Law Case Study Interviews

This case study is the inaugural installment in a new Law Practice series. We posit a scenario that many of our readers confront and ask selected experts to discuss solutions. The goal: To provide our readers with practical how-to approaches they can apply in the types of real-world situations that arise in lawyers' lives. Offering recommendations on the scenario are practice management advisors James A. Calloway and Reba J. Nance, law firm administrator Lori J. Kannenberg and two outstanding small firm lawyers—Stephen J. Harhai and Cory Furman.

THE SCENARIO Stephanie packed up her briefcase and looked around her office. Was this what she wanted? Working for a big firm, leaving the office after 8 p.m., trying to squeeze in a bit of free time before arriving back in 12 hours or less? She knew friends who had left and had either joined smaller firms or gone out on their own ... but she wondered if she was cut out for that. She was so accustomed to having everything looked after here at the firm —from technology to secretarial to accounting....

Wide Open Spaces: Advice for Starting Up a Solo Practice

... On the other hand, the prospect of being less structured, having a degree of control over her day, her life and her schedule, appealed to Stephanie. But she had so many questions.

If she left, where should she establish a practice? Downtown among all the other lawyers or a bit farther out in the burgs? Should she look for others to share expenses or simply open her own office? Maybe even have her office in her home? She knew that her client mix would change, but she wondered how long it would take before she built a thriving practice. Would she have to take whatever files came in the door, or could she be a bit more focused in establishing a practice?

Then her mind turned to the physical aspects of setting up an office. There was so much to think about: accounting systems, computers, word processing, desks and filing cabinets, time and billing. The prospect was daunting and she didn't quite know where to start. Then there were the cash flow aspects. She had some savings, but wondered if they would be enough to carry her through until she was comfortably in the black.

Perhaps she should talk it over with a few people first. She thought about who she should turn to.... OUR EXPERTS RESPOND


Lori J. Kannenberg, small firm administrator

James A. Calloway, practice management advisor

Stephen J. Harhai, solo practitioner

Cory J. Furman, small firm practitioner

Reba J. Nance, practice management advisor

Look to Your Circle of Support in Your Decision Making

Lori J. Kannenberg is a CLM and the firm administrator of Lawton & Cates in Madison, WI.

When planning to go solo, you need to have the support of your family and friends.
They can help determine whether you have the traits necessary to be successful as a solo practitioner. Those traits include an independent self-confidence, a burning need for personal involvement with clients, ingenuity, a desire to make a difference in the lives of others, an entrepreneurial spirit and flexibility.

Going solo, though, might mean that you do not have as much time to spend with family and friends until you settle into a routine. Discuss this together so they will understand that you will need to devote substantial time to getting your business off the ground and running.

Consult your banker, accountant, insurance agent and ethics advisor. After preparing a business plan and budget, which includes financial forecasting to the best of your ability, talk to your banker about establishing a line of credit to help deal with cash flow fluctuations. Bankers can also help with directing you to people who can help develop business plans and budgets, if necessary.

Your accountant can help you determine the type of business entity that is most appropriate. Accountants can also help with establishing a general ledger chart of accounts and can provide guidance in designing financial reports, such as income statements and balance sheets. You will likely need an accountant to help with taxes and possibly audits. You might as well start off with setting up a system that makes it most cost-effective in your dealings with your accountant.

You also need to have adequate insurance coverage, so talk to a qualified agent about your options. You will need professional liability, business/property and liability coverage. You may also need workers' compensation coverage.

Look to your bar association or ethics advisor, too. Determining ethical obligations to clients during a transition to another firm is crucial to avoid potential complaints or problems. You need to know how to appropriately handle client communications—there are some things that need to be done before leaving a firm and others that must happen

Make Your Target Client Base Drive Your Plan

James A. Calloway is Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association's Management Assistance Program.

