1L Summer Internship

Five Tips To Maximize Your 1L Summer Internship

Are you starting your first summer as a legal intern? Make sure you are maximizing your 1L summer internship by following these five tips!

NOTE: If you’re curious how the coronavirus will impact your summer 2020 summer association position, check out our thoughts here.

Five Tips To Maximize Your 1L Summer Internship

1. Improve at Least One Legal Skill

It is possible that your first job in law school is in your dream field and you will want to perform that job for the rest of your career. However, it is far more likely that you may dislike that area of law and wish to pursue a different path moving forward. Despite how you may feel about your 1L job, it is important to make sure that you come away with experience needed to build your future. Whether you improve your legal writing or learn how to effectively research issues, figure out which skills this job can help you improve and then work to accomplish that goal.

2. Find Out What You Like and Dislike

Most work environments have various work products from multiple divisions. After you spend the first few weeks learning your role, ask your boss if you can assist in other divisions in the office. Gaining exposure to various assignments can help you decide the type of legal work you enjoy. Maybe you dislike writing contracts but enjoy spending hours researching a company’s legal issue. Maybe you enjoy internal employment issues. As a 1L, it is likely that you still do not know what you enjoy. If possible, use your first job to explore as many paths as possible. This will help you narrow your search for future legal positions as you go into your 2L year and OCIs.

3. Establish a Good Reputation in the Office

As an intern, it is important for employees at the office to feel like they can trust you with assignments. If you are constantly late or unprepared, your employer will likely give you less work over the course of the summer. The less work you get means the less experience you can put on your resume! The best practice is to always arrive earlier than your start time (and your boss). Early arrival demonstrates your eagerness for the job.  Also, take time to learn the names of those on your team. This can be helpful in the event you begin to struggle on an assignment and need assistance. Lastly, make sure that every assignment you turn in is your best work. One of the goals for the summer is to leave with a glowing letter of recommendation for your next job. Make sure you give your boss plenty of positive examples to write about.

4. Start Building Your Network

One of the most important skills to develop during your first internship is networking. Your goal should be to meet as many people as you can both in and out of the office. The easiest way to build contacts is by starting with your boss and other employees in the office. Most attorneys are willing to help interns to connect with other attorneys because they remember their time as interns and understand the struggles of landing that first job. In addition, employees at your office are likely to know other attorneys outside the office that work in various practices. Do not be afraid to ask your boss to help you meet as many people as possible outside of the office. You may end up meeting someone who works in the exact field you hope to join! If you are looking for more networking tips, check out our blog How to Network in Law School.

5. Get a Writing Sample

Leaving your first job with a writing sample will provide you with a strong advantage other students competing for jobs in the future. Most employers both in and out of the OCI process require writing samples from 2L applicants. Students who can provide a sample related to previous employment are often stronger candidates than students who rely on their 1L class assignments. Unfortunately, much of what lawyers do is confidential. If most of your work is confidential, ask your boss if you can create a non-confidential project for yourself related to the office’s area that he or she can review and you can use as a writing sample.

For more 1L summer advice including a few tips not related to internships, check out our blog Five Things to Get Out of Your 1L Summer Experience here.

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