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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

The Ins and Outs of Informational Interviews

By Sara Ayazi, BASF Bulletin Contributor

Are you searching for a job? Looking to explore another field? If so, conducting informational interviews can help you achieve those goals.

An informational interview is a meeting between a person who is interested in learning about a new career path, and a person who has an expertise in that area. The purpose of an informational interview is to gather information about another field, learn about ways to enter into and succeed in that area, and expand your network.

Before the Interview

The first step to conducting an informational interview is to identify individuals who have an expertise in the area that you are interested in exploring. Ask friends and family to facilitate introductions between you and their contacts who work in this field. Other good resources are your alumni association, LinkedIn, and professional associations like The Bar Association of San Francisco.

During the Informational Interview

Once you set up an informational interview, research the individual with whom you will be interviewing. Be prepared to answer questions aboutyour background and your interest in the field. Also, create a list of questions to ask during the informational interview.

Below are sample informational interview questions:

  • Can you tell me about your path into this field?
  • What is a typical day like as an attorney in this area of law?
  • What are the skills and experiences needed to succeed in this field?
  • Is there anyone else that you think I should talk to?

Never ask for a job during an informational interview. This question will put the person that you are interviewing in an uncomfortable position. Remember, an informational interview is not a job interview.

After the Informational Interview

Do not forget to send a thank you note after an informational interview. It is also important to periodically send updates to the individuals you interview. For example, you can let them know that you followed up with their colleague that they suggested you contact or that you are exploring volunteer opportunities at a legal clinic to obtain additional experience in this field. You may want to occasionally send them articles on a subject that was discussed during the informational interview that was of great interest to them. A benefit of staying in touch is that they will think of you when they learn about a new opportunity in
their field.


Sara Ayazi relocated to San Francisco after working as an attorney for the University of Connecticut. She received her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

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