There is a world of difference between practicing law in a large firm and as a solo. The most trivial difference may be the amount of hours one works. The most significant change may be in the type of work done. Even if one represents the same types of clients with all the same types of substantive matters, there will still be significant time spent on the types of administrative, management and marketing responsibilities that are handled by support staff in the larger firm.

A threshold decision is to determine the type of client services that your new law firm will provide. This will inform many of the other decisions relating to practice setting, technology, office equipment and so forth. Among the questions to consider:

• Will you continue to represent the same sort of clients?
• Will any of the clients for whom you currently provide services follow you to the new practice setting?
• Would a Fortune 100 business even consider being represented by a solo or small firm lawyer?
• Do you dislike the type of work you are currently doing and seek new challenges?

Therefore, I urge an initial focus on the types of matters you wish to handle and types of clients you wish to represent, followed by determining your marketing strategy to build a practice representing these clients.

Taking everything that comes in the front door is simply not a viable business strategy in today's legal environment, where even those legal matters that used to be thought of as routine have increased in complexity. This is not to say that you will never venture out into uncharted territory. No doubt you will.

But a successful law practice will likely focus on two or three core areas. This impacts your overall strategy. Let's take office furnishings as just one example. Wealthy estate planning clients will expect a certain formal office appearance that communicates success. They will not appreciate a waiting room filled with scruffy-looking criminal defendants and mothers with crying children. Performers and creative artists may appreciate a certain offbeat flair. Court appointments and other clients of modest means will not notice that the office furnishings are basic and even somewhat worn. High-tech firms may rarely visit the office, preferring to transact business virtually.

The type of clients and style of practice will affect everything from staffing requirements to the technology used to your location. A bankruptcy or other consumer-oriented practice may benefit from a suburban location. A practice requiring daily court appearances needs to be located within walking distance of the courthouse.

You need to keep all of that in mind and view your marketing in a broader sense than just putting advertisements in the Yellow Pages or local newspapers. Marketing is about building relationships, both with potential clients and potential referrers of business. Paid advertising will be a significant component of certain types of practices, such as family law and criminal defense, and will be virtually useless for representing businesses and corporations. Marketing is a long-term enterprise and therefore must be done weekly, not just when new business is desired.

In terms of technology, there are two critical aspects, in my opinion. One is practice management software. A new lawyer establishing a practice simply cannot function effectively without it. Second, the purchase of a laptop computer rather than a stationary desktop seems to be critical for today's beginning lawyer. One cannot overstate the importance of having all of your client information, forms, calendar and other data with you at all times. This allows you to make use of what would otherwise be dead hours and to easily work from home when the occasion demands it.

Your first step should be to purchase the book How to Start and Build a Law Practice by Jay G Foonberg (its Platinum Fifth Edition was published by the ABA in 2004)—and read it.

Use Technology to Push a Competitive Advantage

Stephen J. Harhai is a solo family law practitioner recognized as one of the top 50 lawyers in Colorado.

You have the opportunity to start fresh in designing the technology you will use to support your practice. No legacy systems, no hard core users of obsolete software. So think this one through and you will have a real competitive advantage.

Look toward going paperless. You won't eliminate every scrap of paper, but all important client and administrative documents should be electronic. This will create great savings in staff expense for filing, space to hold all the paper, and more efficient use of time.

Be portable and free yourself from the office. If your client documents and research and production tools are all electronic, you and your staff can work from anywhere. Setting up remote access will improve your life by giving you greater flexibility and more options in staffing because you can use people who want to work from home or even other cities. Laptops can handle most any task you will need, and prices have become very reasonable. Consider using laptops for most or all of the staff so that they can take their "desks" anywhere they need to be. Throw in some small and light printers and scanners and you can set up a full-function office anywhere with an electrical outlet and Internet access.

Think Web applications. The contributors to this case study prepared this article collectively on Google Docs & Spreadsheets, a free online word processor and spreadsheet tool that can be accessed from anywhere with Web access. The model for applications is moving in this direction and you should consider what portions of your software needs can benefit from these new tools.

