Jun 19, 2023

Written By Ella Jenkinson

Do law schools require interviews in the UK?

Jun 19, 2023

Written By Ella Jenkinson

Most universities do not require an interview for law applicants; however, it is important to double-check with the specific university. While Oxbridge conducts interviews for all applicants, other universities only conduct interviews in exceptional circumstances. In any case, this article will explain why universities may use interviews and provide some useful advice on how to prepare and ace any you may have.

Why universities use interviews

Interviews are just one part of the admissions process into a university. They will be considered alongside your predicted grades, GCSE grades, personal statement, LNAT (if applicable) and references. Where applications are especially competitive, interviews are an opportunity for the university to get to know you and see if you’d be a good fit.

Preparation tips

Interviews can seem very daunting, especially if it is your first interview experience. Practice makes perfect; therefore, remaining calm and leaving plenty of time for interview prep is important. This goes beyond preparing for potential questions: you must remember that you need to decide if this university is the right fit for you as much as they are trying to decide if you’re a fit for them. Having some personalised questions ready to ask the interviewer is essential to consolidate your interest.

There is a common misconception that the interviewer(s) is out trying to get you or trip you up. This simply isn’t true. If a university decides they would like to interview, then it is probable they will send you some guidelines and information about how the interview will be structured. If they are feeling especially generous, they may even provide you with some sample questions.

In the absence of any information, there is no harm in reaching out and asking them. The worst-case scenario is that they say no. Also, don’t underestimate the value of your existing connections. Ask around at your school; there may be peers or teachers who have experience with law interviews or know people at your specific university. Friends and family are also extremely useful in practising interviews. Speaking your answers aloud and thinking about what you’re going to say on the spot is excellent practice.

It is not too difficult to predict some questions ahead of the interviews. For instance, it is almost guaranteed that you will be asked “Why do you want to study Law?” and “What attracts you to this course/university?”. Make your answers genuine, pulling from the real reason why you made these choices. Even if you think they are unconventional, it is important to come across as genuine: interviewers like that. A common pitfall for students is to over prepare their answers. The risk of this is that you come across as robotic, static, or monotonous. This will not engage the interviewer.

Although law courses may seem similar, with each university covering the same modules, they will have their own slant and content that is unique to that university. A good tip here is that if you can replace the university's name with another, and the answer still makes sense, then it is likely that your answer is not specific enough. If you can figure out what differentiates a university from others, you will stand out.

As an incoming law student, you need to be proficient at speaking ‘legal’. What I mean by this is not becoming an expert at legal jargon, but by being up to date on current legal affairs and feeling confident in answering questions which have a legal angle. For example, you could be asked how technology is changing the legal sector, or about a recent case that interests you. Reading the news and legal career blogs like AllAboutLaw (!) can assist in your research and help you figure out which areas of law you find most interesting.

Online vs in-person interviews

Since the pandemic, online interviews are becoming far more commonplace. There are a few simple steps to avoid stress.

The university will use a specific platform, so make sure to follow the instructions they provide, use the right browser, and ensure your camera and microphone are working. Try to do this before the interview starts, so you have time to notice and sort any issues.

Take advantage of the natural light and ensure you have a plain background behind you. If you can, prop your laptop or computer up so that it is at eye level. This will simulate the environment of an in-person interview better than if you are looking down into the camera. Make sure you are dressed smartly too, yet still comfortable. You don't want to come across as stiff.

For an in-person interview, appearing smart is important too. You are more exposed in person, so appearance is more critical. Try to remain relaxed. Body language (smiling, eye contact, arms unfolded) is important and can reveal a lot about a person.

Example questions

Below is a list of potential questions you may be asked in an interview. It is not exhaustive but will help give you a clue to the types of questions that may appear. It is impossible to prepare for every type of question, and almost all of the time, there is no right or wrong answer. The interviewer wants to understand how you think and approach the question, not necessarily the contents:

- Have you ever been in a situation where you realised what you said or did was wrong? With hindsight, in what way would you change your behaviour?

- What aspects do you enjoy about working in a group? What are some of the challenges you have experienced?

- Is the law always fair?

- Should it be illegal to run a red light in the middle of the night on an empty road

- How do you think you will judge whether you have been successful in your life?

- Do depictions of the legal system in television programs damage or boost the image of lawyers to the general public?



University Interviews