I am finding it hard to believe that 2014 is already here! (I actually wrote two checks with the wrong year on them today, believe it or not.) And although the summer may be several months away, it is time to start thinking about summer internships. Not sure where to start? Here are a few things to consider.
Do you need to make money?
Notice I said need and not want. Sure, every student wants to make money, but that is a hard gig for most during the first summer of your law school career. So you want to decide whether you can swing a volunteer internship. If you must have money to live on (not eating is not an option for the summer), you want to start investigating public interest scholarships that may help you if you do public interest work over the summer. Make sure you know the deadlines to apply for these scholarships though, so you don’t miss any opportunities.
This summer is a great time to experiment. What sort of law are you interested in?
My first summer, I worked at the United States Attorney’s Office on criminal cases. It was a fantastic experience and I met great lawyers and had a lot of fun. But I also figured out that I didn’t want to be a criminal attorney. Did that make it a less valuable experience? Not at all! I got what I needed out of that summer. When I went to interview with law firms in the fall, the firms were still interested in my experience over the summer and in why I didn’t want to pursue criminal law. Having been exposed to criminal law and deciding it wasn’t the best path for me only made me a more attractive possible hire at a civil litigation firm.
The only bad experience is no experience.
It is hard to believe that there is such heavy competition for volunteer work for law students over the summer, but there is. And it is possible that you won’t get your first-choice internship. But that doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a great summer. As long as you are learning something and getting exposed to the law in some way, you are going to have a successful summer. The only unsuccessful summer (in my opinion) is not getting any experience at all. You just want to make sure that you are learning and getting exposure, even if, say, it is just part time.
Good luck as you start hunting for the right summer internship for you. Any tips for 1Ls starting to hunt? Share them in the comments.
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And check out these helpful posts:
- Summer Jobs 101: What You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want
- Job Hunting 101: When Networking, Ask for Help!
- Job Hunting 101: What Makes You Unique?
- The Most Critical Thing to Do Before Your Judicial Clerkship Interview
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