Plus, there are lots of virtual office environments springing up around the country in which you can have a phone number, mailing address and meeting space when you need it, but no permanent staff or office space. It's not for everyone, but if you need or want to minimize the risk and expense of starting a new practice, this might be a great way to go. In my firm, we have a "hybrid" arrangement in which we have permanent space at our Breckenridge mountain office, but all communication, staffing and back-office functions are handled at our main office in Denver. Remote access tools enable us to function in the mountain office exactly as we do in Denver, but without the overhead of a separate staff and infrastructure.

Find the Proper Balance to Stay Your Course

Cory Furman is a partner in Furman & Kallio, specializing in intellectual property law in Regina, Saskatchewan.

If you are capable of making the commitment to strike out on your own, you obviously have the drive and determination to make your new venture succeed. But making your business succeed without sacrificing other aspects of your life is key.

My recommendations center around things you can do to try to maintain balance as you develop your practice. Trying to balance home life and business life, overhead against the bottom line, marketing against billable client work, the demands of new clients against existing ones—it is all a high-wire act. A nascent law practice is a "demanding mistress," to borrow the term. For me, with the benefit of hindsight and wishing I had done some things differently, a key piece of advice is to keep time for friends, family and sanity.
One mistake that I made when starting my solo practice, with a view to keeping my overhead low, was to start with a small office in my house. I could never escape from work! The only one who resented this more than me was my wife. Moving my office out of the house was good for family harmony, and also good for my own sanity. There are lots of different opportunities to establish a virtual or small office space at relatively low cost.

Apportion your time. As my practice has grown, I have come to appreciate that the most precious asset you have is your time. The allocation of various tasks to the time available will change over time—but one of the primary things to keep your eye on when you are starting a law practice is the proper allocation of your time to the various tasks that must be completed. Making sure that you keep some time for yourself is critical as well. One way that you can, to a limited degree, expand the amount of time available to accomplish professional tasks is by staffing and delegation. While this is not necessarily an infinite expansion model, my experience has been that it is good to be slightly overcapacity and overstaffed rather than constantly understaffed. That is obviously a hard decision and metric to stay on top of, given that staff costs eat into the bottom line, but having enough staff to get the work done during the day provides significant peace of mind.

Get legal-specific tech tools (and use them). I would not propose to give specific advice on choices of technology, since there are literally hundreds of great tools available to accomplish any number of different office tasks. But I certainly recommend that you consider purchasing a legal-specific billing program as well as case management software early in your practice. In terms of billing, if you have the proper software and wish to keep your costs to a minimum, you may not need any accounting staff until you become quite busy. Most of the products that are available now in small practice versions are simple enough to use that you can do your own basic timekeeping and billing and maybe just have a bookkeeper come and do your accounting a couple of times a month. These products will mostly grow with your firm, which is a mixed blessing because—if you wish to preserve a forward-expansion path—it becomes even more essential to choose a product that will accommodate your medium-term needs when you start out.

My other technology advice—beyond saying, "Use it!"—is that in determining the solutions or products you will buy, you need to factor in the value of your time and pain in the design and implementation of any particular legal solution using custom or off-the-shelf products. You may be rewarded by spending a bit more money on products that are specifically designed for what you intend to use them for, rather than trying to bootstrap something together.

Of course, the value proposition that you intend to offer to clients is paramount. Is it lower overhead resulting in lower cost, expertise in a specific market niche or practice area, being able to spend more time with individual clients knowing and understanding their businesses? This is something you can revisit over time, but having this goal or objective out there at the start gives you a touchstone against which to assess all of your business decisions.

