Law School Summer Internship Stress

How To Manage Law School Summer Internship Stress

A law school summer internship is a wonderful way to apply the skills you have been learning in your classes and test potential career paths. However, working in a new environment with new people can also prove stressful. In this post, we outline four strategies to help manage law school summer internship stress.

How To Manage Law School Summer Internship Stress

1. Ask Questions!

It is absolutely okay to not understand all the assignments you are given during your law school summer internship. The internship is supposed to be a chance to learn and grow. Your employer is not expecting you to be in an expert in all aspects of the law or its particular practice. However, your employer does expect you to seek clarification when you are confused!

It is best to ask questions early. If you realize that you didn’t understand directions for an assignment or are unsure as to what you are expected to produce, don’t be afraid to look for more guidance. This might mean asking the person who gave you the assignment or an associate on the team. It is no use to have you spinning your wheels. It can also be a good idea to have a list of questions to ask when you are given an assignment.

  • What is the timeline?
  • What form should the final product take?
  • How much time should the task consume?

This can help you make sure you have the information you need before you sit down to start a task. The more clarity you can find, the more success you will have – and the less stressed you will be!

2. Use Your Resources

While you might think you are supposed to tackle every assignment and challenge yourself, this would be a mistake. The law is very much a team sport! You want to make sure that you are using all the resources you are being offered.

At a large firm, this might mean using paralegals, administrative assistants, or the library staff. But even smaller firms will have tools to help with research. There might also be templates or prior examples of court submissions that you can draw from.

While you definitely want to demonstrate your own skills, make sure that you are also using the collective knowledge that has accumulated. It will help you learn and help you produce the best product for your employer.

3. Find A Mentor

Your law school summer internship is a perfect opportunity to explore different career paths. With this, it is important that you find someone at your workplace who can offer guidance and advice.

If you are at a large firm, you might be assigned a partner or associate mentor. Make sure that you schedule short meetings or coffees to get to know them.

But if you are not assigned a mentor, or don’t have a great connection with the one to whom you are assigned, try to seek one out!

While you have to be respectful of schedules and commitments, most people will be happy to talk to you about their work and careers. They will also be happy to answer questions about the firm and how you can find success.

Also, the relationship you form with your mentor can continue after your summer internship. They can provide advice on classes, future jobs, clerkships, or just be someone else to talk to about life! 

4. Make Friends With Your Fellow Interns

Your fellow interns can be a great source of support. You can ask each other questions, grab lunch together, or hang out after work. Also, even if you all don’t return to the same place, it is great to have friends in different areas of the legal world. The connections you make during your internship can be an immense resource later on.

It is also just much more fun to have friends at work. And having peers to talk to can definitely decrease any stress you might be feeling because it’s likely that they are experiencing at least some of the same anxieties!

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