll feel at home and make great contributions.

Touch Screen Display for the Legal Profession

Touch screen display technology for the legal profession is rapidly making the difference between attorneys that win and ones that flounder. Smart attorneys understand the visual nature of their clients, peers, judges and jurors and capitalize on this wherever possible with the most visual representations needed to compel their audience. In the past this was affected with rhetoric and courtroom gesticulation, but today’s lawyers have the ability to put the facts right where they need to be, exactly when they need to be there and in the most compelling and memorable form possible. However, the use of touch screen display for lawyers extends far beyond the ability to persuade. It can be used as part of a continuing education program, as a presentation tool, a trial preparation tool and trial presentation tool.

Attorneys have some of the most rigorous continuing education requirements of any profession. This is attributed to constant changes to existing laws and the creation of new laws every year. Staying abreast of these changes is not only essential for success in the field; it is required by most states. Touch screen display education offers one of the most interactive methods available for training and development related to continuing education requirements. Furthermore, this type of graphical interface education is widely thought to provide retention rates that are considerably higher than traditional methods.

To be successful, an attorney must be an effective communicator and public speaker. Presentations must be delivered in the most impactful way possible, and there is no better format for this than a touch screen display. Multi-touch hardware and software applications can be custom made to meet any presentation needs, including both fixed and portable systems up to several hundred inches in size. Presentations can be made using specialized software or compatible Windows-based programs.

Trial preparation is the most intensive part of any busy law practice and often involves a multitude of assistants including legal secretaries, paralegals, research assistants, interns and trial attorneys. Collaboration between all of these individuals can be streamlined and made more efficient using a touch screen display. Presentations can be made, data shared, developed and showcased in graphs, charts and other visual aids, videos can be played with striking clarity and evidence can be reviewed in the most interactive manner possible. Additionally, in some cases a touch screen display can be used with clients during the trial preparation process.

Most of an attorney’s efforts will ultimately end up being utilized for presentation at trial. With a touch screen display, evidence is more vivid, graphs, charts and other data is more easily understood, timelines can be featured with incredible clarity and linked graphically, and an attorney can even develop a “theme” for a case that can help to win a case against the odds.

Nevertheless, there are undoubtedly attorneys who would shun this technology and prefer to do things the old-fashioned way. But while this might work for a time, the fact of the matter is that modern judges and jurors prefer to see things in an interactive, digital format. Attorneys that make their case with a touch screen display stand the best chance of success in a society that is ever more visually-oriented.

Careers in the Legal Profession – Court Appointed Translator

Court appointed translator is an enviable position. It requires education, superior people skills and a thorough knowledge of at least one foreign language. A court appointed translator is considered a crème de la crème translator, and must everyday remember that their translated words bear a heavy, important responsibility.

They work hand in hand with the judicial system. This person is heavily relied upon for accurate testimonies and provides an invaluable link in revealing the truth when handing down court decisions.

Depending on the city or country the translator works, they must also have suitable transportation, like a valid drivers’ license and reliable auto. Sometimes court testimonies are taken on the spot from invalids or others who are unable to travel to the courthouse. Besides translating, court appointed translators may be asked to be interpreters.

Interpreting is simultaneous translation. This requires high intelligence and a lot of concentration. The translator must mentally absorb the text in one language, then translate and repeat it in another while using the correct terminology and nuances so that the message isn’t lost “in the translation”.

Naturally, translating through the courts is well paid work, and is an expensive profession to prepare for. Interpreting is paid at least double the translating rate. There is also a high liability for errors. If a court appointed translator gives the wrong information or is confused, the entire course of the trial may take a bad turn of events.

Many times a court appointed translator must take out liability insurance in case of an inadvertent error due to carelessness or poorly written text, misunderstandings due to the speaker being hard to follow. A witness who speaks Spanish, for example, may speak with a regional dialect that the translator may not fully understand. These are all pertinent issues in the field of translation.

A superior level of education is often required. The court translator, depending upon where they are employed, must usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in either language or in any other field if they are a native speaker. They will be given a criminal background check before being sworn in. In order to better understand the laws of their region, they may enrol in a preparatory course to help them prepare for the examination, which tends to be held only sporadically. They must be familiar with the national constitution, court structure and be well versed in legal terminology.

The prospective court translator must sit before a panel of examiners. Many examinations are oral, since the court translator will be communicating verbally in many cases. Usually the examination is relatively short in length, but much study and preparation is required. A question, topic or theme is given for the examination and the person must be prepared for any of a wide variety of topics.

After passing the examination, at least several days training is required, the cost of which the trainee shall bear. This can be through a mentorship lasting 4-6 weeks or an intense 2-3 weekend program. At the end of the training, the new court appointed translator will be sworn in. They will use their personal, official stamp bearing their court appointed code on all translated documents. This tiny stamp distinguishes a court appointed translator from an ordinary, albeit qualified translator who is not registered through the court system.