Fight isolation. Endeavor, from the outset of your business planning process, to build a strong support network. If you leave your existing firm on good terms, you may be able to rely on your former colleagues for advice—and you may even be able to generate referrals from them. Try to engage a larger group of other lawyers, business associates and friends as well, who may all, in a more tangible way, serve as referral sources, but also provide you with people to lean on from time to time. As a solo practitioner, something as simple as going for coffee with someone can be important. The solo practice environment in its extreme can be emotionally isolating, particularly for those who are outgoing and used to interacting with people frequently.

Strive to Create a Mind Like Water

Reba J. Nance is Director of Law Practice Management and Risk Management at the Colorado Bar Association in Denver.

The one thing I would add to my colleagues' excellent comments is to get your firm infrastructure in place. Most specifically, I believe that every lawyer—without exception—should use practice management software. I use it to manage my life. I couldn't live without it, and I don't even practice law! Research the applications, pick one, get it set up properly (which may require a consultant), and get training. Practice management software will ensure that nothing ever falls through the cracks. Absolutely everything should be entered into this software—your contacts, deadlines, phone notes, to-do lists and ideas.

I am a firm believer that you can't choose what to do until you are comfortable about what you are not doing. In other words, if you are trying to draft a brief, how can you possibly focus on the brief when things keep popping into your mind such as, "Did I calendar the deadline for the response to interrogatories?" Or, "Don't forget to call the accountant with the total mileage for last year."

Strive for "mind like water." Write absolutely everything down and review it all at least once a week to keep it fresh.

I highly recommend David Allen's book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Viking, 2002). Unlike other books that give advice like "handle a piece of paper only once," Allen's book provides a system for capturing absolutely everything you need to do, and it shows you how to manage the work flow so you truly can handle a piece of paper only once.

With Allen's system, you can also make sure that you have balance in your life by spending time on your personal goals as well. If you want to spend more time with your family, come up with a list of the specific activities you could do with your family. As you plan the upcoming weeks, schedule time each and every Tuesday night, for example, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., and slide in one of the activities to achieve your goal of spending more time with your family. If you find you never seem to have time for things like professional reading, it may be because you don't have a time scheduled for it on your calendar!

Truly—read Allen's book, get practice management software, and see how it will change your life.

Case Study Interview Examples: Questions and Answers

You will need to prepare for an interview where case study questions will be asked. While preparation is required for every job interview, extra time is required to adequately prepare for case study interviews.

Providing an answer to a case study question involves much more than simply recounting the issues and problems set forth, it includes identifying the most important issues, employing sound and logical analysis, developing an action plan for addressing the problem(s) and making recommendations. Depending on the firms you're interviewing with, and the industry you work in, case study questions can be presented in verbal or written format, and address a number of topics.

In case interviews, it's not uncommon for interviewers to exclude important details when asking candidates to resolve hypothetical business problems presented. It's okay to ask interviewers for more information, and it's expected. They want to see if you can identify what information is important, and what is not.

Occasionally, interviewers provide no detail at all to test your analytical skills when adequate resources are unavailable. In these situations, it's okay to make assumptions, but they must be based on sound logic and analysis of information that is provided.

Interviewers asking case study questions are primarily concerned with how effectively you can analyze a problem, determine key factors, brainstorm ideas, and propose workable, pragmatic solutions that are supported by your analysis.

Answering Case Interview Questions

In the case interview, coming up with the "correct" answer isn't nearly as important as the process you use for getting there. When answering a case interview question, you want to showcase your ability to analyze a situation or business dilemma, identify the important issues, and develop sound conclusions that flow from your analysis. For this reason, it's important to use a logical framework for breaking down and analyzing the case. Some of the more common business analysis frameworks that can be employed include Porter's Five Forces, Value Chain Analysis, Four P's of Marketing, and SWOT Analysis. The framework you decide to use should be a function of the type of case you're presented.

Where a specific framework for analysis isn't readily available or applicable, a general framework or analytical approach can be applied. The most important thing is that your approach to answering the case interiew question is structured and logical.

Regardless of the type of case you're presented, there will likely be a few main parameters and several factors that influence those parameters. The first thing you want to do is identify the parameters and factors, the then determine which are key to the case output.

