The expense and stress of attending law school adds up, especially when you get to the recruiting season during your second year. How do you ensure you find a good spot and salary to pay off your student loans? The answer lies in what internships you did while still in school.
Although often unpaid, internships provide law students with real-world experience that becomes invaluable on a resume. Whether you’re deep in a University of Southern California online LLM degree program, or just deciding your major, finding a good internship will help your future. Established firms and potential employers will vie for a candidate with actual law experience and skills as opposed to someone who did little else besides studying while at school. While grades are important in your employability, experience in your field also matters. To ensure you have all you need to create a strong resume, consider the following internship opportunities.
1. Summer Associate
Identify smaller firms who may already employ graduates from your law school, or interns in their second year of law school. Firms with an existing relationship with your school will likely find you a better candidate.
Duties here may include compiling research for cases, and drafting memos or legal motions, all under the supervision of an experienced attorney.
[Consider earning a paralegal degree for a rewarding career in law.]
2. Judge’s Clerk
If you’re interested in the court system, this internship allows you to see several phases of the litigation process. Your presences in a courtroom might remain minimal, but your knowledge of the behind-the-scenes work will grow with your time here.
3. Clerk’s Assistant
Some judges take on first or second year law students, while others already employ a clerk. If you find an internship with the latter, ask about clerk assistant internships. Whatever you do, make sure the internship provides you with helpful experience and that you can contribute something valuable as well.
4. Public Interest Fellowship
Work in the public sector definitely differs, but you’ll find that many law schools provide financial stipends for students who pursue an internship in public interest. Identify organizations that focus on what interests you and find a position that can get you a lot of experience in the field.
5. Government Internships
Countless government agencies offer short and long-term internships for law students in their first and second year. Such positions allow interns to influence government negotiations and foreign policy, all while gaining experience in the government sector. It’s always an impressive addition to any law student’s resume.
No matter what internship you choose, remember that second year internships often lead to paid positions. Use these opportunities as a way to show your skills and willingness to work. Internships let you explore your passions while networking with future employers, so take advantage of each one you get.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
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