According to a study released in 2016 in the National Association for Law Placement, 95.3 percent of all summer interns at law firms are offered full-time employment. That also means that almost 5 percent of all the interns are not offered employment, which can be tough for anyone entering the workforce out of law school. If you are wondering how to get an internship at a law firm, you can ask at your law school or find local opportunities by searching online.
Internship for law students is given during the second and third years of law school. Once students have those coveted law firm internships, it’s important to turn that opportunity into a job at the firm after graduation.
Treat the Internship Like One Long Interview
Students should be turning an internship into a job after graduation, and that means acting like it’s one long interview. Always ensure that you’re on your best behavior. Often, internship programs are not all work. They want to provide interns with a memorable experience since they are looking for the best and brightest lawyers to work for their firm. There’s a dress code for the firm, and interns are not immune to that dress code. You should be there every day on time too. This will show the potential employer that you’re serious about working there.
Network Within the Firm
While networking is essential for almost every career, it’s vital for law students. You never know who will be beneficial to your career at a later date. If you’re not offered a position with the law firm, these contacts can help with references and might be able to refer you to positions in other firms. While in college, you’re hoping to learn how to turn an internship into a job at a law firm, but while you’re at the law firm, you’re learning how to gain employment at that firm specifically. Networking with as many people as possible is key.
Stand Out From Other Interns
When it comes to law internships for college students, you’re often competing with other students for the same jobs. A law firm might have five positions, but they’ll bring on 10 interns. You have to make sure you stand out and shine in the best possible light. Along with being to work on time and always acting professional, you want to show that you’re smart and hard working. While being charming and likeable is a good way to get noticed, you’ll need to back that up with quality work.
Show Interest in Full-Time Employment
You should never walk into a law firm with that as the first thing on your mind. Both you and the firm most likely have full-time employment as a consideration. While you want a position, you have to prove your worth to the firm before they will hire you. When you’re looking to turn your internship into a job, you want to wait until a coworker or the employer has mentioned the value in the work you’ve done. Make note of that so you can refer to it in the future when you ask about employment.
Connect Professionally Through Internships
While you might not end up with a job offer at the end of your internship, you will have some valuable experience and contacts within the firm to take with you. These contacts can be used throughout your career even after you get a job offer somewhere else. If you can stay fresh in their minds, they may think of you when they are finally trying to fill an opening in the firm.
Internships are vital for law school students who want to find a position after graduation, and that should be on the mind of every graduating student. With the right internship, positive attitude, good work ethic and networking, you can easily find a position in a law firm.
Patrick Watt was a legal officer with an MBA degree and years of experience with various companies. He is now a full-time writer in law and business dispute niche. He writes for Carter Capner Law, a progressive, innovative and strongly motivated law firm based in Queensland, Australia.