For example, assume the case involves a company's declining profitability. From your initial review of the case information you determine the main parameters to consider are total revenues and total costs.

After defining the two main parameters, you'd then drill down further to the factors influencing each of the parameters you've identified. You determine the factors influencing total revenues are average price of goods sold and volume of goods sold. And for total costs, fixed costs and variable costs.

With both the case parameters and factors clearly identified you give yourself the ability to steer the conversation and begin to identify possible solutions. To identify areas of concern, you'll want to explore the history of the four influencing factors. At the end of your discussion with the interviewer you may determine that it's rising variable costs that are having the biggest impact on profitability. You'll then drill down even further to determine what is causing variable costs to rise and come up with more specific recommendations.

Building a graphic representation (tree, decision diagram, etc.) of parameters, factors and other influencing elements will help you structure your thought process, keep from missing key aspects of the case, and make a strong argument for the recommendations you'll make.

Using a framework or structured approach to developing a recommendation for a case study interview question provides the added benefit of giving the interviewer something to take back and present to his or her superiors to make the case that you're the right person for the job.

Whatever you do, don't force-fit frameworks. If a particular framework doesn't apply to the case, don't use it. Most frameworks incorporate universal concepts that can be applied to various business issues. Use the concepts you've learned in school or through prior work experience to support your analysis of the case. Show your interviewer that you understand these business concepts well enough that you can apply them to the specifics fo the business issue being presented in the case.

Below we're going to present several case interview questions organized by question type. To perfect your ability to perform well in case interviews, we recommend reviewing each question and then developing a logical framework or approach for answering each one.

Standard Case Interview Questions

As is the case in real life, there is usually no single correct answer to standard case interview questions. As long as you're able to prove your case, using sound analysis and by demonstrating an understanding of the main case issues, you're likely to do well. Below are some common standard case interview questions that provide great practice for case interviews.

  • What would be your approach for introducing a product into a foreign market? What are the risks and benefits to consider i.e. producing in your own country vs producing in the new country, etc?

  • Company ABC is struggling, should it be restructured? Identify the three main problems it's facing. What is the most important problem the company is facing? How would you recommend the company address this problem? How would you turn this company around? Provide your reasoning for your recommendation(s).

  • A toy company has been experiencing decline sales for the last two seasons. Research suggests that introducing several new product lines is the solution. Develop a marketing strategy for the company's largest product line, including pricing, product packing, etc.

  • A large chain of retail clothing stores is struggling with profitability. Bases on your review fo the company's financial statements, what problems can you identify? Can this company be turned arounds? How would you go about deciding?

  • A new Eddie Bauer Store is being opened up in London. Discuss all the marketing issues regarding the opening of this new location.

To perform well on standard case inteview questions you should be able to:

  • Take in information quickly and remember what you hear.
  • Identify key issues, prioritize and logically solve problems.
  • Make quick, yet accurate, decisions.
  • Manage time efficiently.
  • Perform under pressure.
  • Be aware of resource constraints.
  • Identify customer needs.
  • Be original and creative.

Market Sizing Case Interview Questions

A market sizing case interview question is one where you're asked to determine the size of market for a particular product. These types of case interview questions are popular, and actually not difficult to answer if you practice. The following a few examples of market sizing case interview questions.

  • Please provide the total weight of a fully loaded Jumbo Jet at the time of take off.
  • How many light bulbs are there in the United States?
  • How many photocopies are taken in the United Kingdom each year?
  • How much beer is consumed in the city of New York on Fridays?
  • How many people sell AMWAY products in the United States?
  • If there are 7,492 people participating in a tournament, how many games must be played to find a winner?
  • How many golf balls will fit in the Empire State Building?
  • How many car tire are sold in Canada each year?
  • Given thhe numbers 5 and 2000, what is the minimum number of guesses required to find a specific number if the only hint you're given is "higher" and "lower" for each guess made?
  • How do you determine the weight of a blue whale without using a scale?

