in Careers Advice, Interviews

Legal Job Interview Question & Answer – Describe a Situation when you had a communicate a message..

Question 21 – Describe a situation when you had to communicate a message to someone knowing that you were right and they were wrong and reluctant to accept your point of view.


type of competency based interview question is more difficult because
you need to think of a situation when there has been conflict of some
sort and of course this is much harder to do and to portray in the right
way to reflect positively both on you and the interview. There are a
lot of different scenarios that could be used including academic,
sporting and at work and as always the best examples to give are work
based ones provided that you are viewed in a positive way during your
description and that there are not too many negative issues. Examples of
scenarios would be difficult customers, management team decision
making, decisions to be made with suppliers, questioning clients,
persuading a professor that your answer was in fact correct, making a
decision as an umpire or referee in a game, or leading a sports team and
needing to persuade the team of the reasoning behind a decision you
have made.

Examples of Answers

working at Jones’ Medical Practice I identified quite early on as
practice manager that there were two procedures the receptionists were
using to process patients that could be speeded up and improved. The
first of these was the telephone booking system which was not tied into
the system used for repeat appointments for patients, and secondly the
appointment system used for externally based medical practitioners such
as health visitors and nurses.

one of the first management meetings I went to I identified these to
the doctors and I could immediately see that they were extremely
reluctant to accept that these points made the working practices of the
receptionist inefficient and time consuming.

managed to persuade the doctors to accept my recommendations for
improvement, which included using an IT based solution, after providing
them with evidence of how much time and money could be saved by ensuring
that the processes were improved. The outcome was that the doctors took
on board my recommendations and the practise was soon seeing the
benefit of cost and time savings.”


I was umpiring a cricket match between two local teams it became
apparent that the weather was likely to affect play. The cloud was very
low and although it was not raining there was a lot of dampness in the
air and the ground was getting very slippy. After a fast bowler slipped
whilst making his run up to bowl I consulted my fellow umpire and
suggested that it was now dangerous to continue. My fellow umpire did
not agree with me and the rules of our league dictate that both umpires
have to agree in order for play to be suspended. I felt quite strongly
about this and was concerned for the welfare and safety of both the
players and ourselves as umpires and through gentle persuasion of my
colleague I was able to persuade him of the need to suspend play. I
demonstrated to him how slippy the pitch was and gave him a couple of
examples of when other matches in similar occasions had resulted in
injuries to a couple of bowlers as well as one batsman.

Play was suspended and in fact the match finished early because the weather got worse rather than better.”

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at