Preparing for Your McDermott Will & Emery Interview: The Most Common Questions and How to Nail Your Responses

At McDermott, we invest in our people’s futures, celebrate hard work and excellence—and prioritize happiness. That means making the workplace a place where people feel like they belong and helping them live full, rich lives outside of work.

We are not your typical Big Law firm. We offer a warm, people-focused workplace, market-leading benefits and pay, and an unmatched level of financial and operational transparency. In addition to important client work, significant pro bono and professional development opportunities, and dedicated mentors, we also offer a warm, people-focused work environment.

Landing a job at a prestigious law firm like McDermott Will & Emery takes more than just a strong resume You’ll need to really wow the hiring team during your interviews In this comprehensive guide, we’ll overview the firm, reveal the questions you’re most likely to encounter, and provide tips to craft winning answers.

With thorough preparation, you’ll walk into your McDermott interviews ready to share compelling stories that highlight why you’re the ideal candidate. Let’s get started!

About McDermott Will & Emery

First, a quick overview of McDermott for context. Founded in 1934, it’s one of the largest U.S. law firms with over 20 offices worldwide and 1,100+ lawyers on staff. Highly regarded for its intellectual property, litigation, corporate, and transactional practices, McDermott handles sophisticated legal matters for Fortune 1000 companies, global financial institutions, and high-profile clients.

The firm prides itself on a collaborative “one team” culture It consistently ranks among the top 100 in diversity and associate satisfaction If you land a role here, you can expect interesting work and opportunities to develop your skills.

Common McDermott Interview Questions and How to Nail Them

Now let’s get into the interview questions you’re likely to encounter for different roles. We’ll provide examples of strong responses. Use these to get ideas for crafting your own impressive answers.

General Interview Questions

Expect to answer the typical behavioral interview questions that top firms like McDermott often lean on

  • Why do you want to work here? Show you’ve researched the firm’s high-profile deals, collaborative culture, professional development offerings, work/life balance, and community initiatives that resonate with you.

  • What are your greatest strengths? Choose 2-3 top skills directly relevant to the attorney or paralegal role you’re seeking. Provide examples of successfully applying them.

  • Describe a time you faced a challenge. How did you overcome it? Share a legal issue you faced under pressure, but ultimately resolved through critical thinking, resourcefulness, and determination.

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Demonstrate your interest in taking on more responsibility and growing your expertise in your practice area at McDermott.

  • Why should we hire you? Summarize your top qualifications, interests, and motivations that make you a great fit. Reiterate your passion for the firm.

Lawyer Interview Questions

Attorney candidates should be ready for more in-depth questions about their experience and legal skills:

  • Walk me through your process for evaluating a new case. Show step-by-step critical thinking and analysis.

  • How do you stay current on developments in the law? Discuss reading law journals, taking CLE courses, attending conferences, following key cases, and leveraging firm know-how databases and mentors.

  • If you could argue any case in front of the Supreme Court, what would it be? Share a case aligned with your interests that allows you to showcase your advocacy skills.

  • How do you build trust and cooperation between opposing sides? Demonstrate emotional intelligence and client service skills.

  • What has been your proudest legal accomplishment? Choose an example that highlights your capabilities most relevant to the firm’s needs. Quantify your impact.

Paralegal Interview Questions

Prospective paralegals can expect questions evaluating your legal support skills, including:

  • How would you prioritize tasks when multiple attorneys give you assignments? Convey you can triage requests based on urgency and import, maintain calm under pressure, and proactively communicate with supervising lawyers.

  • Describe your experience conducting legal research. What tools and resources do you rely on most? Share your proficiency leveraging databases like Westlaw and LexisNexis to efficiently find relevant statutes, case law precedents, and articles.

  • What are the most important ethical responsibilities of a paralegal? Emphasize confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, practicing within proper scope of responsibility, and transparency with supervising attorneys.

  • How do you stay organized? Share an example. Detail your proven processes for tracking case details, critical deadlines, and key documents to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

  • How do you make sure your work is accurate? Discuss diligently proofreading, double checking citations, running drafts by attorneys, and taking detailed notes that allow you to efficiently pick work back up.

5 Tips for Acing Your McDermott Interview

You’re now equipped with an overview of some of McDermott’s most common interview questions. Here are 5 tips to ensure you give winning responses:

1. Practice and refine your answers out loud: Articulating your stories and viewpoints verbally takes practice. Have a friend conduct mock interviews with you so you can polish your responses.

2. Back up claims with examples: Don’t just state you have strong research skills – walk through a case where your investigative work uncovered a key precedent. Back up every claim you make with a specific example or metric.

3. Ask smart clarifying questions: It’s perfectly acceptable to ask follow up questions about the role or an interview question to ensure you fully understand expectations before responding.

4. Express enthusiasm for the firm: Convey genuine excitement to work at McDermott. Let your passion and alignment with their values shine through.

5. Send thank you notes restating your qualifications: Follow up with each interviewer thanking them for their time, reiterating your fit, and reminding them of 2-3 top selling points.

Show Off Your Skills and Experience

With preparation and practice responding to McDermott’s common interview questions, you’ll demonstrate why hiring you would be a smart investment. Lean on the stories that showcase your unique qualifications. Be yourself while conveying alignment with the firm’s mission and values.

Bring your A-game to the interview process, and you’ll get one step closer to launching or advancing your legal career with McDermott Will & Emery – a globally esteemed law firm with prestige, interesting work, and opportunities to grow. You’ve got this!


We cultivate an authentic culture that values both individual strengths and team success.

We have a history of being stable and responsible, which gives us the power to come up with new ideas and move faster, even during financial crises.

We support our commitment to a people-first culture by providing real programs, incentives, and flexibility that are made with justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellness in mind.

You’ll work with some of the best lawyers in the world at McDermott, and they want to help and promote the next generation of Firm leaders.

The way we pay our employees is clear and based on their performance. It includes a base salary and bonuses for meeting or beating the standards of other law firms.


From the very beginning, you can count on personalized attention, feedback, and suggestions, as well as unmatched professional growth, to help you reach your goals.

The McDermott Difference


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.

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