The following are tips for answering market sizing case interview questions:

  • Take time to think before you answer the question.
  • If given a pen and paper, take notes and write down key information. Use the paper to make calculations, write down ideas and structure your answer.
  • Ask additional questions if you feel you are missing information. The interviewer is often expecting you to ask to find missing information.
  • Use lateral thinking and be creative. There isn't always just one right answer. Just make sure your answer is backed up by sound logic and numbers that make sense.
  • Make sure you know your math. At minimum you'll need to perform some basic arithmetic or mathematical calculations.
  • These quesitons are often used to test your ability to structure, as well as your ability to think laterallly, make logical links and communicate clearly.
  • Make mental calculations quickly by making sensible estimates and rounding numbers up or down.
  • Does your answer make sense? If you're answer doesn't make sense, chances are you've made a bad assumpation, estimate or calculation. Go back and carefully check your work and provide a new answer.
  • You can use business frameworks (SWOT, Porter's Five forces, etc.) or mind mapping to support your analysis and answers, as long as it makes sense.
  • Many market sizing questions revolve around issues being faced by an organization or industry. Commercial awareness can be very important to answering market sizing questions.

Logic Problems

Questions involving logic problems are designed to test your ability to think quickly and logically. These questions also require you to be able to perform numeracy quickly, while under pressure. The following are a few logic problems followed by their answers. Review the questions, develop your own answers, and then check your answers to see how well you did.

1. At 3:15, how many degrees there between the two hands of a clock? (J.P. Morgan interview question).

2. A fire fighter has to get to a burning building as quickly as he can. There are three paths that he can take. He can take his fire engine over a large hill (5 miles) at 10 miles per hour. He can take his fire engine through a windy road (7 miles) at 9 miles per hour. Or he can drive his fire engine along a dirt road which is 8 miles at 12 miles per hour. Which way should he choose?

3. You spend 21 dollars on vegetables at the store. You buy carrots, onions and celery. The celery cost half the cost of the onions. The onions cost have the cost of the carrots. How much did the onions cost?

4. You spend a third of all the money you have on a piano. Half of your remaining money you use to buy a piano chair. A quarter of the rest of your money you use to buy piano books. What porportion of you original money is remaining?

5. Why are manhole cover always round, instead of square?

6. In the Chicago subway system there are two escalators for going up but only one for going down to the subway. Why is that?

7. You find three boxes at the store. One contains onions. Another contains potatoes. The third contains both onions and potatoes. However, all three of the boxes are labeled incorrectly so it's impossible to tell which box contains what. By opening just one box (but without looking in) and removing either a potatoe or onion, how can you immediate label the contents of all the boxes?

8. There are 8 bags of wheat, 7 of which weigh the same amount. However, there is one that weighs less than the others. You are given a balance scale used for weighing. In less than three steps, figure out which bag weighs less than the rest.

9. There are 23 rugby teams playing in a tournament. What is the least number of games that must be played to find a tournament winner?

The following are the answers to the 9 logic problems above:


If you thought the answer was zero degrees, you'd be incorrect. At 3:15, the clock's minute hand will be pointing at 15 minutes, exactly 90 degrees clockwise from vertical. At 3:15, the clock's hour hand will exactly one quarter of the distance between 3 O'clock and 4 O'clock. Each of the 12 hours on the clock represents 30 degrees (360 degrees divided by the 12 hours on the clock). Consequently, one quarter of an hour is exactly 7.5 degrees, so at 3:15 the minute hand will be at 97.5 degrees. So there is a difference of 7.5 degrees between the hour hand and minute hand at 3:15.

Fire Fighter

Driving his fire engine 5 miles at 8 miles per hour takes 37.5 minutes. Driving his fire engine 7 miles at 9 miles per hour takes about 47 minutes. Driving his fire engine 8 milles at 12 miles per hour takes 40 minutes. So he should choose to drive his fire engine over the hill.


