Ace Your Davis Polk Interview: Insider Tips and Top 20 Questions

Landing an interview at Davis Polk means you’ve impressed recruiters with your credentials. Now you need to seal the deal by acing the interview process.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide an overview of what to expect during Davis Polk interviews and the most common questions asked. Read on for sample answers and expert tips to help you stand out and receive an offer!

Overview of Davis Polk’s Interview Format

The Davis Polk interview process typically follows these key stages:

  • 30 minute HR phone screen

  • 1-3 rounds of 60-90 minute virtual interviews with partners, associates, and training principals

  • In-person final round for campus hires

  • Panel interview for lateral hires

Interviews are described as conversational and focused on getting to know candidates personally and professionally. However you’ll still need to showcase legal skills and commercial awareness.

Some candidates are given practical case studies or presentations to work on. The firm assesses technical abilities, communication skills, cultural fit and business acumen.

Top 20 Davis Polk Interview Questions and Answers

Let’s prep winning responses to the most common Davis Polk interview questions:

1. Walk me through your resume. Why did you pursue opportunities in X, Y, Z?

This is your chance to connect the dots on your background. Share your career journey narratively, highlighting how each experience built desired skills and passions.

2. Why are you interested in Davis Polk specifically?

Show you’ve researched the firm’s legal specialties, global footprint, training, culture, and strengths in your desired practice area. Spotlight shared values.

3. How would you compare and contrast the firms you’ve applied to? Why is Davis Polk your top choice?

Demonstrate you’ve carefully considered fit. Outline unique factors that make Davis Polk stand out vs. peers for you without denigrating others. Stay positive.

4. What appeals to you about practicing [corporate/litigation/tax/finance] law?

This reveals your passion and commercial awareness about your intended practice. Share why you find the work meaningful and interesting with real-world examples.

5. Tell me about a challenging project or situation you faced in school or at work. How did you handle it?

Use a STAR format story here to convey key strengths like problem-solving, resilience and leadership. Focus on actions taken and results.

6. How do you prioritize when working on multiple projects with pressing deadlines?

This tests your time management abilities. Discuss tools you use to organize and schedule time, setting interim milestones, getting help when needed, and staying focused under pressure.

7. Describe a time when you had to conduct complex legal or financial analysis on a case or deal. Walk me through your approach.

Demonstrate your analytical rigor and technical skills. Outline your systematic methodology, use of data, and how you developed insights and recommendations.

8. Have you ever made a mistake at work? How did you handle it?

Share an example that isn’t major negligence. Emphasize taking accountability, quickly correcting the error, learning processes to prevent recurrence, and sharing lessons with colleagues.

9. How would you handle a situation where you felt another associate wasn’t pulling their weight on a team project?

Showcase empathy, emotional intelligence and discretion. Discuss addressing it professionally by offering support, not blaming, and partnering to get the project back on track.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Convey your commitment to growing with Davis Polk into complex dealwork and leadership roles long-term. Express interest in opportunities domestically and abroad.

11. How would you go about building strong working relationships with colleagues and mentors if you join Davis Polk?

Share tactics like proactive networking, seeking feedback, being reliable and supportive to teammates, participating in firm activities, and regularly communicating with transparency.

12. How do you respond to critical feedback?

Emphasize embracing feedback for growth, creating action plans for improvement, and following up to confirm positive changes based on critiques. Stay solutions-focused.

13. Tell me about a time you faced a conflict with a colleague. How did you resolve it?

Illustrate with a story your communication, empathy and conflict resolution skills. Share how you listened, found common ground and compromised to peacefully resolve the issue.

14. Describe a time when you had to persuade a teammate or client to move forward with a recommendation. How did you convince them?

Reveal your powers of influence. Walk through how you prepared a tailored persuasive case using data/examples, related to their priorities, and secured buy-in successfully.

15. Why are you interested in our London/Hong Kong/NYC office specifically?

For overseas offices, discuss your global ambitions, interest in the region/city, and how you’d embrace the multicultural environment professionally and personally.

**16. Walk me through a complex legal situation or case you’ve encountered and how you approached it. **

Demonstrate legal reasoning skills by outlining key legal issues methodically, actions taken, research conducted, and insights delivered to advising attorneys.

17. How would you go about building your legal knowledge as a new associate at Davis Polk?

Share tactics like asking questions, thorough case research, reading key industry legal publications, attending trainings, learning from mentors, and volunteering for challenging assignments.

18. Where do you hope to be in your career 10 years from now?

Convey your long-term commitment to excelling at Davis Polk and interest in leadership roles. Discuss helping guide the next generation of lawyers.

19. Do you have any questions for me about working at Davis Polk?

Ask thoughtful questions that show your interests in their development processes, work-life balance programs, mentoring, pro bono opportunities, overseas rotations, and diversity/inclusion initiatives.

20. Is there anything else I should know as we consider your application?

Share key passions, contributions, strengths or qualifications not already discussed that would make you a standout fit for Davis Polk. Reiterate your enthusiasm.

Expert Tips to Ace Your Davis Polk Interview

  • Thoroughly research each interviewer’s background before your meeting. Reference their expertise.

  • Review Davis Polk’s website and news to understand the firm’s culture, clients, legal specialties, and recent deals. Look for common themes to discuss.

  • Craft your story by reflecting on projects and experiences that position you as a strong match for Davis Polk. Quantify achievements.

  • Prepare insightful questions that demonstrate your passion, knowledge of the firm, and strategic thinking abilities.

  • Practice responding to interview questions out loud to polish your delivery. Time responses succinctly.

  • Exhibit professionalism, confidence, collegiality and maturity throughout the interviews and interactions.

  • Send prompt and thoughtful thank you notes to all interviewers after the process concludes.

With rigorous prep using the tips above, you will master the Davis Polk interview process and shine! Best of luck landing your offer.

Davis Polk Career Series- Q1


How do I pass a compliance interview?

Talk like a compliance pro Describe your past wins and accomplishments in terms of your personal contributions, and how they are relevant to the job you are interviewing for. A job interview is no place for modesty – but brag honestly.

How to answer tell me about yourself in an interview?

The best way to answer “Tell me about yourself” is with a brief highlight-summary of your experience, your education, the value you bring to an employer, and the reason you’re looking forward to learning more about this next job and the opportunity to work with them.

Why are you interested in this position?

The best way to handle this question is to think about what your current career trajectory is and how this role in this company fits in to help you achieve your ultimate goals. To enhance your answer, provide general ideas about the skills you want to develop and things you want to accomplish.

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