An internship nowadays is vital to a lawyer’s career. Summer internships are an important opportunity to learn about areas of the law you might want to pursue. Also, perhaps even more importantly, having a good internship could increase your chances of landing a dream job after law school. There are a set of things you should prepare for an internship to maximise your experience.
Do keep in mind that your goal is not necessarily to find a perfect job this summer. Your goal should be at a minimum to add profressional legal experience to your resume and explore the industry. Whether it’s a summer associate position in a BigLaw firm, a law clerking position in a small or mid-size firm, an in-house internship, prosecutor’s office position, judicial intern, or legal research assistant, make sure to take the most you can out of the experience. A summer internship is an exciting opportunity to gain real experience, expose yourself to different practice areas, see how a real law office operates, and maybe set yourself up for a post-graduation job offer.
How to choose the “right” internship? If you wish to gain experience of a specific area, for example arbitration, you need to target organizations/firms offering such internships. As you are doing a background check for the organizations, try to reach out to your network; if you find anyone who interned/works at the organizations, talk to them for advice.
How can you land a legal internship in areas that may be of interest to you? In considering your options, think about your strengths and weaknesses and who you are as a person. Then, try your best to inquire about various firms’ practices, their clients, their rankings in the legal directories. Second, the legal world is a network. Lawyers and law professors know many people. Talk to them and let them know you are looking for an internship and your practice of interest. Third, once you have targeted law firms or organistions, take time to prepare your internship application materials, including a well-drafted cover letter, detailed resume, law school transcripts, and a letter of recommendation if possible. Fourth, be prepared for your interview as it is your opportunity to shine. Show up on time, wear appropriate business attire (even on virtual interview), and be prepared. Finally, follow up diligently with your application, and do not give up if an application is rejected. Stay with it, and you will find the right internship.
It is possible that your first internship will be in your dream field. Make sure you maximize your internship opportunity! Try to improve at least one legal skill, whether you improve your legal writing or learn how to effectively research issues. Getting put on various assignments can help you find out what you like and dislike. This will help you narrow your search for future legal positions. As an intern, it is vital to establish a good reputation in the office so that your employer will likely give you more work. One of the goals for the internship is to leave with a glowing letter of recommendation. Last but not least, leaving your internship with a writing sample will provide you with a substantial advantage for jobs in the future.