Answering this problem just requires some simple algebra. If we assume the cost of celery = x, then the cost of onions = 2x, and cost of the carrots is 4x, such that the total cost of all vegetables = x + 2x + 4x = 7x = 21 dollars. Consequently, x = 3 dollars. Hence, the onions cost 6 dollars.


You spend a third of all the money you have on a piano, so you're left with two thirds (2/3). You spend half (1/2) of the remaining two thirds on a piano chair, which leaves you with just one third of what you started with (1/2x2/3=1/3). You spend a quarter (1/4) of what you have remaining (1/3) on piano books, which leaves you with one twelth of the original (1/4x1/3=1/12).

Manhole Cover

A square manhole cover can be dropped down the hole if turned diagonally to the hole, where round covers can't be dropped down manholes.

Chicago Subway

People coming into the subway tend to arrive at different times, so the flow of people down the escalators is a more even stream. Conversely, when people get off the subway they typically all arrive at the escalators at about the same time. Consequently, two escalators are need to handle people leaving the subway, where only one is required for people arriving.

Three Boxes

Just open the box that is labeled "Onions and Potatoes". Since none of the boxes are labeled correctly, this box must contain only onions, or only poatatoes. If you remove a potatoe from this box, the box must be the "Potatoes Only" box.

One of the remaining two box has to be the "Onions Only" box. However, the only you currently have it labeled "Potatoes Only", and the other is label "Onions Only". So the box labled "Potatoes Only" must be the box that contains only onions, and the box labeld "Onlions Only" must be the box that has both potatoes and onions.

Bags of Wheat

Immediately, take any 2 of the bags and place them to the side. Weigh 3 of the remaining six bags against the other 3 bags. If these bags weigh the same, that means the bag that weighs less must be one of the two that you immediately placed to one side. If this is the case, weigh the 2 bags you placed to one side against each other to find out which one weighs less. You've now found in your bag.

However, upon weighing the sets of 3 bags against one another you find that one set weighs more than the other set, place one of the bags from the set of heavier bags aside and weigh the remaining two bags to find out which one is heavier. If they are of equal weight, the you know that the bag you place to one side is the bag you're looking for.

Rugby Tournament

In a tournament, every rugby team except the winner is eliminated from the tournament after being defeated just once. Hence, the number of games required to find a tournament winner is going to be one less than the number of teams, or 22 in this case.

Business Case Interview Questions

The following are examples of common business case interview questions:

  • How would you work with a subordinate who is underperforming?

  • You're consulting with a large pharmacy with stores in multiple states. This company has improved sales but experienced a decrease in revenue. As a result, it is contemplating store closings. Explain how you'd advise this client?

  • You are working directly with a company's management team. It is organizing a project designed to significantly increase revenue. If you were provided with data and asked to supervise the project, what steps would you take to ensure it's successful?

  • You have been assigned to work with a small company that manufactures a popular product. However, a competitor begins selling a very similar product which incorporates state of the art technology. What would you advise your client to do?
  • You have been assigned to advise a company with a large Western European market. Company management wants to open the Chinese market. What advice do you have for this company?

  • The firm has assigned you to consult a company intending to drop a product or expand into new markets in order to increase revenue. What steps would you take to help this company achieve its objective?

  • You have been assigned to consult a shoe retailer with stores throughout the nation. Since its revenue is dropping, the company has proposed to sell food at its stores. How would you advise this client?

Case Interview Resources

In addition to the guides and articles presented on our website, there are several other good resources, including workshops, mock interviews, books and interactive online resources, that will prepare you for case interviews. Some of the resources we recommend are listed below.


  • Vault Guide to the Case Interview
  • Vault Career Guide to Consulting
  • Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation
  • Mastering the Case Interview
  • Ace Your Case! Consulting Interviews (series 1-5)

Interactive Online Resources


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